Magnum – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Side of Comping

June 23rd, 2009

One of the most talked about competitions of 2009 is the Magnum Pleasure Card. Over the last few months they have been offering people the chance to win a share of £1million. To enter you needed a code from a Magnum ice cream stick which, when entered online or via text, could make you a winner. On paper it all sounds so simple, but in reality Magnum’s competitions highlights The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of comping.

The Good
Comping used to be a fairly isolated hobby but with the development of the internet and communities such as Loquax it’s now a more social pastime for many. Compers from around The UK can compare notes, share wins and just chat about competitions and prizes.

By being able to discuss the Magnum competition, compers have been able to spot technical issues with the promotion and help Magnum (and fellow compers) in getting problems fixed.

The Bad

These kind of code related instant win competitions never seem to run smoothly (Fanta, Nutrigrain) – or at least from a Loquax point of view appear to be nothing but a PITA as they generate heated forum discussions! Brands enter into these big promotions without really ever thinking of the potential issues and problems that may arise.

No big promotion ever runs without hitch, but this one seems to have suffered glitch after glitch leaving many compers annoyed and frustrated.

The Ugly

These kind of competitions always attract unsavoury allegations, especially when some people win more than others, and there are finger pointing forum posts around the net which question whether some entrants have not entered into the “spirit of the competition” or treated it as a “private piggy bank”.

Only Unilever can decide these issues, but finger pointing, without fact, at fellow compers is just plain ugly and puts everyone in a bad light. Perhaps if you’re concerned by a competition it’s better to complain privately to the promoters first and then report back when you have answers?

We don’t have the answers, but we have watched the competition from the sidelines.

Chips or Ice Cream?

Let’s say you enter a casino with £10 of gaming chips, spend them and lose the lot. However, the guy next to you has £100 of chips, spends them and wins £150! Do you complain that he’s not entered into the spirit of things? Or that it’s not a level playing field.

Of course not.

Now replace the chips with Magnums!

You see, in our view, this wasn’t really a “competition” but more of a gambling promotion! Some people realised they could “beat the bank” by buying more ice cream then they usually would and by investing a few pounds they managed to, when the promotion worked, play the system.

And let’s face it we all like to play the system or get consumer revenge?

Of course, Loquax does not condone outright cheating, and if any dubious issues have occurred, we’d hope Magnum take the appropriate action.

But for example, some compers want answers on a plate or links to entry pages to save them time – isn’t that playing the system and not “in the spirit of the competition”?

Money savers want coupon codes, loopholes or perhaps to take advantage of cheap deals like the 29p Amazon glitch. That’s also playing the system and taking an unfair advantage, isn’t it?

So why is it a surprise (or even wrong) when someone realises that by buying loads of ice cream they can do well from a promotion?

Running a good promotion always lies in the hands of the promoters. They need to run their competitions a lot lot better, even more so now “The Good” of comping communities are in place. However, big brands may well tighten up the rules and make sure things work properly, but we don’t think that’ll ever stop people looking for loopholes or pointing fingers at fellow compers.

The alternative is that big brands could see that the benefits of these kind of competitions don’t outweigh the problems they bring. They may well decide to stop running competitions altogether – meaning that we all end up losing in the end.

Overall, some people will have done very well from Magnum, others ok whilst loads more have been disappointed with a few or no wins at all. However, comping rarely wins when people are pointing fingers and it leaves a bitter taste for all involved.

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