How a Retailer Newsjacked the 2016 Election to Get 126K Contest Entries

Electronics retailer hhgregg ran a successful promotion using an election theme to attract new customers and highlight Samsung appliances.

By Dana Kilroy ・3 min read
Campaign & Contest Ideas
Customer Stories

Newsjacking -- finding a trend or a story and using it as a springboard for marketing efforts -- is a great way to get traction and momentum for your brand.  (It can also be risky, so you want to make sure you think it through, and avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention.)

Electronics retailer hhgregg, the Indianapolis-based home-appliance and furniture retailer recently ran a successful promotion that brought in 126K entries, and introduced the brand to a whole new group of people.

Step #1: Pick a Goal

hhgregg's primary goal was to attract new customers to hhgregg and tell the story of new Samsung appliances now available in stores. After working closely with Samsung, hhgregg decided to use an election format to elect a new “President" to the homes of some lucky entrants. They were inspired to use an election theme to catch the attention of users who were keeping up with election coverage during the conventions in July. The sweepstakes ran from July 3rd through July 31st and there were four grand prize winners of Samsung appliances.

Step #2: Stay Focused

hhgregg's secondary goal was to inform existing customers about new and innovative appliances from Samsung. The sweepstakes was open to both new and existing customers. hhgregg wanted to highlight a specific brand -- Samsung -- and highlight Samsung's kitchen appliances (including the Family Hub Refrigerator and Flex Duo Range with Wi-Fi), and laundry appliances (AddWash Washer and Activewash Washer).hhgregg hoped to gain 100K entries and 10K shares of the sweepstakes on Twitter.

Step #3: Choose the Right Platform

Using ShortStack's Voting Widget, hhgregg was able to easily create an environment for entrants to vote for their favorites, and then receive a pop-up entry form after they voted. hhgregg broke down the election into two parts: a Primary and a General Election. The kitchen appliances were part of the "Smart Party" because of Samsung's Smart Technology (for example, a tablet on the fridge, and Wi-Fi on range). The laundry appliances were part of the "Suds Party" (insert washing machine joke here!). Along with the voting and entry form, hhgregg also included ShortStack's Product Widget to highlight all four of the products with the “key points” on why they should be elected.


hhgregg also incorporated ShortStack's Share Widget so entrants could share their vote via Twitter to help amplify the sweepstakes.

Step #4: Promote!

To help promote sweepstakes, hhgregg created “Breaking News” video clips to tell a story about the giveaway, and to parody election coverage. hhgregg created an intro video along with a primary winner video to help viewers learn more about the sweepstakes and the Samsung appliances. Along with the overall sweepstakes, hhgregg added an “in-store” element that asked entrants to visit their local hhgregg store where they could take a selfie with their favorite appliance candidate. They were asked to use the #VoteSamsung and #entry on Twitter or Instagram for their chance to win additional prizes. hhgregg also advertised on Facebook and Twitter with their “Breaking News” video clips. "Shortstack made it extremely easy to manage, select winners and swap out creative between the Primaries and General Election via the Visibility Widget," says Sean Ireton, assistant social media manager at hhgregg."This was our first campaign through Shortstack and we are extremely happy we decided to switch sweepstakes platforms to give us multiple options to attract new customers," said Ireton. hhgregg ultimately received 126,000 entries and 16,000 shares on Twitter and Instagram, exceeding their goals by a huge margin. Here's what the Campaign looked like when it was live -- including the Breaking News videos and other creative elements. Please note: Voting is no longer possible.

About the author

By Dana Kilroy ・3 min read

Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.

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