Back in November 2010 we added a competition to Loquax for the Velvet Money Tree Promotion. Cash prizes totalling £5million were on offer and all you had to do to enter is enter the promotional code found underneath the barcode on packs of Triple Velvet. If you won a prize – ranging from £1 to £100,000 – you had to send in a letter with a till receipt to claim your prize. The promotion is due to end in June 2011.
However, judging by discussions on Facebook this competition has driven quite a few compers potty. Winners aren’t flushed with success and are giving Velvet a kick up the backside using the power of social media.
So what’s going on?
From what we can gather the problem has arisen due to the a “small number of fraudulent plays”. These were obviously picked up by the promoters and acted upon to ensure fair play. Velvet state on their discussion board that they’d hoped players would enjoy the promotion in good faith, but as this isn’t the case (and what a surprise it isn’t) they’ve had to reject a few claims. The number of claims seems to be in dispute judging by the number of people complaining that their, believed to be, legitimate claims have been rejected.
Another issue seems to be that there don’t seem to be any more promotional packs for people to buy now. That’s not unusual. If you look at a lot of promo code required to enter competitions then they tend to have long closing dates. They don’t always equate to the product’s supermarket promotions. The long date (we think) is a fail safe – by June 2011 Velvet would be fairly confident that all promo packs had been sold.
If all packs have been sold that means all prizes should be won? Well, not quite!
Velvet state that all winners will be announced in August 2011 and that so far there have been over 23,000 winners. There are suggestions that Velvet are being tight and refusing to pay out the value of the prizes. However, we think that they are well covered.
If we look at the terms and conditions – “The prizes that could be won consist of 15 x £100,000, 50 x £10,000, 500 x £1,000, 10,000 x £100, 50,000 x £10, 100,000 x £5 and 500,000 x £1″. In other words, only if all codes are used (and many people won’t use them) will they award the full prize fund.
In other words they probably won’t be giving out all those prizes. It’s just done to fluff out the promo! Velvet use a company called VCG Promorisk. They “help multinational brands manage the risks associated with promotional campaigns of all types… for one all-inclusive Fixed Fee”.
Think of it as an insurance policy. It’s not a uncommon practice either – many brands use it to over inflate the value of their promotion to encourage people to buy their products. As compers we need to be more aware of the marketing hype!
The Facebook discussions also suggest that there have been terms and condition changes, some people being paid out for wins that have broken the ts&cs when others haven’t and allegations of poor customer service from Velvet. All in all it’s a bit of mess!
To be fair to Velvet, as it’s important that we look at things from both sides, they are seemingly being pro-active and responsive to the Facebook discussions. They say they’re liasing with The Institute of Promotional Marketing, which is a good thing given that the promotion has the IPM Seal (mind, considering this has been around since May 2009 we do question it’s worth to entrants).
Velvet are also offering concerned entrants a free phone contact number and an email contact. They seem fairly confident of their position and state that their “terms and conditions have been the same throughout the competition” and, it would seem, simply applying them.
So who’s to blame?
Although there’s some sympathy towards the promoter and it’s good to see they’re making efforts to liase with entrants, the responsibility falls squarely on their doorstep. It’s their promotion and in this day and age, before setting out on a huge competition promo that involves codes, the internet and a big prize pot, they surely went through all possible issues?
Another competition management promo company, Promoveritas, recently claimed on this blog that they “use compers simply because they know the industry and know the areas of weakness in a promotion” to help with their competition mechanics. We’d presume that VCG Promorisk adopt the same policy.
That’s good – but yet these promotions still fall down. Perhaps someone isn’t doing their job properly or it’s time to get some new advisers? People try and bend the rules – cheat if you like – and promoters plus the companies they pay to look after the promotions should realise this.
People cheat to win a DVD by entering multiple email accounts or paying for a company to enter on their behalf – so of course they’ll cheat a code required competition with a £100,00 prize!! We know this, most compers know this, The IPM surely know this… and yet promoters and these code required competitions always seem to end up – quite nicely considering the brand in question – going down the toilet.
Let us know if you’ve had problems with this promotion, or perhaps it’s been good for you, by commenting below!