Cutest Baby Contest Inspires Sponsor to Increase Contract by $20K

by Julie Foley Second Street


WQNU-FM, a part of Cox Media Group, is a DMA 48 radio station in Louisville, Kentucky. The country station has been running contests since 2011.

The Idea

As a smaller baby goods retailer, USA Baby was having difficulty competing with the big box baby retailers. To create buzz about the store, the advertiser joined forces with WQNU-FM as the sole sponsor of their Cutest Baby in Louisville photo contest. The station also hoped that a successful contest could lead to a second promotion with the sponsor, where the contest entrants would enter into a baby fashion show at the USA Baby store.


The Execution

To enter the contest, listeners submitted photos of their babies. The grand prize winner received a $200 gift card to USA Baby, a photo session, and a party for 10-15 people at Incredible Dave’s.

The sponsor received $1,500 worth of on-air promotional spots, as well as their name in the contest title. The bulk of the promotion came from on-air jock chatter and social media shares on Facebook and Twitter.

The Results

As a result of the contest, USA Baby increased their spending with WQNU from $14,000 to $34,000. The station also secured an annual contract directly with the sponsor rather than continuing to work through an agency. The contest received 160 submissions and close to 4,000 votes.

Why It Worked

  • The contest was promoted both on-air and via social media.
  • The theme of the contest was a good fit for the advertiser.
  • Everyone has photos of their babies easily accessible, so the contest had high appeal and a low barrier to entry.

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