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Harrods targets London shoppers via mobile scavenger hunt

June 11, 2013


London department store Harrods is targeting local shoppers through a city-wide mobile scavenger hunt to win approximately $1,500 to spend in-store.

The retailer’s ambassador, the Green Man, is dancing in the streets of London to promote Harrods annual sale and encourage consumers to enter the contest by taking an image of him and posting it to Twitter. Not only is the contest creating a social buzz for the retailer, but it is also making use of out-of-home advertising since the Green Man is likely to draw attention on the streets.

“We wanted a fresh approach to our famous sale campaign, and for the first time we decided to build on the international reputation of our iconic Green Men,” said Joel Verner, corporate affairs executive at Harrods, London.

“We have devised an interactive competition whereby customers must spot our dancing Green Man in London to be in with a chance of winning [$1,500],” he said.

“Of course, this builds up to the first day of the sale on June 15.”

Dancing on the street

The Green Men are icons for the department store. Currently, Harrods has eight working at the store, but has brought on an additional Green Man for the contest.

This Green Man, Richard, is dancing in the streets of London to promote the annual Harrods sale and the contest.

To enter the contest, consumers must take a picture of the Green Man dancing, upload it to Twitter and use the hashtag #HarrodsSale to enter for a chance to win approximately $1,500 to spend in store.

Fan tweet

Harrods is promoting the contest and the sale through its social media channels. The retailer is also giving away the Green Man’s location to encourage more consumers to find him and upload images.

Facebook post

To kick-off the contest, Harrods released a video June 6 that shows the Green Man dancing.

The Harrods Summer Sale | Watch the Green Man Dance

Since the sale is an annual promotion, Harrods is keeping it exciting and relevant by incorporating its iconic Green Man into the contest without diluting the brand.

“I think this is an exciting and fun way for Harrods to make use of social media,” said Dave Rodgerson, senior management consultant of retail strategy and change at IBM Canada, Toronto.

“The idea of bringing the brand to life in social media with Richard, helps to present the brand in a new way - energetic and fun without discarding the sophistication of the brand,” he said.

Hashtag marks the spot

Other luxury retailers have used mobile-based scavenger hunts to excite consumers about annual campaigns.

For instance, department store Barneys New York engaged consumers in its Electric Holiday campaign by giving away gift cards through a mobile scavenger hunt during which clues were sent out through Twitter and Instagram.

Barneys’ Twitter account @BarneysNY tweeted clues so that mobile users could find secret spots where “Mickey Messengers” were located.

Mobile Twitter users were encouraged to interact with Barneys through the hashtag #ElectricHoliday and follow the retailer on Instagram to find out additional clues (see story).

Also, Bloomingdale’s hosted an SMS contest with Microsoft that took place each day of the semi-annual “Hot” event Sept. 6-16, 2012.

Consumers could text “ITSON” to 51515 for the chance to win a Microsoft prize pack that included a Windows tablet, Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse and Keyboard, and Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 featuring OneNote (see story).

Retailers should promote these contests to their social media followers to get the best response and fully engage an audience who is likely to get on board with the campaign.

For Harrods, social media is particularly important since it is the main driver of the contest.

“What is especially clever about this promotion is that it takes full advantage of social media in a way that engages the consumer,” Mr. Rodgerson said. “Consumers want to be involved and have fun, so the idea of making this an interactive promotion that encourages their participation is a great strategy.

“In addition, Harrods has been able to leverage the nearly 400,000 Facebook fans to become involved in the project,” he said.

“The retailer is using Facebook as a launching point, but now it will have the benefit of a direct relationship with customers that tweet their pictures of the Green Man rather than relying on a third-party connection through Facebook.”

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York