While Mercedes-Benz last year ran a Twitter "race" offline, T-Mobile's employing a similar idea but keeping it digital. The telecom launched a contest yesterday that challenges Twitter users to tweet as much as possible with a "#4GTweets" hashtag.
Promoted Tweets, Sponsored Stories ads on Facebook, and a Klout partnership involving 2,500 influencers are supporting the Twitter-based effort. Andrew Vitellaro, senior social media manager at T-Mobile, characterized the initiative as a way to seed the brand's desired new image, where consumers believe strongly in its wireless 4G network. Vitellaro said rebranding is a key 2012 focus for his company, as paid media will be ramped up later this year.
"This is a new way for the brand to transform as we look to do the brand relaunch later in the year," he told ClickZ on Friday. "But we could not really wait until that time. So we just want people to know we are an aggressive competitor…We thought it was the perfect time to showcase what you can do with the 4G network."
Each day during the next week, the Twitter user with the most "#4GTweets" will win a HTC smart phone and a year of unlimited service from the brand. T-Mobile marketers are calling the three-hour daily events "heats." A Twitter user with the handle "CEspo916" won the first heat on Thursday. The seven winners will compete in the coming weeks for a grand-prize of $4,000. New York-based digital shop Big Fuel created the campaign.
For the brand's Promoted Tweets, it purchased search terms such as "T-Mobile" and "tweet race" on Twitter. A dedicated microsite and :10 YouTube video (below) have also been created to help build buzz.
Michele Taylerson, a rep for Bellevue, WA-based T-Mobile, suggested that the tweet races program could forge consumer relationships that will pay off for the brand down the road. "We want to keep them engaged," she said, "and along for the ride."
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.