Most PR and marketing pros embrace technology to deliver targeted and enticing messages, but Vitaminwater is shunning it.
Rather, the beverage company is asking one person to turn away from technology—namely, his or her smartphone—for 12 months. If successful, the person will receive $100,000.
If the person can only make it six months without touching a smartphone, Vitaminwater will shell out $10,000.
The contest rules clarify that your cell phone is likely a smartphone if it can get on the internet and texting is a pleasant experience. It also clarifies that tablets also aren’t allowed and neither is using someone else’s smartphone. The rules don’t go into detail about how the year-long technology abstinence will be proven, but the company indicates that a lie detector test is involved.
The person undergoing the challenge can use computers as well as voice-activated devices, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo.
First, however, you have to be chosen for the challenge. You can enter by either tweeting or Instagramming what you’d do during your year-sans-smartphone, including the hashtags #NoPhoneforaYear and #Contest.
Each person can enter up to four times, and all entries are due by Jan. 8, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. Vitaminwater will announce the winner on Jan. 22, 2019.
What will it take to be chosen? Vitaminwater has both a vague and somehow stringent rubric. Here it is:
- Creativity and Originality of Submission (30%): presents idea in a fun and unique way
- Cultural or Brand Relevance of Submission (30%): fits the brand tonality and persona
- Humor of Submission (30%): relates to breaking the monotony for original and outside-the-lines reasons
- Quality of Submission (10%): inclusion of proper grammar and spelling, and high-quality photos and/or videos (if photos/videos are included)
The PR stunt has already captured several headlines—and many more social media users’ attention. Vitaminwater’s communications team managed to do so while matching the company’s brand voice, too.
Vitaminwater chose this contest as a promotion because scrolling through your phone for hours on end is monotonous and the company is all about breaking monotony. According to vitaminwater:
The vitaminwater brand stands for breaking the monotony, and intentionally behaving in ways that run against the status quo. Vitaminwater is challenging fans to take on this mission to call attention to the monotony found in their own day-to-day life —from scrolling through their social media to eating the same thing every day — in order to discover a more vibrant way of living outside of the lines.
The contest also addresses a growing issue affecting many consumers.
For a good number of people, accomplishing the task would be a hard feat. Nomophobia, the fear of being without your smartphone, is a real thing and it affects 40% of people, Psychology Today says.
The conversation on Twitter is growing, with many people tweeting to the beverage brand with their plans for a Luddite-esque 2019:
— vitaminwater® (@vitaminwater) December 11, 2018
i’m gonna level with ya… i just want to see if i could do it. honestly. and they don’t let you go to rehab for a candy crush addiction that is getting out of hand. #nophoneforayear #contest pic.twitter.com/mGh4h9oWf4
— Alexis Tice (@alexsaucetice) December 13, 2018
— Adam Foster (@Boredman45) December 13, 2018
— Matt Robot (@theforkav) December 12, 2018
I am addicted to my phone. Wake up at night and the first thing I reach out for is my smartphone. A year away from using any smartphone device would be beneficial for my posture and my eyesight. Please consider me for this contest. #vitaminwater
— Maria (@lorenmari1960) December 12, 2018
I bought the iPhone XS Max I need to stop upgrading & scrolling. I’d start writing music & even this book I’ve always wanted to write. I’d sign up for the gym get healthy! W| the $ I’d buy my first home and pay off our debt. & buy years of vitamin water #contest #nophoneforayear pic.twitter.com/3guAD3Ngij
— jay- kay (@jaaykaay37) December 13, 2018
A year without a smartphone or tablet will finally give me time to write the rough draft of my life story, and I can even (potentially) dedicate a chapter to how I went 365 days with my eyes not glued to one. Quite a story that would be #NoPhoneForAYear #contest pic.twitter.com/ppmxuRa0ch
— Ubence Hernandez (@ubence_h) December 13, 2018
Hey @vitaminwater – I’m up for your #NoPhoneForAYear #Contest 1. Fetching more tennis balls > Fetching ‘likes.’ 2. More time living in the moment, less scrolling through the feeds. 3. A chance to pay these student loans off… or at least put a small dent in them ð¤ª pic.twitter.com/fZUEDQ1Hju
— Michael (@michaelhilldpt) December 12, 2018
What do you think of the campaign, PR Daily readers?