In nearly 25 years we’ve seen a wide variety of items being offered as prizes. Cash, cars and holidays are the obvious headliners but there have been plenty of stranger items like a portrait on a nut drawn by Harry Hill, lucky Paddy Power Pants and a ‘Royal Bolton’ plate featuring Paddy McGuinness. You can discover more weird prizes in this Superlucky 50 Weirdest Prizes List. Although cash and vouchers will rarely fall in the strange category we have seen numerous promotions that offer to pay rent for a month/year (especially as students return to Uni), insurance bills paid for, a year of shopping etc. Therefore when This Morning ran their Spin To Win daily competition on TV and offered an entrant the chance to win cash or 4 months of energy bills many compers may not have batted an eyelid. After all a prize is a prize!
Dystopian Spin To Win
However judging by the media coverage of the competition not all viewers of This Morning are compers. According to The Independent “This Morning viewers have been left in shock after learning that the show will offer them the chance to win energy bill payments on its Spin to Win game”. TV Critic, Scott Bryan, said the show how “turned completely dystopian and Black Mirror by offering to pay energy bills as a competition prize” and that “Honestly I’ve never seen anything so tone deaf in all my life”. Scott continues his analysis of the choice of prize in an article in The New Statesman. He concludes, quite rightly, that the “cost-of-living crisis is not a game, an opportunity for light entertainment, or a minor frustration that can be fixed with lucky cash prizes or small lifestyle changes”. In the article he also cites a prize promotion from The Daily Mail which offered entrants the chance to gas and electricity for a year (although we don’t remember there being such a big fallout after that). The same article flags up foil related money saving comments from Edwina Currie but overlooks the ‘buy a kettle’ absurdity spouted by our new former PM.
Over Reaction Or Fair Comment
Had the This Morning Spin To Win prize wheel simply contained all cash amounts then they’d quite likely be no column inches dedicated to it. Had the winner collected, say £2000, and said that they’d be using the money to pay off bills/debts then there might have been some murmurings. We’re pretty sure there’s an archive of cash competition winners from TV who have said that their prize would be life changing because they can pay off bills, mortgages etc. Nothing is written about those! The uproar is simply because This Morning are utilising the energy crisis, the fear that many have about being able to pay their bills, the worry of impending – or in many cases current – financial hardship, and using that as a hook to get people to enter. Whether that’s appropriate, crass, dystopian or tone-deaf to the Nation’s current predicament is probably down to personal opinion. But cash has been offered as a prize thousands of times before and no one has stood up and said this is wrong. You have to question why!
Win Your Household Bills
Despite the media fallout from the 5th September show, Holly and Phil did return with the Spin To Win segment but with ‘Energy Bills’ changed to ‘Household Bills’ up to the New Year, up to £3000. Although Schofield jokingly said “how much of that can they complain about online”, some viewers were even less impressed with this change saying that somehow it was worse. Mind if they’d changed ‘Household Bills’ to £3000 cash would those same people have complained? Yes we see the point about using the current crisis in an entertainment segment but none of this is new. Competitions to win prizes to pay bills are not new! A good example of that is back in June 2020 ITV ran a competition to win £40,000, £10,000 towards bills and £24,000 towards rent/mortage. Did Scott Bryan write about that? No! Were people tweeting their disgust back then? No! Perhaps we’re now only seeing this outcry because the energy crisis actually threatens many many more people’s finances and that they’re now sitting up and taking note of fuel poverty, food poverty etc whereas in the past it’s not been their problem. In other words “this crisis now effects me so only now am I going to take offence”.
Chastising A TV Show, Ignore A Government
Whilst the various keyboard warriors jump on This Morning’s back there’s a few things that were overlooked. Firstly that the prize won by the guy on 5th September was actually going to help him. Regardless of your view of the choice of headline prize at least one guy is being helped. It’s not going to change the world but it may change his world. Of course we shouldn’t be in a situation where the cost of your energy bills is so high that a prize of a few thousand pounds covers four months of heating. For that your vitriol should be directed at the likes of The Government and Energy Companies not This Morning. And that is what is currently so wrong with this country. We’re all happy to spend hours of time and many column inches chastising a TV show that had it simply offered a cash prize instead of energy bills no one would have mentioned it. However those people who are responsible for dragging the country into a state where food banks and potentially heat banks will be the norm, families will decide between eat and heat, etc simply get on with their lives without as much scrutiny. That is wrong!