White Horse Social Media Promotion for Mountain Hardwear Puts Customer in Control

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Mountain Hardwear has always considered its loyal customer base to be true participants in the brand, providing constant product feedback and pushing the company in new directions. Pushing customer involvement to the limit, the "Ad Deadline" contest incorporated Web 2.0 tactics, including user-generated content, to give the customer unprecedented control over an ad campaign.

The promotion let users place themselves at the center of a brand story that features outdoor athletes pushing themselves to extremes

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White Horse, a full-service digital agency specializing in media convergence, continues to explore new ways for its clients to use social media marketing to increase consumer engagement. Its client Mountain Hardwear has pushed that envelope the furthest with its recent participatory online promotion, the "Ad Deadline Challenge," by inviting its loyal consumers to create a key component of Mountain Hardwear's real-life ad campaign.

The centerpiece of the promotion was a special ad creation tool that White Horse developed for the campaign microsite. The tool replicated the layout of Mountain Hardwear's popular print ad campaign; it allowed users to seamlessly upload an image of themselves or friend(s) performing a Mountain Hardwear core activity, write a headline and brief copy following the national ad template, and merge his/her photograph and copy with the look and feel the national ads. The completed entries were then posted for community viewing. Consumers also had the option to could share their creations with friends using a viral e-mail feature.

"The promotion let users place themselves at the center of a brand story that features outdoor athletes pushing themselves to extremes," said Jennifer Modarelli-DeVoe, White Horse principal. "It also allows Mountain Hardwear the benefit of having loyal brand evangelists testify to the authenticity of the brand promise."

To further the interaction model, site visitors voted on their favorite ads. The campaign also included immediate payoff in the form of a "keepsake" for participants--they could export their finished ad as a PDF, suitable for framing or passing along to friends and family.

The grand prize winner had their entry featured as a one-page ad in Rock and Ice magazine and received a $1,000 Mountain Hardwear shopping spree. Many of the submitted ads are being featured on the Mountain Hardwear blog (http://blog.mountainhardwear.com) and on the microsite. The contest received more than 150 entries.

Buzz was generated around the promotion through announcements on the Mountain Hardwear retail Web site (http://www.mountainhardwear.com) and on the "Hardwear Sessions" blog, highlighted in the Mountain Hardwear e-newsletter, as well as through PR, value-added placements with print publishers, and extensive viral seeding on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace and relevant online forums.

About White Horse
Founded in 1980, White Horse is a privately held digital agency with headquarters in Portland, Ore. Forrester Research recently identified the agency as one of the top five Web design agencies in the nation that uses personas to inform Web marketing and Web design. White Horse's client roster includes global, national, and regional clients, including Wells Fargo, Celestial Seasonings, Columbia Sportswear, KinderCare, and Nike. The agency specializes in B2B and B2C Web marketing for retail and consumer brands, healthcare, and B2B companies. Its services include Web strategy, social media marketing, Web advertising and media buying, Web promotions, e-mail marketing, Web site design, Web development, and usability. For more information, visit http://www.whitehorse.com or call 1-877-471-4200.

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Cheryl Metzger

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