We’re always on the lookout for promotions run by financial institutions, and while these sometimes include social promos, we also watch for tried-and-true card usage sweepstakes. These types of promotions are fairly simple: every card use equals an entry (or entries) into a sweepstakes. This encourages cardholders to swipe their cards (sometimes at specific merchants) not just once, but many times to increase their chances of winning.

There are three key ingredients to successful usage promotions: an attention-grabbing prize (win $1,000,000, or win a Vegas getaway, or win a car), customer understanding of what they can win and how and, finally, awareness. When we talk to clients about promotions, one of their biggest concerns is that the first time a winner might hear about the promotion is after they have won. And with the millions of card transactions every day and consumers’ limited time to see marketing messages, that is a very real possibility.

A recent sweepstakes that caught our eye was promoted by Wells Fargo on its Facebook page:

wells fargo facebook sweepstakes post 1

Wow! A $25,000 prize just for using a debit card? That’s pretty good. We were intrigued. Was this a new promotion? How long was it running? Where could we get more information? We clicked the link in the post and arrived at the rules page. OK… while the page was informative for us (because we know what to look for in sweeps rules), it may not be the best way (or the ideal place) for customers to get the information. So, we Googled the promotion, but we didn’t find anything. Then we asked our partner Competiscan to search its vast creative database. It couldn’t find anything, either.

Ultimately, we went to the Wells Fargo website and found this landing page and then checked Facebook again and saw two posts from earlier in March, one on the 17th and this one on the 12th (note the comments):

wells fargo facebook sweepstakes post 2

Hmmm… it seems that “Alex” is also wondering why he’s just hearing about this promotion. To its credit, Wells Fargo responded to his question by indicating it had been using a number of channels to promote the sweepstakes. However, it looks like the bank waited until March to post it to Facebook.

It’s possible that Wells Fargo did execute a coordinated promotion strategy, and we just can’t find samples of it. But it’s also possible that the bank overlooked the most important part of a promotion: making sure to promote it. Even the posts that we did discover don’t fully explain the prizes. It’s not only a $25,000 grand prize, but also daily prizes of $25 each. That’s a nice little reward for simply using a debit card and something that should also be promoted. Otherwise, those daily $25 statement credit winners will be calling customer service to ask why they were given the money.

With promotions, never underestimate the power of a good prize. And as Zero Mostel said, “When you got it flaunt it! Flaunt it!