In this guest post, Senthilkumar Rajappan ((Senthilkumar is Manager, Sales Strategy at Networkplay, he works with the Impact side of business as well as events vertical which covers both ad:tech India and iMedia Summits on content, marketing and strategic initiatives. He loves keeping track of advancements in Internet and mobile space. He is an avid reader which includes fiction and biographies. Motorsports esp F1 and cricket are his other interests. He also blogs at rsenthilkumar.com)) shares his experience about Social Media Speedster contest organized by Marussia F1 team and Monster India during the Indian Grand Prix, 2012.
It was a nice feeling when there was a call from Monster India office telling me that I was shortlisted for the Social Media Speedster finals.
Now to the background of the contest – it was all F1 on my timeline, this year at F1 was going to be another milestone as is the case with any second year in the F1 circuit for a track. The buzz was palpable but not much as compared to the last year. Nevertheless, I was also scouting for an opportunity to be at the race especially if it would be with an F1 team. That’s when I stumbled upon the Marussia Social Media Speedster contest.
Last year I was with the Champions Red Bull. So this contest appealed in a way, to be the best chance to be up and close with the team. There were a couple of other contests too, but none had anything social. They had contests on the ground and finally would culminate in the photo-op with team especially Micheal Schumacher and Nico Rosberg if you were taking part in any Airtel Mercedes contest.
As I was contemplating this move, I saw the same news on my Twitter timeline from Prasant. I just retweeted since it was on my radar and it was F1 in nature. That was when Prasant felt I should give it a shot. Then I rechecked the rules and submission criteria. We had to do a 100 word blog on why we would be the Social Media Speedster and a 140 character tweet with a #SMSpeedster hashtag.
I went thorough the rigour and I got a message on Twitter from @monster_india thanking me for the submission and to finish this entry as I had only one day left. When I clicked on the link, I found they had also added a 40 second video as a part of the entry. Now I thought this is nice, may be there was a podcast involved or may be there was a video blog involved.
Running through a maze of thoughts, I looked at the mirror and found I hadn’t shaved in a while so I went to get a clean cut and shave to look nice facing the camera. The I went about the recording for a minute rehearsing a bit of recording and finally talking sense to my laptop. After I had uploaded the video, I had misread the time limit.
Now it was waiting period. The contest ended 10th Oct, and as we were waiting I could see some of my friends had also participated. There was no news for quite sometime. Then we got a call on 18th for a telephonic interview.
I was speaking to 3 people on call on why I should be the Social Media Speedster. It was about why the team Marussia and how you would fit in. One question that sticks to my mind was if I was keen about my Klout score. I had looked at it the earlier in the day and it was at some 54 odd points.
It was a nice call and went on for over 20 minutes.
Then again the waiting started, the results were not out till about the 26th, I was keeping a check on who was going to be there. The page being an application page just said that the contest entry was over.
The result came early Saturday for the world. Darshan Chokhani from Kolkatta had won. I got to know from his timeline that he was poised to be with the team during the qualifying. That was a nice trip given that F1 teams wont allow anyone near them during their office hours.
Now over to my feedback on how it could have been better:
Apart from being the only contest with a social element, the finalists should have been published post the first round.
The timing and non engagement between the contest submission and final results was a big minus.
Irrespective of the contest results, F1 fans could have been engaged with and also especially the Marussia fans or this would have been an opportunity to present Marussia in a far different perspective to fans and get a good fan base in India.
The communication with the contestants or public announcements should have been timed well for the results and things like that.
Anyways, it was a nice effort and hopefully we will see more brands take this route and make it worthwhile for the fans and wannabe fans to make their mark. I believe social media is also a platform for the teams to shower their love and expand their fan base and also steal some fans from other teams.