Times Square Plus Facebook and WeChat Equals 54,000 Photo Submissions for HTC

Electronics seller likes results from unusual effort

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Brands don't typically allow campaign metrics to go public unless they've exceeded expectations. With that in mind, HTC today says a just-wrapped 11-week campaign that mixed global social media with Times Square ads drew 54,000 photo submissions. The effort, pitched in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, centered on a contest to win a 24-carat-plated HTC One smartphone worth $2,500.

Working with Aerva, a company that offers out-of-home (OOH) digital marketing, the electronics firm drove engagement through a combination of paid ads on Facebook, Twitter, Weibo (China's version of Twitter) and WeChat (called Weixin in The People's Republic, it's an immensely popular mobile app there).

Throughout a campaign loosely dubbed "Beautiful," a moderator chose the most-alluring submitted photos, which were displayed on a Times Square billboard and posted to HTC.com. Digital keepsakes were sent to the submitter, who was then encouraged to share the image on his or her social media channels. Offline, the effort was designed to capitalize on New York City foot traffic during the holiday season and Super Bowl festivities.

There were also earned-media plays via HTC's social accounts, as well as static OOH placements and street teams in Times Square to drive the submissions figure.

Per Aerva, 40 percent of the 54,000 submissions came from Asia. 

In the end, while it's hard for most folks to estimate what kind of participation such an unusual initiative should produce, HTC brass seems pretty happy with how its appeal turned out. 

"This campaign gave us a very unique and visible way to engage consumers directly," said Ben Ho, HTC cmo, "while highlighting what we believe is the most beautiful smartphone on the market today."

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.