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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

DQ Fall Blizzard Scented Pillow Activation

Entered in Single Post or Activation


How does a brand that’s famous for summer treats stay top of mind during fall?

With the trendiest trend of the season: COZY FALL DECOR. Enter our Q3 Brand Activation – the DQ Fall Blizzard Menu Pillow Flight Sweepstakes. 

With the release of DQ’s Fall Blizzard Menu lineup, we dropped a brand new collection of six scented pillows inspired by each flavor. You smelled that right, we’re talking Pumpkin Pie softness and cuddly Cinnamon Roll Centers. 

And because DQ is in the business of spreading happiness, we gave our fans a chance to win one flight of 3 pillows through a social sweepstakes.

Our Activaton goal was to keep Dairy Queen top of mind with Gen Z and millennial consumers for their fall seasonal treats, encourage social engagement on DQ's pages, and drive earned media coverage.

Strategy and Execution

Running a social sweepstakes? Easy. 

Actually creating real-life treat-scented pillows? Challenge accepted.

Decorative pillows are a cultural phenomenon. Consumers will argue you can never have too many, and they're an easy way to transition your home from summer to fall. Plus, after Squishmallows were such a hit with Gen Z, we knew we could pique their interest with a yummy set of pillows from DQ.

Barkley brought every Fall Blizzard flavor to life with one-of-a-kind pillow designs and partnered with our vendor to print the unique fabrics. The integrated team participated in “smell-testing” multiple scent concoctions to capture the essence of Cinnamon Roll Centers, Pumpkin Pie, Oreo Hot Cocoa, Snickers Brownie, Reese’s Take 5, and Very Cherry Chip (‘twas harder than you’d think.)

After finalizing our pillow designs and scents, Barkley executed a lifestyle photo and video shoot to capture content for the sweepstakes’ landing page, emails, and social assets. Then we got to work building our suite of contest materials.

In partnership with media agency MWW and our DQ clients, our activation went live at the end of August (when pumpkin-themed everrrything hits the market.) Starting with a teaser phase to build excitement for the pillow contest, we then launched the official DQ Fall Blizzard Menu Pillow Flight Sweepstakes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

The biggest challenge of them all? Simply keeping up with all the engagement, love, and just overall hype for both the pillows and the Fall Blizzard Menu flavors.


Our deliciously scented DQ decor struck internet gold.

People went nuts for these pillows in the comments! Social conversation surrounding the sweepstakes was overwhelmingly positive (98% Pos/Neu sentiment) and with an 11.99% engagement rate, we surpassed organic ER goals by 359%.

Fans were ecstatic about the new fall flavors, and scents. They loved the unique pumpkin pie and cinnamon roll designs and made sure to share which one they hoped to win. With over 32,000 entries, the 342 lucky winners got to show off their Fall Blizzard decor on Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and more.

In total, the DQ Fall Blizzard Pillow Sweepstakes garnered 1.6 million social engagements and this cozy craze translated to a total of 197 million earned impressions. 

Our social contest secured 155 media placements for DQ’s Fall Blizzard Treat Menu across national broadcast, home and design, lifestyle and Gen Z verticals, including People, Apartment Therapy, Elite Daily, PureWow, SimpleMost, and more.

With the DQ Fall Blizzard Menu Pillow Activation, we proved that happy tastes—and smells—good. Especially in the fall.


Video for DQ Fall Blizzard Scented Pillow Activation

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Barkley, Dairy Queen


Entry Credits