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Coca-Cola Wants Your Favorite Park to Win 100K Grant!

You know what’s crazy when you really stop and think about it? Just how new the Internet is. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a mere infant, only it doesn’t feel like that because quite a few years have passed since fellow Tennessean Al Gore invented it (thanks, Al!). And so much has happened in that time, including the advent of social media which means that social media is the infant of an infant. (And infant of an infant? I blame all those teen mom shows for glamorizing the whole deal.) That’s one reason why I don’t envy corporate America — it behooves them to engage social media to help promote their brand across the ever-expanding cyber horizon, yet to do so, they have to try to make sense out of an infant’s infant. And that’s why you see so many companies getting it wrong. (It takes more than a Twitter account, folks.)

And that’s why, at least in my opinion, it’s so great when you see a brand getting it right. And that’s exactly what Coca-Cola is doing with their America Is Your Park program — getting it right. Because not only are they leveraging multiple different social media platforms in spreading their brand, but they’re also simultaneously engaging people who want to give back to their communities. You do know about the campaign, right? It’s simple. Just visit this site and vote for your favorite park and, you never know, it just might win a $100k grant!

But the key to this cyber contest is the participation of the real community. Last year’s winner was Oak Park in Minot, ND and the fine folks of Minot held events in their beloved park and also spread the word through their online communities and even got hometown celebrities involved. And, of course, they voted. Again and again and again. The end result? Straight cash, homey.

Here’s how your community can experience the same success. First, get online and vote at LivePositively.com/parks  for your favorite park from now until July 15. (You can vote more than once, so wear it out, people…) Once you vote, you can share news of your ballot with your online network by clicking the Share button. (I just did that a second ago when I voted for my favorite park, Lakeshore Park here in beautiful Knoxville, TN.) Once your park has a little momentum, you should consider setting up an entire FB page to it to help spread the word even faster.

But you should also do more than just mobilize the troops via Facebook. You should gather at your local park via bike rides or group runs, or any other excuse to convene. And while there, be sure to vote for the park on your mobile device, AND, on top of that, if you “check in” with a social media app, you’ll earn your park 100 more votes. So my favorite park, for example, is home to countless baseball games. If every single parent in the stands pulled out their phones and voted, then checked in, think how many votes Lakeshore Park would earn!

To learn more about voting from your favorite park, including how to use a Facebook badge and cover photo to help drive awareness, visit  LivePositively.com/parks.

Now, y’all, I’m no marketing major, but it seems to me that a big part of the Coca-Cola brand has always been community — whether it’s getting together with friends for a Coca-Cola and a smile or buying the world a Coca-Cola to keep it company. And that’s why I’m so taken by this advertising campaign. Because, truly, when you think about it, it has nothing to do with the brand itself. It has to do with your community.

Which, in turn, has everything to do with their brand. Because their brand is your community. And mine, too. So get out there and vote, y’all. And may the best park win. But even if your park doesn’t get a grant, there are no losers here.

This is sponsored content from Babble and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Coca-Cola. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only legal residents of the 50 U.S. (and D.C.) who are at least 13 years old and reside within the U.S. at the time of participation are eligible to vote for a Park. Participate on behalf of a Park by: July 15, 2012. The 3 most popular Parks will be offered a grant and there will be 1 Wild Card drawing at the end of the Contest to award an additional grant.  To participate, for Official Rules, and complete details including grant descriptions, visit  LivePositively.com/parks. Void where prohibited. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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