Trending Now: Mascot Cutouts on Social Media
With the increased usage of social media ambassadors and rewards programs across the industry, universities continue to launch cutting-edge efforts to engage their supporters both online and off. Most recently, mascot cutouts are working their way into selfies, event photos and vacation scenes around the world. Colleges are encouraging their alums to participant in social media photo contests by snapping a picture with their mascot cutout and uploading the image to their social media accounts with a designated hashtag.
Supporters are incentivized to participate through prizes or even the possibility that their post could be featured on the school’s social media pages or alumni website. The cardboard mascot renderings are sent to alumni in the mail and are available to download and print online.
Here are three standout examples from Corporate Insight’s Alumni Monitor coverage group that are incorporating mascot cutout giveaways to help boost alumni engagement and participation:
In January, Bentley University released its Flex in Flight promotion to help build awareness of and celebrate the school’s centennial year. The promotion features monthly drawings for the chance to win prizes such as a home gym package or a Netflix subscription. Both students and alumni can participate in the giveaways by taking a picture with a cardboard cutout of the school’s mascot—Flex the Falcon—and posting the image on Instagram or Twitter using a #FlexinFlight tag.
Flex in Flight Instagram Posts
The Notre Dame Alumni Association recently launched its Meet Lucky giveaway. Alums and supporters can request free Lucky the Irishman cutouts from the alumni website. Participants can take selfies with Lucky and post on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #NDLucky. Notre Dame compiles the selfies and posts them on its Meet Lucky page within the alumni site.
Lucky the Irishman Twitter Posts
The Flat Willie giveaway from Northwestern University serves to build awareness of the alumni-focused community website Our Northwestern. The promotion features weekly drawings for the chance to win a bookstore gift card. University members participate by taking a picture with the Willie the Wildcat cutout and posting the image to the private Our Northwestern site or on social media using a #FlatWillie tag. A fun and interactive section of the site, the #FlatWillie Travel Tracker, displays a map of the globe highlighting all the locations where Flat Willie had been photographed. Having proven successful, the Flat Willie challenge has launched four more editions of the mascot cutout since its launch in 2014.
Northwestern #FlatWillie Travel Tracker Page
Northwestern Flat Willie Collection
Mascot cutouts are a creative way to combine social media with offline engagement. Incentivizing participants to use their social networks to showcase school pride also helps draw the attention of fellow alumni who might have ignored previous communications from their alma mater but are more likely to engage with content posted by friends and former classmates. And schools can keep the momentum going by launching new editions of their cutouts, like Northwestern’s Flat Willie, or gamifying the mascot fun, like Bentley’s monthly challenges and prizes.