30 Wicked Cool Summer Contest Prize Ideas (Updated March 2022)

Summer Contest Prize Ideas

Back in 2019, we went on a bit of a summer kick, sharing our favorite summertime contest ideas. Today, we’re pulling together our favorite summer contest prize ideas, guaranteed to activate your customer base and drive summer sales. (You can read the rest of our summer-themed posts here, here, and here.)

We’re updating this post in 2022 with some fresh new ideas to engage your audiences and drive contest participation. 

A Quick Note on Timing

If you’re planning to launch a summer-themed contest this year, now’s the time to work through the logistics of the program. Specifically:

  • What platform will I use to manage the contest (hint SocialToaster)?
  • What will my prizing be?
  • How will I market the contest?
  • What are my goals for the contest – Awareness building? Email list growth? Customer acquisition? 

Feeling stressed? Don’t worry. We’re here for you. We’ve helped hundreds of Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies successfully concept, launch, and manage their contests. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation

The Number One Contest Rule

Before we start delving into potential prizing, let’s talk about the number one prizing rule.

Any prize you choose to utilize should resonate with both your brand AND your audience. The prize has to excite your customer base and also has to “make sense” for your brand. Think of your prize as an opportunity to reinforce your brand while also exciting your customer base.

20 30 Summertime-approved Social Media Contest Prize Ideas

Your Standard Prizing

They call them classics for a reason. If you’re in a pinch for a contest idea, start with these standard go-to’s:

1) Free Product: Why wouldn’t your biggest brand fans love some free merchandise from their favorite company?

2) Gift Cards: Any amount will get attention, but we recommend somewhere between $25 and $100. Under $25 might not be enough to catch attention. Over $100 and you might start seeing some diminishing returns (depending on your average purchase amount)

3) Unique High-Quality Branded Swag: Go beyond the $3 XL t-shirt. Reward your contest participants with branded swag that they’ll actually want to wear. Comfortable hoodies, Koozies with built-in bottle openers, moleskin notebooks, the better the quality, the more likely your winners are to rep and wear your brand in public.  

Beach Lovers

4) Beach Bum Package: Include towels, chairs, umbrellas, and everything else that goes into an epic day at the beach.

5) Active Beacher: Does your brand gravitate to a more active consumer base? Consider the following: sea kayaks, SUPs, surfboards, and other fun beach activities.

6) Laid Back Beacher: Grills, coolers, and koozies. What else would your customers want?

7) Family Beach Day: Combine beach toys and games with useful shading options to create the ultimate family beach day packet.  

The Great Outdoors

8) Glamping Kit: Appeal to your outdoor enthusiasts by giving away a glamping kit that includes a nice tent, sleeping bags, and an air mattress.

9) Hiking Lover: Anything from hiking shoes and poles to backpacks or daypacks.

10) Campsite Makeover: Take your customer’s campsite to the next level by providing an opportunity to win hammocks, nice camping chairs, lanterns, and cooking stoves.

11) Lodging to Long For: You don’t always have to camp to get the most of the great outdoors. Give your contest entries an opportunity to win overnight stays at unique lodging options like treehouses, hunting lodges, and cliff-side manors. 

12) Movie Night: Channel your inner Spielberg with a prize kit that includes an inflatable screen, movie projector, and popcorn machine. 

Grilling Masters

13) Equipment: Giving away a grill is a bit on the nose for this summer season. Differentiate your brand by giving away smokers, Green Eggs, or flat tops.   

14) Relax in Style: Proving a patio makeover can be just the ticket to driving record-breaking engagement over the summer months. We’re talking patio furniture, fire pits, and lighting accessories.

15) Backyard Toys: Cornhole, ladder golf, Spikeball, Kan Jam. Pick your favorite and build a contest around it.

16) The Urban Rancher: Alright, we know this is a niche, but for some brands, a package like this could carry a ton of appeal. Let your winner channel their inner urban Rancher with quality chicken coops, livestock feed, fencing, and other accessories to improve their animal husbandry skills.   

Sports Lovers

17) Game Time: Tickets to a local sports game can be a hot commodity depending on your market. Up the ante by giving away VIP seats or even offering unique experiences along with the tickets (like player meet and greets).  

18) Tailgating: Tailgates aren’t only for Football season. There’s plenty of summertime tailgating fun to be had! Consider giving away coolers, pop-up tents, and other party accessories.

19) Golf Lessons and Clubs: Equipment, lessons, green fees, the options are endless. Pro-tip substitute golf for tennis if that’s a better fit for your audience. 

The Graduate

20) College Scholarships: Check your specific state/market laws on this one, but depending on the age of your target audience, a fantastic prize could be providing one lucky winner with a college scholarship. This doesn’t have to be a large amount. Even $100 can be useful to an incoming college student.

21) Dorm Room Makeovers: Bunk beds and mini-fridges are so 2019! If you’re targeting a younger demographic, consider giving away the opportunity to up-fit their dorm room – or apartment – with furniture, stylish decorations, and Instagrammable features. 

Family Vacations

22) Attraction Tickets: From amusement parks and waterslides to museums and national parks, for many of your customers, summertime is family vacation time. Encourage your fans to be a part of your contest by providing the opportunity for them to win tickets to an exciting attraction.

23) Travel in Style: Want to make a large impact with your customer base? Give away a large prize. RVs, convertibles, and trucks can help to improve any customer’s summer activities. Just make sure you account for the taxes on the customer side.

24) Cruises:  Family vacations don’t have to be road trips. Cruises can be an awesome summer-time prize to consider. Also, with multiple price points, origination ports, and duration, there’s bound to be a cruise that fits your specific contest needs.

25) Great Relaxation: Are you targeting an older demographic? How about gifting a spa day, massage, or other luxurious events. 

Lawn & Pool Care

26) Cleaning Services: Sure, this might sound a bit boring, but no one wants to spend their summertime cleaning their lawn or their pool.

27) Equipment: Mowers, trimmers, clippers, vacuums. Give your customer’s the equipment they need to take their lawn and pool care to the next level.

Back to School

28) New Wardrobe: Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean your audience isn’t thinking about fall fashion. Keep your demo styling and profiling with gift cards or shopping sprees to their favorite clothing brands. We recommend doubling down on this idea if you, yourself, are an apparel brand. 

29) Electronics Upgrade: Laptops, monitors, iPads, consider outfitting your contest winners with an enhancement to their current technology profile.

30) Gaming Central: Whether it’s a new PlayStation 5 or the latest Oculus Headset, lean into the current gaming trends and give your contest winners a chance to beat the summer heat with the latest in gaming technology. 

Prize Selected, What Next?

Got your prize selected? Ready to launch a contest that will have your clients clamoring to enter?

Here’s what needs to happen:

  1. First, determine how your customers are going to enter your contest (or sweepstakes).
  2. Then, write up some official rules to keep everything above board (and protect your interests).
  3. Launch your contest and spread the word.

Remember, the more people that know about your contest, the more entries you receive. Paid promotion should be a part of any contest budget.

If you have a SocialToaster program, now’s the perfect time to activate your audience to increase awareness and participation in your program. Don’t have a SocialToaster program? No sweat, our team of experts is ready to help you launch a program in a matter of weeks. Schedule a demo today to get started, or give us a call at 855.62.TOAST.

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