local media insider
May's Top Ad Winner

May's Top Ad: Wedding Contest lands 10 new weddings, 500 leads

Break away from the crowd with an advertiser contest

We've seen a lot of dream wedding contests, but this one aimed to help one advertiser book more weddings is a top advertiser-contest worth copying.

Media: WSB-FM (B98.5), an adult contemporary radio station, part of Cox Media.

Market:  DMA 9 radio station in Atlanta, Georgia

Key executive: Will Gara, Promotions Supervisor

Summary: We've seen a lot of "Dream Wedding Contests." However, for a single venue that wants to book more weddings, this one succeeds succinctly, with 500 leads, 4,600 emails and ten new booked weddings. Here's how it was put together:

Challenge: Located just 45 minutes from northeast Atlanta, Lake Lanier Islands Resort is Georgia’s most visited lakeside destination. With both natural beauty and an intimate setting, the venue markets itself to the surrounding population as a destination for family vacations, romantic escapes, business conferences and weddings. In 2013, the resort took on the objective of doubling the number of weddings booked and teamed up with WSB-FM, an adult contemporary station, to come up with a promotional idea.

Concept:  The theme of the campaign was a  "Dream Wedding Contest." It  took place in 6 stages. In the first round, voters narrowed down the hopeful couples to three finalists, who were interviewed on the B98.5 morning show. Audio transcripts were also available online for the next round of voting (sorry the links are no longer live and the image below is a screenshot):

 The second-round voting determined which couple won the Lake Lanier Islands Dream Wedding grand prize.

Then the third round gave listeners a chance to vote for their wedding transportation and flowers.

To keep interest up, voters in the third round were automatically entered into a sweepstakes to win a 3-day/2-night stay at the Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

The fourth round was a vote to determine the wedding cake and the location of the rehearsal dinner at the Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

Next, the fifth round selected the honeymoon suite at the Lake Lanier Islands Resort, and the sixth and final round let voters choose the wedding dress and the site of the reception.

The Lake Lanier Islands Resort invited the top 50 couples from the first round to a party at the resort meant to showcase the way in which the resort hosts weddings.

Distribution: This contest was promoted across multiple media platforms. A $30,000 media buy included radio, digital advertising on the B98.5 website, Google's display network and Facebook ads. The contesting platform and landing page was built on Second Street's platform. 

The Results 
More than 500 couples entered the contest, which also generated 4,600 emails. As a result of direct leads from the contest and party, the resort booked ten weddings - including a wedding for one of the three finalist couple who did not win.

What Judges like:  We've seen a number of dream wedding contests, but this is the best one of the pack in delivering results for a specific advertiser. The devil was in the details with this contest - all of the aspects were well thought-out.  Judges were especially impressed with the engagement of the radio station's audience to vote on aspects of the wedding typically left to the bride. Given the personal and often stressed-filled nature of these decisions, voting from a radio audience was a cute trick to add some "reality-style" sharing and decision-making. The secondary sweepstakes rewarded voters with a chance to win their own weekend stay and encouiraged participation. Radio support for votes on diffferent aspects also kept interest high. Finally, the party for the top 50 couples helped get a core group of prospects planning a wedding inside the venue to sample the food and atmosphere. 

Congratulations to Will Gara and the team at WSB-FM for a great effort. Thanks also to Second Street Media for nominating this campaign, which was originally written up in their media lab.

Will Gara

Will Gara, Promotions Supervisor, Cox Media Group, Atlanta

wedding, contest, lanier, wsb-fm, will gara, second street media