Recently Grand Marnier launched a competition on their Facebook page. There’s a prize draw to win a year of Grand Marnier and there’s also a photo competition called The Sunset Hour. Simply by uploading a photo, showing a sunset, to their site you could win a City Break to Paris or 1 of 200 goodie bags. The downside to all this – the photo with the most votes wins.
To give Grand Marnier UK a bit of slack, their competition isn’t advertised as a “photography competition”. It’s simply advertised as “upload a photo”. You can then vote for your favourite (most likely your own) but it’s one vote per day per person. If you can mobilise enough people to vote for you daily then you will win – simple as that – even if you upload a really terrible sunset related picture.
This however, doesn’t tell the full story. When this competition first launched you could click and vote for your entry, then reload the page and click and vote again. In other words the person who could stand clicking the most would win. Eventually Grand Marnier UK figured this out and reset the counter. Interestingly they could reset the counter but not change the competition to a judged one… even though it’s fairly obvious that votes are being accumulated by swapping means.
Grand Marnier aren’t the only culprits of the moment. Currys are running a Your Moments competition to win £5000. You upload your photo – and most votes wins – even if there are better photos capturing a Summer Moment. Doesn’t quite seem to make sense!
Now we all know about the issues surrounding Facebook “liking” or “voting” competitions. People will go and swap votes, buy votes and even offer prizes for votes. In other words these competitions are quite simply a “who can get the most clicks by whatever means will win”. They’re not skill competitions and most certainly they’re not photographic competitions.
You can’t blame people for using voting groups or offering bribes for votes – the services are there and they will be used. Asking people not to use them is like telling a looter in a London riot to take back their TV, there’s a good chap! So the responsibility lies with the promoter and if they’re going to run poor thought out competitions then that surely reflects on their brand?
We’d have thought that by now brands (or at least the agencies who put these competitions together) should know people cheat at Facebook liking and voting competitions and they should know that they rarely run smoothly.
What we’d like brands to do is make it quite clear what kind of competition they’re running.
Do they want decent photos for a photography competition or do they just want people clicking as many times as they can? If the latter why bother going to the effort of asking people to upload a photo of anything in particular? It’s a pointless element to the competition as ultimately it’s not the best photo that wins.
Of course, if there was a judged element to the competition the “best photo” is subjective, but at least those people making an effort to submit a decent photograph would feel that they’d have a fair crack at the top prize. So come on promoters, start to get your act together please!