Velvet Money Tree Competition Drives Compers Potty!

Posted on: April 13th, 2011 by Jason 13 Comments

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.

Velvet Tissue

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!

Velvet Tissue

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!

Join The Conversation

  • moo_kimmy_coo

    Thank you for taking this up, I have lost out on this promotion of smaller wins and of my recent £100 win as another member of my family played the game in the same 24 hours as I had. I have searched out the promotional packets entered on line sent of my winnng package and receipt, registered when requested and even though I followed all there requirements I missed out. There was a stop on the game as when I tried to play it told me I had already played that day, its a shame they didnt think to do the same for the house address as well as the email address then perhaps I would not have unknowingly broke there t&cs. This promotion has left a very bitter taste. I may only be one customer, but I am one customer who will now refuse to buy velvet toilet tissues any more.

  • splatky

    I’m one of the people who has been accused of “cheating” & am pretty upset about it. Velvet wrote to me but gave me no address to write back to, just a phone number – to be honest I didn’t much want to talk to them after the letter I got. They said I’d cheated – I’m sure that I hadn’t. They refused every prize – a few £1’s & 2x £5… Even though I’m sure that there could only have been one instance when someone else in the house played the game on a day when the game crashed for me. Though I realise that instance is probably what they are talking about I hadn’t been cheating & thought that they were pretty heavy handed. The issue isn’t really about the prize for me, it was only a few pounds. I was just enjoying playing the game. I’m just a bit upset about the way it has been dealt with. I had no idea that others had the same issue as me – thanks for the blog post.

  • krispii

    There is a lot of discussion on the Velvet facebook page – but Velvet are being very coy about the whole thing. If you read the MSE comps board, you will also find some people who have been refused payment of wins.
    The whole thing has been very badly handled. IF they intended only one play per pack, the codes should have been unique. If they wanted people to send in the promo packaging they should have said so. Even worse, IMHO, is the fact that they have said on the FB site to people that if they couldn’t find promo packs then a plain pack would do, so long as you have a velvet receipt!
    Smells badly of poor planning – and not asking a comper how to run a half decent promotion.

  • EllieD

    I would have thought that `playing the game` would have referred to the final page where you click on the trunk of the tree and wait for either money or acorns to fall into the wheelbarrow which determines a win or lose, not the two pages where you only register your name, address, email and code then the captcha. When the message `you have already played today` appears does it let you continue and `shake the tree` therefore contravening their T & C`s of one entry per 24 hours? If not then a possible winning entry from the same 24 hours should be valid as you haven`t, actually `played` the game more than once.

  • inishowen

    I entered the velvet comp and won £10. However I had not thought to keep my receipt and couldn’t claim it. I was quite annoyed with myself!

  • denlake

    I am totally fed up with this competition, I do it once a day and its pot luck whether it says already played today when I try. Nobody else uses my email address or does comps in our house so I know I haven’t played. I keep buying their loo rolls from Tesco and it was always the same bar code so I reckon there must be people using the same code as me and once it’s been used that day it doesn’t let anyone enter it again. I did win £5 and the claim was rejected as I didn’t send the barcode, I’ve sent it now but they didn’t give me an address to send it to so it feels to me like they don’t want people to claim – hence the £1 wins where it costs nearly as much to claim your win so most people won’t bother. The whole thing has left a sour taste in my mouth I think its all a mess and I will NEVER buy Triple Velvet again ! Sorry for the rant !

  • hks

    Same here, no cheating as I am the only one in the house who enters but I had my claim rejected. Oh well there loss as I won’t buy Triple Velvet again. It back to Morrisons cheap toilet paper for me!

  • AliBe

    I’ve had 2 wins from this. The first one – £1 – was paid out without any trouble. When I claimed the 2nd one – £5 – about 3 weeks after I claimed I got a letter to say my claim had been rejected as, although I had included a till receipt and the barcode from the pack, I hadn’t included the full pack so they couldn’t see it was the promotional pack!

    The letter had a phone number, so I called them. I told them I didn’t send the full pack as it was a 9 roll and wouldn’t fit in a normal envelope. I wasn’t aware there were any issues with this promotion, so when she told me they would pay out in this case as ‘they were giving people the benefit of the doubt’ I was a bit offended. I’d sent a receipt and a barcode, I’d obviously bought the product!

  • catgil

    I’ve had a letter from Velvet saying that they will not be paying out my claim for £100 because I had played 24 times that day. I know thats not true because I’m the only one who used my pc plus I haven’t got 24 email addresses:((( I phoned the number given and they said they were correct and that I was a cheat. I asked about my other 2 claims for £10 and they replied “what claims” they didn’t know anything about them:(((( I’ve been comping for a long time and have never been treated this way by a promoter. I’ll never buy Velvet again…

  • Crystal

    I’ve just had an argument on someone from Velvetmoneytree as I also had a letter saying that they weren’t paying out because I’d entered more than once per household, even though I hadn’t. They seem to have been changing the rules as they’ve gone along to avoid paying out the prizes. The same has happened to other people I know who have entered this promotion, either that or they’ve suddenly got to send the packaging in now. We had a couple of small wins at the start of the promotion and they paid out with just the till recept, which is all they ask for on the claim form. Obviously because we never had to send the packing first time round we’ve thrown them all away now so, again they’ve changed the rules to avoid paying out prizes. I’m afraid they’ve lost a lot of customers through their sudden unwillingness to pay out the prizes that people have genuinely won, I wont be buying Velvet again. I hope the ASA are looking in to this.

  • splatky

    Well I’m pretty amazed. The postman has just been & delivered my winning cheques from Velvet! I don’t know if my letter made a difference or if they have decided to pay up to try & limit the damage of all the bad publicity. Either way I’m happy that they honoured the prizes, they weren’t for much. I hope that others receive their money too. I have to say that this is one of the worst run comps in recent memory & certainly the only one that has upset me so much.

  • steelev

    I have only played this once and won £1. I had my claim rejected because I didn’t include the original receipt even though I had first e-mailed them checking I could claim without the receipt as I had the winning packaging (the whole of it) and being told that I could. What a lot of fuss just for £1. Not bothering with this one any more.

  • EasyNowBee

    Just like many others on this site I entered this comp and it told me I had already played today. This was only the second time I played, the first four days earlier and I’m the only person to use my laptop so I’m not sure how that can happen. After that I didn’t bother again.