Here is the letter that was posted on the Pet Society Forum from the Mayor of Pet Society introducing the competition:
As part of our Pet Society holiday season celebrations, I thought it might be fun to create our own greetings cards to celebrate together… but not just any cards, oh no, I’d like YOU to decide how they should look!
Here’s what I had in mind. You draw a fun picture for a greetings card and upload it onto our specially made website. Let’s focus on everything that’s fun about the holiday season — snowball fights, presents, great food… but with a Pet Society twist.
I’d like to be as inclusive as possible so I won’t be able to accept anything which may offend anyone. Oh, and checking through all the entries may take a little while, so please be patient if you don’t see your image right away!
You’ll be able to rate every image you see on the site out of five. The top five images as voted by you by Sunday the 30rd of November will be edited by my art team and made into greetings cards which anyone will be able to buy in our village shops. Can you imagine? Your very own greetings card design in thousands of Pet Society homes!
But that’s not all. The five lucky winners will receive an exclusive Pet Society figurine and 10,000 coins, with 5,000 coins for each of the ten runners up!
Does that sound like fun? Then what are you waiting for, it’s over to you!
To take part in the competition, you needed to visit the Pet Society Greetings Card Competition website where you could upload cards that you’ve created and you can vote (on a scale from 1 to 10) on cards that others have created. The 5 cards that have the most votes by November 30th will be made available for purchase in the Pet Society village shops and the designers of those cards will receive 10,000 coins that can be used in the game as well as a Pet Society figurine.
Card submissions concluded on Wednesday, November 26th and voting ended November 30th. The winners of the Greetings Card Competition should be announced soon.
While the forum states that they’ve received “…tens of thousands of entries…” that have “…surpassed all of [Pet Society's] expectations,” the website was displaying just over 6,000 cards after submissions had concluded on the 26th. This may have been because they had already started to remove entries as they worked their way down to the top 50 cards, which were then voted on again between the 26th and the 30th in order to narrow it down to the top 5 winners.
This Greetings Card Competition is significant because Playfish has found a way to engage their users and promote their application in an unobtrusive and fun way, while at the same time potentially earning revenue from the sale of these cards through the virtual currency system in Pet Society. Perhaps other applications could benefit from running promotions similar to this. For example, Pieces of Flair or Bumper Sticker could run a competition to see who could design the best piece of flair or the best bumper sticker in a certain category, for a specific event such as a holiday, or for a particular purpose such as getting out the vote during an election year.
This isn’t the only way that Playfish is celebrating the holiday season–in addition to holding the Greetings Card Competition, they’ve also introduced “…all kinds of festive clothes, decorations, furniture and food” into the village shops. During Thanksgiving, for example, Playfish added food items like turkey and pumpkin pie to their village shops. The pumpkin pie became quite a hit as people’s pets “…managed to chomp their way through five million pumpkin pies during Thanksgiving alone!” This is a great way to motivate their users to make purchases–the items are festive and are only available for a limited time. We decorate our homes and eat special foods during the holidays in our everyday lives, why not extend this to our virtual lives as well?
While some other Facebook developers have incorporated holiday themed elements into their applications (YoVille, for example, offers holiday themed attire for a limited time to their users), Playfish is really taking things a step further, not only by incorporating festive items to be purchased in Pet Society, but by holding a competition outside of Facebook while promoting it from within Facebook and offering rewards that are really only useful within the game. This is a fun and unique way to engage their users and promote their application at the same time.