Crumbs! Does McVities Bonkers Rule Changes Take The Biscuit?

Posted on: September 8th, 2009 by Jason 8 Comments

Back in July we told you to go Bonkers About Biscuits as McVitie’s were going to be giving away £5000 a day in an instant win competition. However, as always happens with these kind of big brand competitions (Magnum), something happens which causes issues in the comping world. Ironically, in the week that The ISP announced it’s warning about cheating, McVitie’s made some rule changes to their promotion.

The rule changes are quite interesting as McVitie’s don’t shy away from things:

It appears that a small group of entrants are not adhering 100% to the T&C’s and therefore we have had to adjust these T&C’s slightly to protect all genuine consumers. Therefore from 3rd September 2009 at 10:30am (BST), the following clause will take effect.

Only one minor and one major prize per person can be won throughout the promotional period.
Only one major and one minor prize can be won per household per day.

Whilst cheating needs to be stamped out, we’re not sure how McVitie’s could have expected 100% compliance to their terms. If you have an instant win promotion online that involves non-unique codes, it’s pretty much inevitable that people through public and possibly even private forums will figure out that there’s a way to work together on the promotion.

Who the small group is is anyone’s guess, but at least it’s good news that there’s someone watching what’s happening with entries. Whether McVitie’s have followed the right protocol to introduce the rule change, e.g. given adequate notice or coverage, remains to be seen, but one thing that they do need to accept is that they themselves should take responsibility for the problems.

The promotion mechanic was as solid as a dunked Hob Nob in a cup of tea.

Non unique codes lend themselves to being shared around and are also open to abuse by automated entry scripts. Unique codes, perhaps containing locality references or store references, would have been much more appropriate.

However, even unique codes have their problems, especially if patterns can be guessed and packets don’t need to be sent in to claim prizes. To combat this it may well be that winning entries will need to be sent in by post perhaps even alongside a valid proof of purchase receipt?

That in itself causes issues about potential lost deliveries etc, but it may well be the only step forward.

As we said about Magnum, “running a good promotion always lies in the hands of the promoters. They need to run their competitions a lot lot better” and so it’s the same with McVitie’s. Big brands need to realise that social networking, whether it’s via forums, twitter or Facebook, means people talk, share and discuss.

If a big brand creates a poor promotion that can be exploited, it will be exploited, which is not good for them or for their consumers who are playing by the rules! Therefore, big brands do need to take into account all possibilities when it comes to user interaction with their competitions and ensure that as many potential loopholes are closed before it even goes live.

Perhaps it’s time that they started talking to the competition community for some real advice?

Join The Conversation

  • moomimmel

    and what about the genuine consumers who purchased large amounts of biscuits under the impression that they would be able to win multiple prizes not just 2? talk about feel shafted!

  • janewendy

    I’m fed up! I followed the rules went bonkers and bought loads of biscuits in the hope of winning lots of cash. However as I’ve already won I’ve now found out that I can’t enter any more as they’ve changed the rules half way through. This isn’t playing fair, I feel like taking all my biscuits back to the shop.
    To make it even worse there is now an advert on the tv and radio telling you, you can win cash every day.

  • Luvaduck

    The recent change to the rules is making more people share their codes and enter on behalf of family and friends now that they cannot win any more themselves, and from what I’ve read, those people are still doing well and winning plently. So it hasnt helped the average consumer at all – it’s probably made things worse.
    Mcvitie seem to want to manipulate who wins, favouring the occasional biscuit buyer and do not like us buying in bullk in order to give us a better chance of winning.
    Ive got over 60 packs of biscuits, if I could find the receipts I would take them back for a refund.

  • felixthecat

    Most people will read terms and conditions at the beginning of a promotion, very few will go back for a re read,why would they? the non comping community will be completely unaware of the new changes , if this is the case, they may well still be purchasing and entering still trying to win their 2 a day. Mcvities have neither notified all entrants to date via email of the new T&C’s nor displayed anything prominent for all entering as they enter, their adverts still encourage buyers to buy more and enter, indeed winners are told in their email to go buy some more to enter etc.
    If they choose a weak entry system then they must take the blame for what has happened, there have been too many similar promotions all with problems for mcvities to say they couldnt forsee what may happen. they too are now cheating their customers. lets home the ISP put them straight!!

    good write up jason!

  • suroben

    I resisted until Sunday and now have a hill of biscuits in my cupboard. I haven’t won at all but certainly wouldn’t have bought the extra packs if I’d known the rules were changing. McVities certainly won’t be getting my custom in future and as I doubt I’m the only one feeling robbed I think they could well find they’ve shot themselves in the foot with this one. I had already been looking at alternative own brand biscuits and I’m sure I can find something tasty and cheaper.

  • Janetf

    I’ve got a lot of packets of jaffa cakes as they were on special offer. My beef is not so much the change in rules but the fact that they do not all have unique codes on. Out of 10 packets, I have 3 with the exact same code on. For them I should get 15 entries but can only get 5. Surely this should not be allowed.

  • muffy0

    I am a genuine consumer, I bought many packets of biscuits and have won the big one and quite a few £50’s. I still have a pile of biscuits here that I am unable to enter now because of the rule change, so how does it help me… the genuine cosumer?? McVities have the prizes allocated, I don’t see why they care who wins. This competition is farcical and a complete mess. I am still waiting on the cheque for my big win and it has been 3 weeks now.
    Sort it out McVities!

  • chunky44

    I too bought loads of biscuits ( some with even the same code, before I knew to check), it’s not done my waistline any good, and haven’t won anything! I’d actually be happy if I won two prizes in fact I’d think it was a miracle!