Despite the fact that we’re not even past Halloween or Bonfire Night the Christmas competition season has already begun. One that looks great on paper is the Airwick Most Festive Family competition. They want to see how you’re the most festive family in The UK and the winner will be having a very Merry Christmas with a £6000 prize package. To take part you need to head on over to Facebook or their Christmas microsite and demonstrate to Air Wick just how much you enjoy Christmas and show them the unique things you do for Christmas in a creative way. This can be with photos or videos.
It’s A Voting Competition
Well, the downside to the competition is that it’s another voting competition. All users are able to vote for their favourite entries – the four entries with the most votes will go into to the final round. The ultimate winner will be selected by Air Wick and their judging panel. That doesn’t sound too bad – but look into the terms a bit more and you’ll find that users can only do 10 votes per day. Only 10! This surely should be reduced to just one vote per day? The voting element is already the subject of a Facebook discussion on Air Wick’s wall. They claim they “have taken measures to prevent fake profiles being created, and to stop fraudulent automated entries”. They’ve not responded to questions about whether they feel it’s OK for entrants to buy votes or use vote exchange sites.
Wake Up And Smell The Coffee!
It may well be that Airwick decide to take the Douwe Egbert approach and say absolutely nothing about the voting element of the competition. Douwe Egbert intended to award some great prizes for the “most embarassing mug” – as is they awarded prizes to the people who could simply get the most clicks.
The main difference between Air Wick and Douwe Egbert is that the former does require a bit more effort from the entrant. The coffee brand just required a photo of a coffee mug whilst Air Wick needs a demonstration of being festive. That does add an element of complexity to the competition (and gives Air Wick a hook for disqualifying entries which may attain votes but not satisfy the entry criteria), but it doesn’t make the voting part any better.
Any competition with a voting element – whether it’s a preliminary to a judged round or not – will attract controversy. It will either have people getting votes through distinct advantage (payment, share sites, large social following) or have people questioning how other entrants are picking up votes. Neither scenario is good for the brand and/or promoter and the sooner the vogue for voting promotions goes the better. Unfortunately voting competitions will not go away as brands love the viral aspect that they offer via social media. So, if voting is “needed” (and quite often we don’t think it is) then the reward for gaining most votes should be significantly less than the prize on offer for the overall winner (which should be judged).
Show Us The Voters!
We also think that the voting needs to be more transparent. Some competitions have recently hidden the vote count, but we’d suggest that vote count should be clear as are the profile links of those who voted. Stats like vote increases per day could also be included. The downside to voting numbers is that people will see that some entrants will have large numbers of votes, think “I can’t beat that” and not take part. The promoter could have lost out on having the “best entry” simply because the person has been put off by voting. Even more so when vote collecting is allowed from day one of the promotion as is the case with Airwick. It’s far better to get the entries in by a deadline, then start the vote process (if it’s required).
A Smell Related Pun
We’d also like promoters to be more honest too. If a competition is “most votes” or “most likes” then don’t dress it up as anything beyond that. Don’t waste entrants time by asking for photos, slogans or videos for “best this” or “most that” titles – just give them a button or image to share with friends and ask for the “most clicks”. It’ll save everyone a lot of time and energy! Vote competitions are not level playing field promotions. They are purely popularity contests and not the creativity competition that a promoter should ultimately prefer to be associated with. Air Wick will be hoping that their hunt for Britain’s Most Festive Family runs smoothly and that they have a worthy winner once it’s all done and dusted. Sadly the nauseating stench that surrounds the fairness and issues of online voting competitions won’t go away.