9 Businesses Using Pinterest Contests to Drive Traffic and Exposure

Are you using Pinterest to market your business?

Running contests on Pinterest is a great way to expose your brand to a large audience, attract new followers and engage with your existing follower base.

In this article, I’ll showcase nine businesses running successful Pinterest contests.

Why Pinterest Contests?

Here is why you should run a contest on Pinterest:

Using Pinterest contests, your brand can engage with consumers in a personal and cost-effective way.

Contests can also help you collect customer information, preferences and feedback. This valuable data can then be put into action to enhance your offerings and acquire more customers.

So in this post, I’ll show you different types of Pinterest contests and examples to get you inspired to craft a Pinterest contest for your business.


Users can enter a Pinterest sweepstake by following a brand, creating a pinboard or by repinning an image. Winners are drawn randomly from the pool of eligible entries.

Below are the three examples of how companies are creating sweepstakes.

#1: AMC Theatres

The second-largest movie theater chain in North America, AMC Theatres is generating a lot of engagement through Pinterest contests.

AMC has created an entire pinboard, AMC Giveaways, dedicated to contests and giveaways.

Now users can just follow the specific pinboard to stay updated with the latest giveaways from AMC. The visually attractive pins direct users to appropriate contest landing pages.

amc giveawaysAMC’s giveaway pinboard with visually attractive pins.

Landing pages contain contest details and an entry form. The entry form is best utilized by AMC collecting basic customer information and customer preferences.

amc contestSimple contest entry form collecting valuable customer information and preferences.

There are a lot of attractive giveaways offered by AMC from time to time on the pinboard to excite movie lovers. Prizes such as signed posters, free tickets, t-shirts and even a signed director’s chair are irresistible to the fans.

The most recent is a very special giveaway contest: The Dark Knight Rises custom Xbox 360for The Dark Knight Rises. The interesting part is the user doesn’t even have to follow AMC on Pinterest or pin/repin an image to participate in the contest.

With contests, AMC is successfully promoting its brand, driving lots of engagement and collecting extremely valuable customer data.

Have a look at the number of social media shares and comments that the contest page has already received.

social sharingContest details page with social sharing elements to reach a bigger audience.

Here are the details of the contest:

  • Participants fill out an entry form at the AMC website before the deadline.
  • Winners are selected at random.

Prize: The Dark Knight Rises custom Xbox 360. Unlike any other 360 consoles, this one is unavailable for purchase.

#2: British Midland International (BMI)

The airline company BMI (acquired by International Airline Group recently), kicked off BMI Pinterest lottery, a game of chance, on March 6, 2012. Rather than just posting the destination pictures, BMI converted its pinboards into a fun competition.

bmi airlinesCreative use of pinboards and pins by BMI.

Different boards were created for different destinations, each containing nine pins, with a unique number on each image.

Additionally, the contest also included Tumblr. Each pin was linked to the brand’s Tumblr presence, BMIsocialplanet, where BMI showcased content for different BMI destinations from around the web.

Participants repin six images and at the end of the week, a winning number is drawn, with one random user winning the competition. Notice how BMI has incorporated the details of participation and relevant information in the pin description.

pin descriptionGreat use of pin description with contest details in the copy.

This highly creative campaign, which ran for 7 weeks, resulted in 500k+ social media impressions in the first week alone, and generated lots of positive social media sentiment. More than 3000 entries were received for the contest in the first two weeks alone.

RT @AmySho: Best Pinterest campaign I’ve seen: British Airline Launches A Pinterest Lottery To Give Away Free Flights bit.ly/yw9foc

I like the fact that companies have discovered the potential of @Pinterest – like the BMI Pinterest lottery:-) psfk.com/2012/03/bmi-pi…

Here are the details of the contest:

  • Repin favorite images from any of BMI’s destination pinboards.
  • Each week, BMI picks a number at random. Everyone who has repinned the image that corresponds to that number is in the draw.
  • Winner is chosen at random.

Prize: One pair of BMI return flight tickets from any BMI destination.

#3: HuHot

HuHot is the fastest-growing Mongolian grill concept in the United States. HuHot launched a Pin It to Win It contest during the month of June, 2012. The participants had to create a HuHot recipe and pin it on one of their own pinboards in order to enter the contest.

HuHot created a landing page on their website describing the contest details. A pinboard grill meal contest was also created where all the entries were repinned.

repinned recipeRepinned recipe to grill meal contest pinboard created by HuHot.

An attractive contest teaser was displayed prominently at the HuHot website homepage and shared at their Pinterest account linking to the landing page.

well designed teaserWell-designed teaser for the HuHot Grill Meal contest.

The contest had no complex set of rules and could be executed with ease. The contest helped HuHot gain new followers, collect a variety of recipe and food styling ideas, and generate brand awareness.

Here are the details of the contest:

  • Participants pin a photo of a HuHot grill meal.
  • Participants write the recipe of their creation in the description and include the word “HuHot” so that HuHot can repin it.

Prize: Five winners are chosen. The grand prize is a $100 gift card, and each of the other four winners receives a $25 gift card.

Best Pinboard Contest

In this type of contest, contestants create a pinboard under the contest rules, and the company selects the best entry.

Let’s see some examples of how brands are utilizing this type of contest.

#4: Peugeot Panamá

Pinterest is an excellent way to expose a brand to a large audience, given the viral nature of the images on Pinterest and a highly engaged Pinterest audience.

Peugeot is a brand that has grabbed this opportunity with both hands. Their brand has created a very clever Pinterest challenge, Peugeot Puzzle Contest, to increase followers, boost engagement and direct traffic to both their website and Facebook fan page.

It’s a puzzle where contestants find the four missing pieces of a Peugeot photo on the Peugeot website and Facebook fan pages and complete the board.

peugeot puzzlePeugeot Panamá puzzle pinboard with missing pieces.

To submit their entry, participants have to share the pinboard by adding Peugeot as a contributor. For this, participants need to follow Peugeot or one of its pinboards—which means more followers for Peugeot.

Also, Peugeot has not stopped at repins and sharing only, but is also driving engagement. Peugeot moderators engage the users, encouraging them to participate in the contest. Moderators also promptly respond to questions/comments about the game or any issues faced by participants. This improves a brand’s reputation and overall image.

moderatorsPeugeot Panamá moderators encouraging participation and assisting participants.

Here are the details of the contest:

  • Follow Peugeot on Pinterest and choose a puzzle.
  • Look for four missing pieces on Peugeot.com.pa or Peugeot Panamá’s Facebook fan page.
  • Create a pinboard titled “Peugeot Puzzle Contest / (your name),” pin the images and share it with Peugeot. Voilà!
  • First five people to complete the board win.

Prize: The winner gets a Peugeot kit.

#5: Homes

Homes is a website for searching properties for sale or rent. The company partnered with some of the industry’s top bloggers to launch a Spring into the Dream Pinterest contest during May 2012.

Bloggers were asked to create a blog post and Pinterest board detailing their “Spring into the Dream” ideas to their readers/followers. The contest went on to engage the readers of these blogs as well, allowing blog readers to participate in the contest and win a prize as well.

The winning blogger is selected by Homes. The winning blogger then selects one of his or her readers as a winner as well.

To enter the contest, participants had to repin at least two items from the Homes pinboard and pin at least two items from the Homes website or blog. This resulted in increased traffic to the Homes blog and website through pins and repins.

The contest helped Homes by tapping into the Pinterest followers of the bloggers, in addition to their blog readers.

winning entryWinning entry with more than 6000+ followers.

With this innovative contest, Homes increased its brand footprint and also successfully engaged their target audience on Pinterest and top industry blogs.

The example below shows blog readers engaged by the contest.

blog readers engagingBlog readers engaging and participating in the contest.

Here are the steps for the blog readers:

Prize: The winning blogger receives $500 and an additional $500 to award to one of his/her readers who created a Pinterest board and shared the link on their blog post.

#6: Threadless

Threadless is a community-based t-shirt company. During February 2012, Threadless came up with a Valentine’s-themed Threadless Loves Pinning challenge on Pinterest. The contest went from February 6 through February 12, 2012. The best board was selected and the winner was announced on Valentine’s Day.

Users had to create a pinboard, pinning 10 images depicting gift ideas for their special loved one. Threadless created a landing page on their blog describing the contest. The objective was to engage the audience and receive likes/repins.

Below is a sample of comments received on the contest landing page, which shows that participants were engaged positively with the brand.

participants engagingParticipants engaging with the brand through a contest.

During the week, Threadless received a whopping 366 submissions, filled with thoughtful and funny descriptions, showing the participants’ feelings for their loved ones.

Below is the winning pinboard.

threadless winning entryWinning entry for Threadless Valentine’s Day challenge with creative gifting ideas.

Here are the details of the contest:

  • Create a board titled “Threadless Valentine’s Day Challenge” for the person you love. In the board’s description let Threadless know why that person is so amazing.
  • Pin 10 images to the board that would make great gifts for your special person. (At least five must be Threadless products).
  • To enter the contest, email the pinboard URL to Threadless.

Prize: The winner gets $100 in “Threadless cash” and a $100 Amazon gift card.

Most Repins/Votes Contest

In this type of contest, entrants create pinboards/pins based on contest rules. Users like/repin or vote on the entries, and as the name suggests, the entry with the most votes wins.

Let’s have a look at how companies are running this type of contest.

#7: Victoria’s Secret

World-famous brand of women’s wear Victoria’s Secret is making great use of Pinterest contests. After successfully running their Dreaming of a PINK Summer Pinterest contest and receiving thousands of entries, Victoria’s Secret launched another alluring Pinterest challenge: My Victoria’s Secret Summer,from July 6, 2012 to August 20, 2012.

To participate in the contest, users have to go to the contest details page atVictoria’s Secret Facebook page. Participants then pin at least three images from the Victoria’s Secret fan page or website and create a pinboard.

victoria secret pinterest challengeVictoria’s Secret attractive contest landing page on Facebook.

The six best pinboards are selected, and the one that receives most votes wins the grand prize. Victoria’s Secret has also created a detailed set of terms and conditions for the contest, which is a great thing in order to protect the company in case of any disputes.

The best thing is, Victoria’s Secret is not only promoting their products, but also is increasing traffic to their Facebook fan page and website through the contest. This is an excellent strategy to maximize the returns on your contest, while also making the contest more interesting for participants.

Here are the details of the contest:

  • Create a Pinterest board and name it “My Victoria’s Secret Summer.”
  • Pin the entry image from Victoria’s Secret Facebook page, at least three images from VictoriasSecret.com, and summer-inspired pics to your pinboard.
  • Once done, submit email-id and the board’s URL on Victoria’s Secret Facebook page.
  • A panel of judges, including Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel, will select six finalists from all eligible entries.
  • The finalist entries will be displayed on the Victoria’s Secret Facebook page and visitors will vote for the grand-prize winner.

Prize: One grand-prize winner will receive a $1,000 Victoria’s Secret gift card. Five first-prize winners will each receive a $200 Victoria’s Secret gift card.

#8: High Point Market

High Point Market organizes trade shows for the furniture industry. High Point is running an engaging Pinterest contest. It’s entitled Style Spotters and has an objective to gain repins and likes.

Home fashion trendsetters, called Style Spotters (recruited by High Point Market), pin attractive images of their favorite looks and trending products. Users vote for the images through likes and repins, and the pinboard with the most votes wins.

Style Spotters pin their images to the High Point Market pinboards, driving engagement through likes, repins and comments.

traci zeller pinboardPinboard of one of the Style Spotters with more than 2000 followers.

The contest has helped High Point Market gain 3000+ Pinterest followers for their Style Spotter April 2012 contest.

high point market pinboardHigh Point Market pinboards where Style Spotters pin their favorite images.

The best part of this contest is that it’s simple, easy to participate in and doesn’t have a bunch of complex rules.

Here are the details of the contest:

  • Style Spotters pin their favorite images to High Point Market’s Pinterest boards, listing the exhibitor’s name and showroom number.
  • Spotters also present the exhibitor with a sign that highlights the Style Spotter’s name with a QR code and URL for the Pinterest board.
  • People vote for the Style Spotters by “liking” or “repinning” the pins. The most popular pinboard wins.

Prize: The Style Spotter wins a free trip to the High Point Market.

#9: Emailvision

This company provides “software as a service” (SaaS) marketing solutions to deliver and automate email marketing.

Emailvision came up with a unique Pinterest campaign targeting email marketers. The “Pin Your Inbox” contest, which ended on May 31,2012, was designed to promote Emailvision and give recognition to email marketers.

Below, examples show the attractive contest page created by the company, where users share their email creative.

emailvision pinterest campaignLanding page for Emailvision’s Pinterest campaign.

With this contest, the brand got the email marketers engaged, asking them to pin their favorite email campaign.

email campaignsMarketers pinned beautiful email campaigns to enter the contest.

Some prominent features of this contest were: It was created for a select audience (email marketers) in mind; it gave away a prize that attracted the targeted audience; and it has very short and simple participation guidelines.

Here are the details of the contest:

  • Pin your favorite email creative to Pin Your Inbox.
  • Emailvision community and Pinterest users view and “like” the showcased email campaigns.
  • The creative with most likes wins.

Prize: The winner gets an email creative designed by Emailvision studio.

Pinterest Contest Best Practices

So now you know about different types of Pinterest contests and how companies are utilizing them.A great next step would be to create your own innovative contests and experiment with them on Pinterest.

Here are some key takeaways to help you create and run Pinterest contests for your business.

  • Review Pinterest’s terms and conditions before creating your contest.
  • Set goals and objectives you want to achieve with your Pinterest campaign.
  • Create a contest with your target audience and goals in mind.
  • Choose a prize that will excite and engage your audience.
  • Have clear and simple participation rules.
  • Create an attractive landing page, clearly describing your contest, including terms and conditions. Encourage social sharing of the contest.
  • Utilize your existing audience to promote the contest, blast out the contest to your email lists, blog, Facebook/Twitter or other social media presence.
  • Make sure that images are repinnable and linked to the correct landing pages.
  • Utilize pin descriptions to include clear copy. This will help you reach a wider audience—beyond the first repin.

What do you think? What are some of the cool Pinterest contests you have come across? Which contests did you like most? Share it all in the comments section below.
Posted on Social Media Examiner By Prafull Sharma on August 20, 2012

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