Online contest helps Neiman Marcus stand out at the prom

Every year, the 41 individual stores of Neiman Marcus target prom-going teens through standard outreach, as well as events organized with local high schools.

Client: Neiman Marcus
PR agency: Brickfish
Campaign: Rock the Prom
Duration: March-May 2010

Every year, the 41 individual stores of Neiman Marcus target prom-going teens through standard outreach, as well as events organized with local high schools.

"This year, we wanted to overlay what the stores had in place with something a bit broader," says Jessica Weiland, SVP of media and production at the luxury retailer.

Strategy
Neiman Marcus approached Brickfish, which used its social media platform to create an online contest, "Rock the Prom." Participants could design a custom prom look, featuring dresses, shoes, and accessories from the store, and share it via various social networks.

The prize included a $1,000 Neiman Marcus gift card for the "Best Look" winner, selected by the retailer's fashion director Ken Downing. A Teen Vogue judging panel chose the second-prize winner of a $750 Neiman Marcus gift card and a future spread in the magazine.

Tactics
E-mail communication generated from its internal lists targeted prom-aged customers.

"Rock the Prom" was also promoted through banner advertising and on Teen Vogue's website. In addition, Neiman Marcus used a Facebook campaign to promote the contest.

Results
The effort generated almost 4,000 entrants and nearly 1 million unique views.

"We were also pleased with the sales," says Weiland of prom merchandise both in-store and on neimanmarcus.com, the e-commerce site. She declined to share exact figures.

Nichole Goodyear, CEO of Brickfish, credits the sales increase to social networking.

"When someone shares their prom style on a social network, their friends say, 'I never thought of shopping at Neiman Marcus for a prom dress,'" she explains. "When they click and see the prom look, there are links to buy directly from the site."

Future
Weiland says an enhanced or tweaked version of "Rock the Prom" is likely for 2011. Neiman Marcus also plans to use social media for other promotions.

"This is a concrete example that, yes, you can make things go viral," she says. "We're investigating opportunities now, so you may see something aimed at a different target audience."

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