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Ulta gamifies product promotion with mobile update of Truth or Dare

Beauty retailer Ulta has created a virtual version of the Truth or Dare game to generate hype around its introduction of Urban Decay’s popular Naked Palette while providing a unique take on the typical social media contest.

To win the eye shadow palette for free, participants share truths or complete dares put forth by the retailer on Instagram. Ulta is hoping to ride the wave of the Naked Palette’s popularity by building hype around the addition of the product to its inventory and incorporating a new spin on a social media contest.

“The truth or dare aspect of Ulta’s social media contest is what makes it different,” said Danika Daly, CEO and president of Danika Daly Public Relations, New York . “Many social media contests simply ask you to tag a friend, or like/follow, which works great because it helps to build a brand’s following.

“However, the truth or dare aspect makes the consumers feel like they are playing a game with their closest friends, which will possibly equal more engagement,” she said. “The use of smoke graphics and the actual product in the posts help to drive awareness subliminally, while asking questions which will make the followers want to engage more, is effective in driving awareness to the palette.

“I like how even when the question does not really relate to the palette directly they tied it in by using ‘smokin’ vocabulary in the question. I am curious to see what the next #UltaTruthorDare posts will be, and I hope they stick to the phrasing and integrate the product into the posts a bit more.”

Daring marketing
Truth or Dare is a well-known sleepover game in which players are given challenges or must answer personal questions. Ulta is leveraging consumers’ love of nostalgia with its own social media edition of the game, as many Ulta customers played Truth or Dare while growing up.

Ulta invited Instagram users to play the game and to tag friends to join in on a chance to win along with the hashtag #UltaTruthOrDare. The original invite post teased the game and intrigued users to stay tuned.

The first round of the game featured an image of a woman modeling the product with transparent text overlaying, indicating that the first challenge was a question. Ulta urged participants to comment on the post admitting to who they think is hot.

The winner of the first round was picked at random from the pool of commenters and announced the following day.

The retailer is smart to ramp up its advertising and marketing efforts for the Naked Palette. The product is highly sought out and a big topic of discussion in the makeup world.

Created by makeup brand Urban Decay, the palette has become a fan favorite. Ulta hopes to drive higher sales with the introduction of the product to its online and in-store inventory.

Creating unique marketing efforts through social media and other channels is one way to drive the kind of awareness that can boost sales. Capitalizing on the nostalgia of the game and the fresh take on a standard contest can further the hype.

Fresh looks
Ulta is consistently innovating in the mobile and social media spaces to entice its fans.

Makeup brand Benefit Cosmetics partnered with beauty retailer Ulta in a social media contest on Instagram where users share photos of their brows for a chance to win products, leveraging consumers’ love of selfies and the current interest in eyebrow shaping (see more).

Similarly, Wyndham Vacation Rentals rolled out a new sweepstakes that asks consumers to unlock daily social media challenges for a chance to win prizes such as car rentals, a DSLR camera and vouchers to one of the hotel conglomerate’s rental properties (see more).

“Social media contests are an effective tool in driving awareness because it allows brands to engage with their audience directly,” Ms. Daly said. “It is easy for people to tag their friends on posts, products, etc they think they will like, which generally leads to more followers.

“Everyone loves to win free stuff, so social media contests usually show increased engagement,” she said. “Giveaways do not always lead to increased sales right away, but will bring on more potential customers who may buy something later on.

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily