Crumbs! Does McVities Bonkers Rule Changes Take The Biscuit?

Published on 8th September 2009

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?

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