Fans Win in This Dunkin’ Donuts Contest When MLB Teams Score a Lot of Runs

Twitter, Snapchat swing into play

Fans can step up to the plate for a chance to win prizes every Tuesday during Major League Baseball's regular season thanks to an online contest developed by Hill Holliday for Dunkin' Donuts.

Early each week, MLB and its teams use the #MLBRunsOnDD hashtag on social media to drive fans to a contest page. Once they sign up, they're eligible to win prizes if the league's 30 teams combine to score 125 runs or more that Tuesday, the one day each week—apart from Sunday—every team is in action. (During the campaign's first 11 weeks, MLB teams surpassed the 125-run mark four times.)

"We always look to take a 360-degree approach to make social activations even more engaging, since it makes them the most relevant to our intended audience," said Scott Hudler, vp of global consumer engagement at Dunkin'. "[The MLB promotion] is one way that we're using this approach, and we're seeing amazing engagement levels."

Since June 2, the first day of the contest, nearly 150,000 fans have signed up, with about 6,500 randomly selected winners claiming prizes including game tickets and free subscriptions to MLB.tv.

"Dunkin' Donuts' core base is passionate about the sport, and we've historically had success with programs that leverage MLB.com's suite of assets," said Tyler Hissey, senior digital strategist at Boston-based Hill Holliday. What's more,"'America Runs on Dunkin'' has long been the brand's tagline, so the idea of using runs scored to determine prize winners in a contest seemed like a great fit," he said.

To keep the campaign fresh and broaden its appeal to younger fans, a one-time Snapchat activation came into play on July 21, when a Snapchat Story invited fans, via the MLB handle, to guess which of three Dunkin' iced-coffee cups contained a baseball and encouraged them to tweet their picks with a screen grab using the #MLBRunsOnDD hashtag. "We saw Snapchat as being one of the core social channels to reach a younger demographic," said Hudler.

This marks the second time Hill Holliday has prominently featured Dunkin's iconic cups in a sports-themed campaign following its #DunkinReplay push during the 2013-14 NFL season. In that effort, Dunkin' cups and doughnuts stood in for players in six-second animated halftime Vines recreating highlights from the first half of Monday Night Football games on ESPN.

The MLB campaign's Snapchat activation is far simpler, but it's notable for throwing a bit of a curveball—using one social platform to drive consumers to another one to take action. Hissey said the 3,450 fan tweets stemming from the one-off play exceeded his expectations threefold. Plus, with more than 100,000 Snapchat Story views, he said, "even if people didn't take action, they were still absorbing branded content."