DoubleTree by Hilton is unique in the hotel space. Unlike other hotel brands, DoubleTree by Hilton has a physical, customer facing CPG product - the signature DoubleTree Cookie that is handed to guests when they arrive. Until recently, the Cookie and the sleeve it is served in had only been updated when brand standards change. Our Hilton team saw an opportunity to create a brand and social/PR storytelling moment that tapped into the love of our Cookie. This gave us first mover advantage in the hospitality space on the growing trend of crowdsourcing designs for custom/limited-edition CPG products using the Cookie Sleeve as our muse.
By giving fans the opportunity to personalize the Cookie sleeve and emphasize what the DoubleTree Cookie means to them, we aimed to bolster brand affinity with social users and increase awareness for those not as familiar with our brand. From a social perspective, we hoped the contest would increase social chatter, generate campaign post engagement and reach new audiences through an integrated influencer campaign and robust paid social strategy.
To celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, we gave fans their first-ever opportunity to create a new design for the DoubleTree Cookie sleeve. Fans were invited to submit drawings of our Cookie sleeve by posting photos to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #DoubleTreeDoodleContest. The contest ran for a two-week period followed by one week of fan voting and ran parallel with a paid social and social influencer campaign across Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
Contest finalists were decided by a panel of internal brand stakeholders and TikTok star, TJ Therrien, at the conclusion of the two-week entry period. Guests were then invited to vote for their favorite of the 5 designs via custom contest microsite to help us pick a winner. The winner of the contest received:
- Their design featured on 3-month supply of Cookie sleeves to be used across all US DoubleTree hotels.
- 1 million Hilton Honors points
- 5x free night at any DoubleTree in the world along with flight vouchers
- Free DoubleTree Cookies for one year
As a hotel brand, we knew we needed to activate not only on social media but at grassroots, property level. For a brand like DoubleTree by Hilton with 380+ domestic properties, we faced a challenge of how to educate all property Team Members on the contest and inspire them to encourage their guests to participate in the contest.
To address this challenge, a month prior to launch, we created an internal version of our contest designed specifically for property teams to come together and create their own designs for the DoubleTree Cookie sleeve following the same rules and procedures the general contest would follow. This allowed them to become familiar with the contest process and express their creativity. Additionally, we produced a line of promotional materials to be placed in high traffic spots across all US hotel properties encouraging guests to enter. While there were other challenges faced and overcome along the way, this was the most unique to our situation and required the most troubleshooting and out of the box problem solving.
The entire activation successfully fostered brand love, drove awareness and engagement beyond our original social following/fanbase.
Received 167 fan-designed cookie sleeve entries, all submitted through #DoubleTreeDoodleContest on IG and TW. We repurposed the entries as UGC, which was later used as content to continue momentum while we produced the winning sleeve for distribution across all US properties in early 2023.
Received over 1,100 unique fan votes on our microsite.
Branded social posts totaled 11.5M paid impressions and 1.2M paid video views. We targeted brand enthusiasts, look-a-like audiences, and people with an interest in travel, family, art/design or cookies, all affinities that ladder back to our brand.
Influencer content spanned four platforms and leveraged six interest-based creators whose storytelling outperformed benchmarks across every platform. They collectively delivered 15.8M impressions and 2.5M video views, organic and paid.
Contest generated a potential global reach of 504 million and 201 PR placements through paid and earned efforts including targeted media drops with bespoke cookies sleeves and widespread media outreach. The contest was covered by Mashed, MSN, Bake Mag, Hospitality Net, Bloomberg, Associated Press, CNN Business and Yahoo! Finance.
“@handle this contest has your name written all over it!”
“Thanks for spreading the news about this, Leslie! Can’t believe I made [the finals]!”
“Thank you for the shoutout and for having this wonderful contest! What a great way to celebrate the warmth and goodness of DoubleTree and your delicious cookies!”