If you want to bribe your customers, do it right

Shannon Forbes - Digifianz Marketing Analyst

Written by Shannon Forbes - Digifianz Marketing Analyst

 On 6/30/19 11:00 AM



Offering your loyal customers and potential new ones an awesome prize may seem to be more than enough to increase brand-loyalty and engagement.  Of course, people are thrilled to win the latest iPhone or an upgrade to first class, but just giving away these prizes misses out on the opportunity to really wow your customers - by making them “work” for the prize.  

This may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s actually a genius psychological tool to give your prize an even greater punch.  When customers win a prize, they feel that they deserve it because they “worked” for it.

Emotional response

Just think about how you feel when receiving an offer in your inbox for a free product, versus how you feel if you *win* a free item.  The offer is the same, but how you receive it changes your reaction.   

The emotional response generated by winning is powerful capital that companies can use to their advantage.  If customers love to win a contest (in which they did nothing more than submit their email address), they are thrilled to  win a prize through their gaming skills. When consumers win via videogame, they feel special - not everyone has the same talent or luck as them. 


Added value

Contests are a powerful means of building your fan base and engaging your audience.  They’re a rich source of data and they even let your consumers do marketing for you in promoting the contest and/or their winnings. 

You can take your marketing strategy to the next level by connecting prizes to an advergame, or advertising game.  The elevated emotional response produced by winning adds value to the prize itself. A prize that you made an effort to win is worth much more to a participant than one they simply received based on a random drawing.

And increased value makes your prizes more effective. 


Fight for first class!

One of the most ingenious examples of utilizing advergame prizes comes from the airline industry.  Remember those first class tickets we mentioned earlier? Air France took their marketing game to the next level by using an advergame, Cloud Slicer, to promote their new business cabins in Asia.  

In 2014, the airline debuted the “upgrade challenge” game at two events (in Singapore and Osaka) with more than 400 people taking part in the competition.  Not only did Air France commission an advergame, they created an entire event around the game, converting their gates into gaming arenas!

Just before boarding, passengers were offered the opportunity to compete against each other for the chance to win upgrades to first class!  The players who received the highest scores were instantly upgraded to the new business class cabin, while the runners-up won seats in premium economy.


Timing was one of the most critical elements of the campaign strategy.  By waiting until passengers were mere minutes away from boarding, Air France capitalized on the emotional response to the game.

The prospect of spending numerous hours in cramped main class seats prompted high engagement and a strong emotional response from the players.  More so than winning from home when the prospect of a long trip in economy is still a far-away inconvenience, winning an upgrade in the moment you’re about to squeeze into a tiny seat is much more impactful.

Not only was the engagement level during the event extremely high, the excitement was palpable!  Passengers only had 15 minutes to play before being stuck with their economy seats. 


This campaign turned tedious waiting time into a fun, goal-oriented game.  The winners felt that they deserved the prize more than if they had simply received the upgrade through points, since they “worked” hard to beat out the competition.  The experience also included interacting with Air France on a personal level - the pilot gave out the prizes!

This Air France case study is an elaborate example of the effectiveness of winning prizes via advergames.  But you don’t need to host an extravagant event in order to take advantage of the enthusiasm.  

Consumers love to win prizes they “earned” through virtual (or not) sweat and tears.  If you want to bribe your customers with prizes, make them worth it by offering them exclusively through an advergame!  Your customers will have fun and your brand will benefit from the high levels of engagement and customer satisfaction.