Due to popular demand in the blogosphere, ahem…, here are some general tips to put you on the winning track. Thanks to Mumsgather who's busy promoting my blog to her online cronies.
File up the forms
Don’t chuck one form on top of the piano, another on the kitchen table and yet another on your bedroom side table. Put all of them in one file so you don’t have to go hunting for them when the deadline looms near. Helps keep sanity intact instead of screaming at the kids, “Whose the wise guy who scribbled on the milk powder entry form?”
Send in your entry early
By early I don’t mean three days before the closing date – that is dicing with danger. One week allowance should be good enough but don’t wait till the eleventh hour because you may just forget about it until the deadline had lapsed. A frequent winner, Eric, begs to differ. His strategy is to send them in at the last minute. He thinks last minute entries stand a better chance of winning and he says it’s a proven technique for him.
Don’t be brand loyal
If Detergent Sparkle is having an ongoing contest but you’ve always used Detergent Shiny to wash your dishes, there’s no harm in giving Sparkle a try. Who knows, you may get to win an all-expenses paid holiday to Phuket. Besides Sparkle may dazzle you with its cleaning abilities that you’ve wondered how you’ve ever cleaned without it.
Send in more entries
The more you send, the more you increase your chances of winning. As they say, the more the merrier. But no need to go overboard. Imagine the disappointment if you send in one hundred entries and you get zilch. I’d rather go for less, that way even if I don’t get anything, the low expectation level guards against heartache.
Do your homework
What is the product being promoted? What are its qualities? What is the company’s philosophy? Find out these information from websites, brochures or the product packaging and use them to write the tie-breaker.
Put yourself in the judges’ shoes
What do you think will appeal to the judges? Imagine yourself going through thousands of flat slogans and signatures. Then challenge yourself to come up with something different. Having said that, judging is a very subjective matter. What may appeal to one may appear mediocre to another.
Compile winning entries
Collect press clippings of winning slogans and signatures. They will give you an idea of what contest judges look for. You can also modify them for future contests. Try not to copy wholesale. If another person also copies a particular slogan bulat-bulat, that means there’re two of the same. Not original. It will be dumped. If you dare take the risk, by all means go ahead. There are cases of contestants using slogans from my book and winning prizes with them. I know because readers wrote in to the newspapers to complain about unoriginal entries winning contests.
Concentrate your effort on hard contests
Easy contests are harder to win, hard contests are easier to win. Easy ones are those that don’t require any work – the 10, 000th entry gets to win a bike, that sort of thing. Hard contests are those that require some sweating over slogans, signatures or puzzles. Think about it, you have more control over hard contests in that the quality of your entry increases your chances of winning. So concentrate on those but if you prefer the easy way out, by all means go for the easy contests.
My comping philosophy
I don’t go for “most entries win” contests. Ever. The way I see it, the only winner in this type of contest is the organizer. It’s a blatant promotion of consumerism.
Usually I concentrate on slogan-writing contests as I can put my writing skill to good use. Now, please don’t ask me to write slogans for you, okay? You see, I sprout five gray hairs every time I sit down for a spot of slogan-writing, and I really don’t want to age prematurely. I’m hopeless at art, so I steer clear of signature contests.
All the best!