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Better Homes engages readers with contests

Better Homes and Gardens has kicked off two annual contests, offering prizes for reader submissions.

The Prize Tested Recipe Annual Challenge, which started in mid-April and runs through July 18, asks readers to submit original recipes in six different categories. The grand prize winner will receive $25,000 and will be featured in a 2009 issue of the magazine and on a nationally syndicated TV special. Grand prize winners of the Home Improvement Challenge, which ends on January 31, 2009, get $40,000 and will also be featured in an issue of the magazine.

“Both are really our core editorial topics: food and home improvement,” said Alain Begun, associate publisher of brand and marketing for BHG.

The recipe challenge is an offshoot of an editorial feature that’s been running in the magazine for 71 years, a monthly contest where readers submit recipes to the magazine, Begun explained. “Every issue it’s one of the most popular features, and our goal with launching a bigger annual challenge was to take that excitement that readers feel about the community aspect of BHG, sharing recipes with other readers, and turning it into a bigger contest with a bigger grand prize,” he continued.

“With the Home Improvement Challenge, readers constantly come to the magazine to see what consumers across the country are doing in their homes to improve them and our editors spot a lot of trends by talking to readers,” Begun added. “We do find that our readers are very responsive to anything that allows them to share their own stories or their own projects with other readers.”

Past annual challenges have elicited between 7,500 and 8000 applications, and Begun said that issues featuring past winners have sold well on newsstands. The magazine also benefits from extra ad pages and sponsor dollars generated by the contest.

Wells Fargo has signed on as the leading sponsor for the Home Improvement Challenge and is helping BHG to advertise the contests in its bank locations and through direct mail. BHG will promote the contests in its magazines and on BHG.com with banners and buttons that link to specialized microsites for each challenge. Both contests require participants to enter online.

Kroger has partnered with BHG for the Recipe Challenge. The grocery chain will run in-store promotions featuring samples and shelf talkers, which will drive shoppers to the microsites.

Other sponsors for the Home Improvement Challenge include Behr and Renuzit TriScents. Sponsoring partners for the Recipe Challenge include Rodney Strong Vineyards, Sun-Maid, Tostitos, Uncle Ben’s and Eggland’s Best.

Better Homes and Gardens has an average circulation of 7.6 million.

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