Britain’s Most Festive Family Or Most Clicks For Christmas?

Posted on: October 17th, 2011 by Jason 8 Comments

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.

Sounds Good?

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).

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!

Conclude With A Smell Related Pun!

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.


Join The Conversation

  • tiamegz

    Great post! Totally agree that voting comps are not the way to go. It’s wide open to cheating and causes folk to harass you all the time for votes 🙁

  • kevinwj

    Nice prize but voting (AKA spam your mates), so one to avoid as far as I’m concerned. 🙁

  • Polarbear

    Absolutely! hate voting/popularity contests so no entry from me but its not my kind of contest anyway. That point aside i can just imagine it falling into farce, this is for a £6,000 prize, we recently had someone complaining on loquax about some of their votes being dis-counted/dis-qualified and them losing (although technically they hadn’t won- not till the fat lady sings) a £3,000 kitchen.

    Vote rigging, vote buying, and lots of cheating ahead i suspect. Leave them to it, while they are busy fixing or buying votes, they are leaving the comps alone that i enter lol.

  • suroben

    Don’t know how long it will stay there but I’ve just posted about how unfair the voting competitions are too and questioned why they feel the need to run this sort of competition. Just got to try to remember to go back and see if they respond.

  • ully

    what a shame to ruin a competition, by having a voting element…when you see some of the lovely efforts people put in with christmas deco, i’d personally much prefer one of those to win something like this, than a ‘pay-for-votes’ type winner..
    think it also reflects badly on the company; its as if they’re initially uninformed (excusable) or not very principled (inexcusable).
    wouldn’t enter anyway-only have a tree up,but for anybody who does enter the legitimate way, i already feel sorry for..

  • missblastoff

    On Monday Air Wick altered their terms and conditions to include:
    “The promoter reserves the right to disqualify any entrants who have used the following methods to gain votes: creation of fake or multiple profiles; offering any type of compensation (monetary or otherwise) in exchange for votes; using ‘Vote Exchange’ forums; using robotic or automatic devices.”

    This text was taken from a recommendation on my blog. It’s a small step in the right direction and shows they ARE willing to listen – let’s hope they see sense and decide to judge from the top 20 entries, or even better, from all entries. I’ll be watching this one!

  • zolakins

    Well I have to give Air Wick some creditalso. After posting that vote swapping had begun they got in touch and asked for the screen shot that I had taken. It looks like they are taking this seriously. A small step granted – but a step in the right direction me thinks :o)

  • Good to know that they’re listening…

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