School Spirit Contest Brings in $14K in Revenue & Over 2,000 Opt-ins

by Julie Foley Second Street

The Background

The Greeley Tribune, part of Swift Communications, is a 25,000 circulation daily paper in Greeley, Colorado. The paper has been finding success with online contests since 2008.

The Idea

A local car dealership, Peak KIA North, was looking to become more involved in their community and to aid a local school. To help them achieve these goals, Greeley Tribune created the Peak KIA North Show Your School Spirit Photo Contest.

The Execution

To enter the contest, students from the 10 participating high schools submitted photos of themselves and their friends showing school spirit. Anyone in the community could vote on the entries, and votes were tallied as points for each high school (if multiple entries were submitted from one high school, the individual photo vote totals were added to determine the overall high school total). There was a graphic at the top of the contest page that kept track of the totals throughout the contest.


The high school that received the most votes across all of their submissions won $10,000 from Peak KIA to benefit all of the students at the school.

The promotional campaign for the contest included the following:

  • Printed posters for each participating schools to hang on their campuses and in the community
  • 3 2-column x 21” ads in the Greeley Tribune each week for 8 weeks
  • A 2-column x 21” ads in Windsor Now each Sunday for 8 weeks
  • Online sports leaderboard ad on for 2 months
  • Online leaderboard on for 2 months
  • Facebook targeted ad campaign
  • Facebook posts on the Greeley Tribune Facebook page and the Peak KIA North Facebook page

The Results

The contest generated $14,000 in revenue and 2,176 email opt-ins for the paper. By the end of the contest, 32 submissions had been entered and over 6,000 votes had been cast.

The winning school, Roosevelt High School in Johnstown, Colorado, used the prize money to purchase iPads for its classrooms.

The contest was a huge success with regards to the dealership’s goals to get more involved in the community and to help a school.

Why It Worked

  • High school students tend to already have pictures of themselves at school events on hand, so the barrier to entry for the contest was low.
  • The prize was valuable enough to excite students and schools, which in turn led to high levels of engagement.
  • The contest was promoted at the schools themselves in addition to in print and online, so those in the target audience were more likely to find out about the contest.