Recently we helped launch a contest on Facebook for our client, Rail Europe, called Cultural Shock. The contest invites fans of their Facebook page to submit an entry that describes an experience that they may have had while in Europe which exemplifies cultural differences between the European and American lifestyle.
Rail Europe is asking people to share their experiences that may have been awkward, unexpected, inspiring or just plain interesting. An example Rail Europe offers is that you ordered steak tartar in France and you thought that you were going to receive regular steak; instead you received a plate of raw meat.
The objective of the contest is to get people to share their submissions with their friends and family on Facebook and invite them to vote for their submission. At the end of the two-week contest period the person with the most votes wins the grand prize for that round. A new contest round starts every two weeks. Currently we are on Round 4 which will be ending on Sunday, Jan. 15. Round 5 is scheduled to start on the following Monday, Jan. 16. We're hoping this is going to be a year-long contest. However, that will depend on if the level of interest and engagement continues to be strong. So far the results have been impressive.
Rail Europe USA is the leading authority of European rail in the United States, representing more than 35 European railroads. They currently assist more than one million visitors each year experience Europe by train. Therefore, the grand prize that is offered for each contest round is a 3-country Eurail Select Pass. Winners have up to six months to claim their pass which can then be used over a two month period.
You can visit Rail Europe's blog were the team has posted some of their European cultural shock experiences to help inspire people to submit their own stories. Submissions may include up to 1,000 characters of text and an optional photo. Currently when I click on the View and Vote tab I see 26 entries for this round that I can vote on. Here's a submission from Erin Clark that I thought was funny:
"When I was 17 and fresh off the farm, I was on a concert band tour of Europe. Toward the end of the tour we were exploring London. Our tour guide took us to The Old Curiosity Shop. I had made my purchases and decided to stand outside. A lady approached me and asked me "By chance do you have a fag?" I was mortified until a chaperone explained that she meant a cigarette."
The winner of the Round 3 contest was Mike Richard from New Hampshire. Mike's submission was an account of his experience last year of taking part in the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. He received 65 votes! Mike came away without a bruise and stated "The event is unlike anything I have experienced in the United States and would strongly recommend the event to others."
This is the first Facebook contest I have set-up and help manage using the ShortStack Application. I've been very happy with the flexibility the app offers and the support that I have gotten from the ShortStack team. For example, when we first launched Round 1, we had one tab that included both the entry form and all the submission. We moved to a two tab set-up which we have now on the page that allows those who are visiting just to vote to find the entries much easier. When someone submits an entry, they then have the option to post on their wall as well as send out personal invites to some of their friends asking them for their vote. When the friend clicks on the link that takes them to the contest their friend's submission will be the first once shown in the gallery.
So I invite you to become a Facebook fan of Rail Europe and check out the contest. Yes, you have to Like the page in order to view or enter the contest. That's one of the benefits of running a contest like this and using an application that allows for both fan and no-fan content to display. Rail Europe currently has gained over 4,000 fans since we launched the contest back in November.
If you have an European Cultural Shock experience to share, please feel free to submit it in the contest. People can resubmit their entry in another round. However, they can only win once! Congrats to all the current winners. Let's see who's next.