Fall means many things across America: returning to school, Monday night football, crisp air, falling leaves, and for the restless at work, conference season. We recently did a run down of the upcoming conferences and today we will focus on a fun aspect of two of them: #AWCConf13 and #SIC2013
The Association of Women in Communications came up with the idea of a mascot to engage their annual conference goers with a bit of pre-trip fun. They created a pdf of Flat Abe and challenged the attendees to make a Flat Abe travelogue (ala Flat Stanley) from home to the conference. Basically, the idea is to take photos of the Flat Abe in front of cool stuff where you live, like so: (see full album online).
Well… seems that this is a “thing” now – I just discovered that Seattle Interactive Conference (SIC) is doing something similar. In fact, conference goers this year could win a SIC pass by participating in one of the four weeks of a social photo game. Each week had a theme – #WorkingTimmy and #HometownTimmy for the first two weeks. The last two weeks were #WheresTimmy using the UGC from weeks 1 + 2.
Both conferences seemed to get some pre-event traction from the contests. Their social streams are full of photos and hashtags for their mascots. Along with the engagement increase, somehow the conferences seem more personable, like a conference you would want to have a beer with after a long day. Since these are the first two conferences I have seen do this, we have yet to see if it is a fad that fades or not.
What about you – what do you think of this type of engagement strategy? Have you seen something similar? Do you think events need mascots like sports teams?