That Time Our Giveaway Caused Downtown Gridlock Traffic

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When the COVID-19 National Emergency was announced in mid-March, it was an obvious decision for Well Played Board Game Cafe to temporarily close their doors. Regardless, as their marketing agency we were still tasked to quickly come up with a plan of action to answer the daunting question: How do we maintain the momentum of awareness and engagement when our client is essentially out of business? All of our 2020 planning needed to be thrown out the window.

We dialed in on a revised communication and content strategy to best navigate our way through an unprecedented time, the best way we knew how. Ultimately, our goal was to focus on genuinely helping the community make the best of their time while under the #stayhome orders.

After conducting a thorough cleaning of their board game library (which I might add is quite impressive, being the largest board game library in North Carolina with over 650 games), staff identified close to 100 games that weren’t useful – either being duplicates or titles considered “NSFW.” The thought that came up was rather than letting the games collect dust in storage, why not give them to a good home? Especially at a point in history when people have extra time on their hands, and quite frankly, could probably use a little entertainment.


We knew leading with a PR strategy would be the best way to get the word out as quickly as possible, while utilizing social media as a support mechanism. Keeping it simple, we whipped up and distributed a press release and created a Facebook event along with a few posts early Friday afternoon.

Later that evening, ABC News 13 (WLOS) picked up the press release with a featured article and published the story to their social accounts. Jason Sanford of Ashvegas also published the story and AVLToday followed suit the following Monday afternoon.

By Tuesday evening, our Facebook event had received more than 1,000 attendance responses – all without a single dollar spent on advertising.


Even people who weren’t going to the giveaway became aware of the event and engaged across all social platform while (and after) it was happening.

In addition to the overwhelming turnout, we were also grateful to earn a 60 second spot on WLOS ABC13 Morning News:

Overall, the impact was significant and far reaching, from both marketing and philanthropic standpoints. By the numbers, our performance was remarkable:

  • 300 games & care packages donated
  • Total Potential Reach: 195K
    • WLOS – 89K
    • AVLToday – 78k
    • Ashvegas – 28K
  • 500% spike in website traffic
  • 300 new social media followers in 24 hours

However, in our opinion the greatest gain comes from doing something good for our community – the best marketing happens when business can impact peoples’ lives for the better.

At the end of the day, this is exactly the reason why we do what we do.

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