How to be a winner!

Sarah Burns | 3rd October 2014

Sarah Burns <>
Sarah Burns | 3rd October 2014

I’ve seen lots of grumbling lately across social media from consumers who claim never to win giveaways or competitions. As someone who works on hundreds of prize promotions a year and as a leading industry expert, I have the best insight into how you can improve your winning chances.

  1. First things first. Read the terms and conditions and follow them to the letter!  As a compliance and verification agency, we write very robust terms for promoters, and it’s also our job to ensure winners have met these terms. So, for example, if you’ve entered a giveaway more than once and the terms stipulate no multiple entries then you will be disqualified. Judged competitions have a criterion and we can only allow participants who have met these to win. You’d be surprised how few competition entries actually make it to the final cut once those that haven’t met the terms and conditions are eliminated. People who regularly win competitions read the terms and conditions thoroughly.
  2. If there are no terms and conditions to the giveaway or competition, don’t enter. It’s as simple as that! Any company or business that runs a prize promotion without terms has no idea about industry regulations or doesn’t care about them. There’s every chance the outcome of the prize promotion won’t be equitable and it’s also not impossible that the prize promised won’t be awarded. Make sensible choices about your participation.
  3. Don’t win on Twitter? Have you any idea how many people enter Twitter prize draws? It’s a really, really, really, really big number. That’s probably why you don’t win.
  4. Never, ever cheat. Even if you desperately want the prize on offer. We know who you are and how you’ve done it and we remove you from the promotion. That includes entering into a competition images that belong to someone else, using multiple accounts and vote farming. We invest considerable time (and money) into bespoke systems that make it possible for us to run checks and there are always plenty of other participants happy to ‘tell’ on cheats.
  5. Remember to check your emails, your Instagram, your other inbox on Facebook, your Twitter DM’s and collect letters that need a signature from the post office! Every week we notify lucky winners that don’t claim their amazing prizes. We always contact these winners again and again, until the timeframe for notification has come to an end, and then we have to conduct a redraw. It’s a real shame when this happens.
  6. Provide the correct details. Following on from above, take a few seconds to check you’ve spelt your own email address correctly (it happens!), that you’ve given the right postcode or door number. Lots of winners don’t, and it makes it impossible to get in touch to tell them of their win.
  7. Only enter if the prize is something you really want to win. Over the years we’ve been fortunate enough to work on promotions that offer amazing prizes only for the winner to state ‘oh, I didn’t think I’d actually win, I don’t want the prize, can I have something else or cash instead’. Promoters rarely offer an alternative so don’t enter a promotion in the hope that you can ask for it if you are lucky enough to win.
  8. Be mindful about your online presence. If you constantly complain about promoters or their prize promotions on your timeline, or if you’re rude or publicly accuse promoters of foul play or other contestants of cheating, however right you may be, some promoters will blacklist you. It’s not right, and it’s not something that we would ever do at Spark & Fuse, but then again we’re not everyone. Complain by all means, but do it privately and politely to the promoter, it’s less likely to work against you.

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Category: Be Inspired

Tell us what you think


A friend shared the link to this page and I hope it is useful to many of her other friends.
I try to stick to these rules and since 1974 I have won many wonderful prizes. Any runner-up prizes that I have no use for are offered to family and then to Dizzy my local charity shop.
Sometimes, it’s easy to assume that what looks like a straight forward Facebook ‘like and share’ draw by a well known company will be fairly drawn or judged but I recently discovered one such was not what it seemed and had I read all the T&Cs I’d have discovered that it was a voting draw in disguise. The 30 entries with the most likes would go on to be judged. I don’t think other entrants would have bothered to like other peoples. I deleted my entry.
I’m going to have a good old read of the other headings later. Thank you.

Sylvia Robbins | April 11th, 2014 at 13:40

Thanks for your feedback Sylvia. We’re glad you found our advice useful. As you have discovered, it’s really important to read terms and conditions thoroughly so you know exactly what’s going on!

Sarah Burns | June 11th, 2014 at 11:09

Some great advice – thanks ! :) I ALWAYS read the terms and conditions – even if they are really long might make the difference between winning and losing ! So often I see people who have entered a competition and they have not used the right words or followed the entry steps correctly ! I have won on Twitter several times..not lately though as it is getting so popular ! Best chance of winning is enter creative competitions that will be low entry..made even lower by those that enter but dont read the terms and conditions !

Sarah Forrester | March 11th, 2015 at 17:03

We work on lots of creative competitions and you’d be gobsmacked by how many participants fail to follow the terms and conditions. They provide a really good framework for entrants to understand exactly what is required for a chance to win! If only more people read them before entering

admin | June 11th, 2015 at 15:15