Taste of America Gains Visibility & Votes for CQ Roll Call

It all started with the peanuts. Last year, to introduce some levity into its serious daily diet of journalism, CQ Roll Call launched a poll on its website to determine which state produces the best peanuts.

After the peanut debate was settled (for the record, Georgia won), CQ Roll Call decided to launch a more elaborate contest and capitalize on the potential to spike both traffic and brand awareness. To turn the vision into reality, CQ Roll Call turned to us at Innate.

The result, “Roll Call: A Taste of America” was a delicious success. The mini-site created by Innate generated more than 400,000 votes for CQ Roll Call over the course of just 5 weeks.

The Set-Up

Roll Call: Taste of America was an All-American virtual food fight that functioned like a typical March Madness bracket, with 64 regional foods from U.S. states and territories were chosen to “compete.” Each week users voted for the winners in each bracket. Voting took place over 5 weeks until the final victor emerged. Users who voted were entered for a chance to win a pair tickets to a Taste of America party at We the Pizza, a Capitol Hill restaurant run by celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn.

The Interface

To support the contest, we created a fun, energetic design that housed not only the bracket itself, but also displayed supporting materials like contest rules, sponsor advertising, and a video by Mendelsohn. The site also allowed (but did not require) voters to enter their email addresses and share the link with friends.

We also created the database of foods, monitored the voting, and modified the bracket week to week to show the winners and initiate the next round of voting.

The Results

Over the next five weeks, Roll Call: Taste of America brought in more than 400,000 votes and nearly 1,400 unique email addresses. Feedback was incredibly positive from users, sponsors, and the team at CQ Roll Call.

“Everyone was blown away by the design,” said Andrea  Birdsong, Director of Interactive Marketing at CQ Roll Call, “The site surpassed all of our expectations. It was a fun diversion for our usual audience, not to mention an excellent showcase for our brand and our sponsors.”

(Another big winner? The coconut, which pulled out a victory over all the other regional foods. Too bad, chicken wings, maybe next year. )

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