The Golden State Warriors found themselves in a bit of a predicament.
Die-hard fans had been leaking the team's new logo on message boards, blogs, Twitter and Facebook -- which it had yet to unveil to the masses.
So the Warriors decided to insert themselves into that very conversation and unveil the logo to a wider contingency of everyday Golden State fans.
"We decided to flip the traditional logo unveiling on its head," said Kyle Spencer, executive director of marketing for the Warriors. "We're taking advantage of our fans' enthusiasm for finding our logo by making an Easter egg hunt game out of it, utilizing social networks and platforms."
The contest, constructed in-house and officially dubbed "Warriors Draft Challenge," works like this: First, sign up on Warriors.com. Then on each weekday from May 20-31 -- nine days in total -- there will be a challenge question tied to the Warriors' official Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Flickr accounts. Figure out the answer, type in the clue and if you're right, 1/9 of the Warriors' new logo is revealed. Get all nine correct and on the last day you'll have the logo in full.
Spencer said the Warriors are active on YouTube and have a healthy Facebook following, but the game will also expose fans to other places where the Warriors post content on the Web.
"This game gave us the ability to showcase these social networks outposts we have and post content to [those] that some fans might not be aware of," he said.
Wednesday's question asked which pick the Warriors received in this year's draft lottery. (Correct answer: No. 6.) Thursday's clue was unveiled in a YouTube video featuring Stephen Curry. Spencer said a subsequent clue will be revealed only if you tweet a certain message out, which the team set up in conjunction with promojam.com.
Each step of the way, there's an option to share the experience on fans' Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The backend software, supplied by Eloqua, an online marketing company, allows for flexibility. Sign up the first day, miss a few days, come back and you'll be able to catch right up. Conversely, a fan could sign up on the last day and be able to catch up on all the challenge questions, Spencer said.
Besides the logo unveiling, Warriors fans entering the contest automatically register to attend the team's draft party at Oracle Arena on June 24. Daily prizes are also available. Complete the whole contest, and fans are entered into a drawing to win season tickets.
The team also went about promoting the contest in a non-traditional way. Instead of e-mailing out a news release to its media list, the team posted it on PitchEngine.com, the website of a company that specializes in socializing public relations.
The Warriors' release on the site has a video, screen shots of the contest, links to their various content platforms on the Web and options to share the release across a variety of social sites.
Dan Martinez, the Warriors' public relations director, said he believes Golden State is the first professional sports team to use PitchEngine. Martinez said the release launched at 2 p.m. PT Tuesday; a little less than 24 hours later, it had about 4,000 views.
"Traditionally, we'd e-mail out a press release to our media list," Martinez said. "At the most, that's going to be 400, 500 people. Maybe none of them turn it into a story or forward it on and that's where it ends. At the very least, we have 4,000 page views in less than 24 hours. Now, whether that turns into something, I don't know. We're still trying to figure out where this whole thing is going to take us. But it's definitely provided the social media and social networking impact it's supposed to provide."
Added Spencer: "Sports, by nature, is a social event. You want to be able to share with your friends, talk with your friends, go back and forth. We're providing content and facilitating conversation they may not normally have."
Ryan Corazza is a freelance writer and Web designer based in Chicago.