Herman Miller has a long tradition of collaborating with designers to create good design that benefits people’s environments—something that continues today. To build momentum for the launch of Herman Miller’s first ecommerce store, we created a campaign to celebrate their good design while expanding their audience.
In the same way people value Herman Miller’s design, we set out to create an experience that people would value and remember. We created Design for You, a tiered contest that used the power of collective participation to unlock weekly prizes. The more people who entered, the more prizes got unlocked.
We handpicked the prizes so each would better than the last, including the Eames Hang-It-All, an autographed Picnic Poster that’s in MoMA’s permanent collection, the Eames Molded Plywood Splint, and the Embody Chair. To maximize participation, we also offered a bonus prize—the person who referred the most people to enter the contest would win an Aeron chair.
For the grand prizes to be covetable, we commissioned five diverse artists—Andrew Holder, Phil Lumbang, Chris Lee, Mark Giglio, and Josh Cochran—to paint five Eames Rockers. We documented the artists drawing and painting the chairs and directed a short film to reveal their creative process, including the work that went into each original artwork. For example, Mark Giglio patiently created a stencil using a pencil, masking tape, and an X-acto knife and added a custom-sewn seat cushion he had silk screened himself with a custom pattern. Josh Cochran drew his sketches in pencil, then hand painted painstaking details with a brush. We also produced interviews of each artist on how they applied the theme of “for a better world around you” into their art.
We created the Design for You website as the hub for the campaign, where people could learn more about the prizes, view the artist-painted rockers in 360, watch behind-the-scenes interviews, and enter the contest. A meter at the bottom of the page featured the prizes and tracked the number of entries in real time so people could see which prizes had been unlocked.
The prizes were designed to unlock over time, one a week over 8 weeks. The popularity of the contest unlocked all prizes in under 10 days. We more than doubled the entry goals, where 95% of signups were new to Herman Miller’s consumer email list. Design for You was featured in over 100 design blogs including Fast Company, Core77, Curbed, Contract Design, and Design Sponge. Curbed even wrote a five-page article celebrating the history of the Eames Rocker while promoting the contest. The press and social attention from the campaign set the stage for a successful Herman Miller ecommerce store launch.