San Diego-based WD-40 Company is a leading player in the global market for multi-purpose lubricants. Long aware of the affinity its customers have for its product, the company decided that a quest to uncover a myriad of uses for the product would pique the creative juices of users while providing them a forum to share their ideas.

As part of the millennium celebration in 2000, the company asked consumers to share their favorite ways to use WD-40 by launching a nationwide “Search for 2,000 Uses Sweepstakes” that encouraged consumers to visit the company web site and submit their uses and stories – making this one of the first comprehensive social media campaigns for a consumer product.

The sweepstakes grand prize was $10,000 of company stock. Not only did the prize provide an incentive for consumers to learn more about the brand and its many uses, but it also was designed to increase awareness for WD- 40 Company as a publicly-traded corporation.

Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Public Relations and WD-40 Company promoted the sweepstakes by reaching out to consumer and trade media to generate coverage of the promotion, on-line outreach to key user groups developing in-store displays and promotions.

Nearly 400,000 submissions were received from WD-40 customers in the United States and Canada. The overwhelming response from end-users and the fanaticism they showed the brand led to the creation of the WD-40 Fan Club that continues today. This promotion also segued into the 50th anniversary of the WD-40 brand, which received significant international attention and culminated with WD-40 CEO Garry Ridge riding a white horse through Times Square to open the NASDAQ marketplace.

Some of the most popular entries include using WD-40 to:

  • Keep snow from sticking to windows, snow shovels, and windshields
  • Remove dead insects, road tar and adhesives from car bumpers
  • Prevent rust and corrosion on patio furniture, tools and outdoor locks during winter
  • Stop squeaks on door hinges, bed springs and office chairs

Also included in the submissions was the occasional off-the-wall idea such as using WD-40 to remove gum from hair, properly lubricate prosthetic limbs, and polish glass eyes.

Since the launch of the sweepstakes and the development of the WD-40 Fan Club, media coverage for the brand has grown tremendously, including feature stories about the brand in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Popular Mechanics as well as on-line promotions that have been seen by hundreds of millions of WD-40 fans across the globe and continues to position WD-40 as one of the world’s favorite brands.

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