“Ugliest Frame in the World” Contest: ...

“Ugliest Frame in the World” Contest: A Beautiful Promotion for The Framing Place & Gallery

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You know those ugly frames you see in some frame shops? The ones that are covered in dust because they’re so hopelessly unappealing they just never sell? Well, The Framing Place & Gallery has given these little monstrosities their moment in the sun—while also creating a highly successful social media promotion for their business.

“You really can’t underestimate the importance of online brands,” says Matt Coles, owner, “especially when you consider the ever-expanding social media networks. Contests like ‘The Ugliest Frame Contest’ are simple, cost-effective ways to help establish your online brand.”

Social Media-Savvy Marketing

Here’s how the contest worked. Using Social Apps HQ (, Matt created a promotion that would run seamlessly on Facebook. People were invited to post pictures of their ugliest frames, or to make their own ugly frames and post the pictures via the contest. Then, users would encourage their friends to vote on the worst frame by “liking” the image and sharing with their Facebook friends. As you can imagine, this created a lot of viral activity. When the voting deadline was over, the picture with the most likes was crowned the winner, and the person who submitted it was awarded a $300.00 framing makeover. Fun stuff, great branding and a buzzworthy promotion.

ugly frame banner

“The competition was a success in more ways than one—not only did participants have fun viewing and voting on ugly frames, but the more likes a picture got, the more exposure it would get on Facebook through users’ news feeds,” says Matt. “As a result, The Framing Place and Gallery was promoted to new audiences on social media, who were directed to The Framing Place website.”

As a side note, Matt also took care to accommodate those contestants who aren’t on Facebook but still wanted to participate. He simply asked them to email him their photos and descriptions, and he uploaded the images for them. That should tell you a lot about the kind of customer service you’ll get at The Framing Place.

The Little Frame Shop That Could


Nestled in the small, Canadian town of Huntsville, Ontario, The Framing Place & Gallery has been doing business for 30 years. It all began in Orla Irwin’s basement, when she set up shop and began to share her passion for framing and decor with her neighbors. Her innovative approach to design began to attract more and more clients, and before she knew it, she had opened a framing shop and gallery space in downtown Huntsville.

The secret to The Framing Place’s success? Innovation, creativity, and client care: “When you frame something,” says Orla, now retired, “you can’t treat it like a simple object, because it’s not just an object to the client. It means something to them, a memory, a hope, a desire. Whatever the connection is, you have to be aware of it, and let it influence the decisions you make.”

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Matt Coles, owner of The Framing Place & Gallery.

Matt began working at The Framing Place eleven years ago. A landscape painter, Matt already had both knowledge and an intuitive feel for composition and design, and he easily applied his skills to the world of framing. Orla quickly recognized his talent for the business.

“He really had a natural instinct for framing. He was creative, great with people, but most importantly, he had vision – he knew how to compete in the modern world and brought our business to new levels.”

It was precisely this vision that inspired Matt to purchase The Framing Place from Orla and her husband, Doug, in 2012, after the couple had run the business successfully for decades. Now, he plans on bringing the business to new audiences and new heights.

“There are a number of new challenges in the modern business landscape with social media, online businesses, networking, etc., but I really see these as new opportunities to develop the business and bring its services to new audiences,” he says. “And I’ve always liked the idea of contests; not only because they’re a cost effective marketing tool, but because they’re a lot of fun.”

Over the last decade, in addition to managing The Framing Place, Matt has found time to jury numerous art shows and has worked as the Art Director at the Algonquin Art Centre, a world-class gallery in Algonquin Provincial Park. We’re looking forward to seeing more great things from him in the future.

Visit The Frame Place & Gallery online at and be sure to like them on Facebook too.


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