The open road
Hankering to feel the wind in your hair, but can't swing the dough to pull off an epic road trip? Never fear: if you've got the right stuff (and a video camera), Sears Auto Center might be willing to foot the bill.
For the second year in a row, Sears Auto Center is sponsoring the "Exploring My America" contest. The rules are a tad convoluted, and the "Exploring My America" website has a few functionality issues, but here are the most important details:
• Over the next few weeks, Sears Auto Center will pick out four destinations (currently, Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola At DAYTONA), and contestants will put together teams to compete for the chance to travel to those destinations
• Each team should consist of at least two members, and each team member (a) should be a licensed driver, (b) with comprehensive auto coverage, (c) who has no more than one moving violation in the past 12 months and no accidents at all within the past 24 months, (d) who "likes" the Sears Auto Center Facebook page, and (e) who has "shopped at Sears, either in-store or online, in the last 12 months".
• The car used on the road trip has to be owned or leased by one member of the team.
• To enter your team in the contest, you'll need to submit a video (three minutes, max) explaining your route, including the five to ten stops you'll make along the way that make your trip truly extraordinary.
• In evaluating submissions, the creativity of your video will count the most, but production quality, charisma (i.e. how "camera-friendly" you are), and social media exposure (i.e. how many Facebook friends you have) will weigh heavily, too.
• "Entries must be dignified, modest and in good taste", so keep it clean, Jolene.
• You have until Sunday, May 29, at 11:59 ET to submit your video for the Daytona road trip. Other trips will follow with new deadlines.
Sears will pick two teams for each trip, doling out $1500 in travel expenses along with other goodies. Teams will document their trips with video, tweets, and other postings to social media sites. At the end of the contest, one team from each trip will be selected to win a grand prize.
At first glance, the "Exploring My America" contest looks a lot like Ford's successful Fiesta Movement campaign. At second glance, it looks even more like Ford's recent "Go Do" campaign for the Explorer. But hey, with gas prices climbing, we're not about to turn up our noses at a free vacation just because it lacks originality.
For more details, check the press release below, or visit ExploringMyAmerica.com.
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Sears Auto Center Seeks Social-Savvy Road Warriors for Second Annual "Exploring My America" Contest
Travelers to Document Week-Long Road Trips to Dream Destinations
May 18, 2011
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Road trips have long been a part of American culture, but drivers often skip the most important aspect of preparation: proper car maintenance. This travel season Sears Auto Center is launching the second annual Exploring My America contest to help groups of friends and families experience dream journeys to favorite destinations across the country, while teaching them the importance of caring for their vehicles before hitting the road.
Road warriors interested in embarking on one of the eight Exploring My America fantasy road trips must submit creative audition videos at exploringmyamerica.com. Sears will select finalists for each trip and then America will vote to determine two teams to participate in each road trip. The road trippers will be asked to chronicle their journeys and share their travel experiences with America via the contest website and Sears Auto Center's Facebook (facebook.com/searsauto), Twitter (twitter.com/searsauto) and YouTube (youtube.com/user/searsexploremyameric) pages.
To kick off this year's program, Sears Auto Center is sending two horsepower-craving, left-turn-loving teams to the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola At DAYTONA® from June 26-July 2, 2011. Teams looking to take part in the motorsports trip have until May 29 to submit their audition videos at exploringmyamerica.com, where competition will be fierce in order to claim the first trip.
"For the second straight year, Sears Auto Center is searching for the most passionate travelers in the country to participate in the Exploring My America program," said Joe Finney, president of Sears Automotive. "While we focused on great American roadways last year, the 2011 program will spotlight favorite destinations. And we're inviting the winning teams to visit their local Sears Auto Centers before hitting the road so our car care pros can get their vehicles ready for the trips of a lifetime."
The stock car racing experience is only one of eight exciting road trips being awarded by Sears Auto Center. Also on the schedule are journeys to a series of baseball games, a music festival, a spring break destination and college and pro football games. Thrill-seekers looking to participate in one of the trips can visit exploringmyamerica.com for more details as the contest progresses.
How to Win
Ready to hit the road? Then sign up now at exploringmyamerica.com and submit an audition video. Sears Auto Center is looking for teams of travelers with creativity and personality to showcase their talents. Application open to legal residents of the 50 United States, 18 years or older. Application period for the first road trip ends May 29, 2011. Official contest rules are available at http://exploringmyamerica.com/Official-Rules.aspx.
We've Got it Covered
Teams chosen for Exploring My America will be well stocked as they head on down the road. Each team will receive $1,500 in travel funds for food, gas, lodging and other expenses. Prior to departure, each team will receive a 21-point inspection from the Sears Blue Automotive Crew and much-needed products like tires and services from DieHard and other Sears Auto Center partners. They will also receive $500 in Sears Auto Center store credit for any last-minute tune-ups.
And since this trip is all about capturing the experience, each team will receive a high-definition video camcorder and Wi-Fi card for recording and uploading every leg of the journey. Each team's mission is to interact with people along their route, capture interesting stories of unique personalities and places, and file their stories daily to exploringmyamerica.com for all to enjoy. Each team's car will also be outfitted with temporary Sears Auto Center and sponsor signage to identify the traveling crew.
Teams must consist of minimum of two members and a maximum of four. Team members under the age of 18 can join as long as their parent or guardian is serving as team captain.
As the teams record their travels, they'll also be competing for a grand prize. Fellow travel fans can vote for the best videos at exploringmyamerica.com beginning June 26 to help determine the grand prize winner from the first trip. Daily voters will also be entered into a random drawing to receive other fun prizes.
Sears Auto Center: Getting America Ready for Travel Season
No matter where your summer travels take you, Sears Auto Center has everything you need to get your car in top shape throughout the season. Sears Auto Center carries all the essentials, including tires, brakes and America's most trusted automotive battery brand, DieHard. Sears Auto Center also has the products to take your car to the next level, including custom wheels, performance suspensions and navigation systems. For more information, visit searsauto.com.