Instant win promotions have been a proven consumer promotion technique for years. Originally they started off in physical form, with contents like scratch and win. Nowadays they’re hosted online to reach more people across the world.
We see these promotions everywhere in life, so they are obviously very successful. But what makes these instant win promotions so successful?
In Australia, instant win promotions are classified as games of chance due to their similarity with gambling (Griffiths, 2003). And that gives us our answer, these promotions are so successful because they share similar traits with gambling activities.
The best instant win promotions are interactive, meaning that you can play with the game. Think about McDonald’s Monopoly promotion, you peel off the sticker from your food and you can use this to play the online game.
Because you can interact with the game, customer keeps engaged with the company and the product. This is an important part of marketing and building mental availability for your brand. Mental availability is the ability for a customer to recall your brand in a purchasing scenario.
Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure instantly when we want it, as opposed to delayed gratification. A great instant win promotion gives you instant gratification, to encourage you to keep repeating the action. This act of rewarding you for an action is commonly referred to as positive reinforcement. This is a basic psychological principle that encourages behaviour (Schoenfeld, 1995).
To keep using McDonalds Monopoly as an example, there is a chance that you instantly win every time you peel off a sticker. This is an excellent example of instant gratification and positive reinforcement. The Monopoly promotion also uses delayed gratification as well, if you collect enough losing stickers, you can redeem them for a prize.
Choosing the right prizes is critical to the success of an instant win promotion. The more attractive your potential audience finds your prizes, the more likely they are to participate in the promotion. It’s important that your prizes align with your target audience.
To once again use McDonalds Monopoly game as an example, they offered millions of dollars in prizes. They also made sure these prizes appealed to the majority of people by choosing prizes like cars, tickets to events and free meals. These prizes have a universal appeal and make sure that everyone wants to participate in the monopoly competition.
Mark Griffiths, Instant-win products and prize draws: Are these forms of gambling?, 2003, http://jgi.camh.net/index.php/jgi/article/view/3638/3598.
Schoenfeld, W.N. “Reinforcement” in Behavior Theory. BEHAV ANALYST 18, 173–185 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03392705