Safeway milks social media with dairy contest

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway’s Lucerne brand cow is the face of the company’s eighth annual Lucerne: The Art of Dairy art contest. Safeway chose nine student finalists whose life-size fiberglass cows stand to win one of them a $30,000 grand prize.

According to Safeway, the contest joins nutrition with artistic talent and ingenuity, but it is also a way for the company to engage shoppers via the contest's website, where the public is invited to vote for their favorite cows. Voting will continue through Friday, May 17. 

Safeway is giving potential voters some additional incentive to vote. Every 100,000th voter will receive a $100 Safeway gift card, up to the one millionth voter. Furthermore, Safeway is inviting the public to tweet a picture of their favorite Lucerne product from now through May 17 with hashtag #artofdairy, along with the reason they love that product, for a chance to win one of 10 Safeway gift cards valued at $100 each.

Since the inception of the Art of Dairy contest in 2005, Lucerne has contributed more than $373,000 to schools, teachers and students. This year, more than 6,400 entries were received from schools across the country.

In May, Safeway's YouTube page will chronicle the artistic process of each of the finalists. The finalist cows will be on display in stores, and winners will be announced in early June.

The contest winners will share approximately $46,000 in prizes with their art teachers and their schools' art programs. The grand prize winner will receive $20,000 for his or her school's art department, plus $5,000 each for the winner and teacher. The first prize winner receives $5,000 for his or her school's art department, plus $2,500 each for the student and teacher. In addition, one honorable achievement winner and teacher will each receive $1,000. The remaining six finalists will receive $500 gift cards. Plus, the high school that sent in the most entries per capita won $1,000 as part of the Teacher's Incentive Contest. This year's winner, Kearny High School of San Diego, Calif., took the prize with an impressive entry submission rate of almost 8%.

The Art of Dairy 2013 finalists are Gissella M., Weber Institute, Stockton, Calif.; Hagen A., Northwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nev.; Rachel R., Sehome High School, Bellingham, Wash.; Sierra N., Sandy High School, Sandy, Ore.; Kayla A., Northwest Christian School, Phoenix, Ariz.; Yul J., La Veta High School, La Veta, Colo.; Melissa P., Tinley Park High School, Tinley Park, Ill.; Riley K., Loudoun Valley High School, Purcellville, Va.; and Nhung (Julie) L., South Grand Prairie High School, Gr