United Technologies’ Allison Langille on developing the quiz that won PR News’ Social Media Facebook Contest award

In February 2017, Allison Langille — Social Media Manager at United Technologies Corporation (UTC) — and the UTC team worked to create an interactive Facebook campaign to celebrate Engineers Week.

Engineers Week honors engineers making a difference in the world and promotes public dialogue about the growing need for young engineers. “We really rally behind this week every year as a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math — or STEM,” says Allison. “We also want to ensure that we help inspire students to pursue careers in engineering.”

The focal point of their interactive campaign was a quiz called “Are You Smarter Than an Engineer?” — inspired by Jeff Foxworthy's game show, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?


Allison carefully crafted the quiz so that it would be challenging, yet accessible.

She and the UTC team wanted to make the quiz inviting to all, so they had to be selective about the subjects they tackled. Along with their own research, they also used an online tool called Qzzr.

“We partnered with an agency who helped us build the quiz,” says Allison. “They found imagery and suggested several questions, but we ended up sourcing most of the questions on our own.”

Allison explains, “The content from the quiz rolled up into our broader channel content about our engineers.”

UTC tackled engineering myths and misconceptions throughout Engineers Week on social media.

For example, one common myth is that engineers are boring or only think about numbers. The team worked to debunk this myth by posting a video of one of United Technologies' engineers saying, “If you don't think I'm fun, then you should ask my salsa partner,” and then he proceeded to salsa dance on camera.

This was the kind of fun, light-hearted content that Allison wanted to extend into the quiz. She decided to use questions like: “Lightning never strikes the same place twice. True or False?” and “What percentage of the engineering field is made up of women?”

The goal of the quiz and its sister social campaigns was to engage young people thinking about pursuing the STEM fields and humanizing engineers.

And it worked.

“This quiz was our most effective clicks campaign we've ever run.”

“The quiz was viewed over 26,000 times. It was taken about 12,000 times, and individuals shared their results at least 130 times,” reports Allison. Even more impressive than those statistics is the fact that United Technologies gained 900 followers and garnered 25,000 page views during the quiz campaign.

“Gaining 900 new followers was well above our average growth numbers, which was a great KPI for us that week,” shares Allison.

“We were trying to find ways to incorporate United Technologies into the content without it being overt and in your face.”

Allison says incorporating the brand into the content of the quiz was one of the most challenging portions of the campaign. They did it by working the brand discreetly into the results.

“One way we incorporated the brand was the imagery, and another way was through the results,” says Allison. “For example, if you scored 100%, your results said ‘Congratulations, smarty pants, have you ever thought about building jet engines?' or ‘Wow, you're impressive. You might be the next Elijah Otis.' We own Otis Elevator, and Elijah Otis invented the elevator safety brake. So those are examples of how we tried to work in our brand in a fun, lighthearted way.”

Quiz Results

“I think having fun on social media is always important,” says Allison.

“We're always striving towards that in our content. I think that was a big takeaway for us in all of this — that we can be fun on social media too, even though we're not a BtoC brand.”

She recommends stepping out of your comfort zone to stand out — because if done well, the benefits can be incredible.

Allison has been a Board Member of since 2016. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.