By May 20, 2013on
We’re lucky to work on absolutely brilliant prize promotions here at Spark & Fuse and just recently a particular project brought great joy to our office. As part of a campaign to encourage the UK to get walking, Tesco Magazine launched a competition offering schools the chance to win a visit from Britain’s Got Talent winners, Ashleigh & Pudsey, plus pedometers for every pupil at the school!
It was our role to ensure the competition was compliant in the first instance and then oversee the judging process, providing an independent judge with just the right sort of experience to help select the winning entry. As we were also responsible for prize fulfilment, once chosen, we had to call the lucky winner – a mum in Brighton to tell her the great news; Ashleigh and Pudsey were going visit her child’s school! It was one of those phone calls where everyone in the office stayed really quite so we could all hear her squeals of delight.
And not only did we dispatch pedometers to the winning school, we sent pedometers to every pupil at three runners-up schools, too. Over a thousand children benefitted from this great competition.
You can read more about Ashleigh & Pudsey’s visit to the winning school here at Tesco Magazine online http://www.tescomagazine.com/blog/pupils-have-talent.html
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By May 14, 2013on
I regularly contact winners as part of our prize fulfilment service and last week I was given the exciting job of getting in touch with winners of the Tesco LYNX Space Academy National Challenge. I can honestly say that this is the most exciting project I have ever worked on! I must have checked all of their details at least ten times before finally having the courage to click ‘send’. But why would I be so nervous? Well it’s not every day that you get to tell someone that they might be going into space!
The lucky winners have been invited to the LYNX APOLLO National Challenge at a top secret location in London and will take part in physical and mental challenges to see if they have what it takes to reach the next round at a Global Space Camp in Orlando, Florida. They will then compete against other runners up for the ultimate prize – a trip to space.
Good luck to all of the competitors, and fingers crossed maybe one of the lucky winners that I contacted will find themselves hurtling into space!
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By September 11, 2012on
There’s been a huge trend towards online voting competitions and many of our clients are keen to introduce this type of prize promotion into their marketing plans. Here at Spark & Fuse, however, we are less keen on this genre and warn anyone considering implementing a voting competition to proceed with caution. The fact is they spell trouble. Voting competitions are plagued with problems that most promoters either have not considered or of which they simply are not aware. The outcome is often far from what may otherwise be expected – disappointed customers, loads of complaints and negative feedback across all social media. Some really big brands, like Yazoo, Co-op and 118 118, have already experienced first-hand the difficulties of running such a campaign.
To run a voting competition without issue is possible but help from an experienced third party is essential. It’s something we know about at Spark & Fuse and advise our clients that if their brand is looking to create a positive customer interaction, they must give the promotion great thought, compile extremely robust terms and conditions, a well built back-end, and allow plenty of time post promotion to research entrants/winners. In short, voting competitions should not be considered lightly, created within a short timeframe or produced without a budget.
We were planning a blog to outline some of the problems with voting competitions, but our good friend and comping blogger Di Coke, has recently written a great piece on the flaws of this very subject – so here’s a link for you to see for yourself what can go wrong.
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By August 1, 2012on
We help our clients and promoters create and implement prize promotions and we understand how a promotion can meet their marketing objectives. But what actually makes an appealing prize promotion for a consumer? Is it the prizes, or is there more to it than that? We asked Di Coke comper extraordinaire (she’s won a colossal £200k worth of prizes) who blogs at both www.superlucky.co.uk and who writes for Compers News! to reveal what she thinks makes a competition work, or otherwise… over to Di…
I’ve been a successful comper for fifteen years and it’s fascinating to see how prize promotions have changed in that time. When I first discovered this addictive hobby, it was when the internet was just becoming popular. In the late 1990s I found most competitions on supermarket entry forms, flashed products or in magazines. These days most competitions and prize draws are launched on websites or Facebook; even if I do spot a printed form or on-pack ‘WIN’ flash, the entry method will often be via a website or by text message.
Comping has changed, and the ease of finding and entering prize promotions for free has meant the hobby has attracted a lot more keen fans. There are many different kinds of comper – tiebreaker experts, fast-paced Roboform users, Twitter RT addicts, Facebook Like & Sharers, Texters – with each having a certain amount of time and/or money to dedicate to the hobby. For most of us, comping time is limited, and many that use competition forum listings and autofill software will rarely stop to read the instructions or the Terms and Conditions. Indeed, for busy compers, engaging with the promoter isn’t top of their prizewinning priorities – so how can a brand ensure that their prize promotions are appealing, successful and get people talking on social networks?
From a promoter’s point of view, it’s the social compers that are worth targeting – those that are using Facebook and Twitter for competitions, but also find time for chat. These compers love to share competitions and recruit friends to their comping cause, and interact enthusiastically on promoters’ pages. If a promoter can engage with social compers then their Facebook page and promotions should be a resounding success. Social compers will post comments and photos, and tweet a Thanks message when they receive their prize. Their friends, on seeing these actions on their Facebook ticker or newsfeed, might be intrigued and pop over to the page to see what’s going on. Hopefully the content will be engaging enough for them to stay and browse for a while, and even interact themselves.
With over 1000 actively comping friends on my own Facebook newsfeed, the type of promotions that I have seen successfully create a buzz and get people talking are:
• Sending on a ‘gift’ to a friend, or choosing a friend who will share the prize with you
• Asking friends to work as a team to win a prize
• Ongoing promotions where a prize is given away every day/hour/week to a random entrant or to the best tiebreaker/photograph
• Instant wins with lots of prizes
Other promotions that can cause a buzz, but in a negative and potentially damaging way, are:
• Voting competitions: they encourage cheating, and the same names win every time, so it’s a better idea to judge or choose at random from all entries with, for example, 20 votes or more (or better still, don’t involve voting at all!)
• Referral competitions where the person who refers the most friends wins (a referral promotion where a fan has to get 2 or 3 friends to sign up, or extra entries in the draw for friends that enter is more effective)
• Games where the highest scorer wins: time and time again we see leaderboards topped by impossible scores, so there’s no incentive for people to play (try doing a random draw from everyone that achieves a certain score instead)
• ‘Like and Share’ competitions, which violate Facebook terms. Some compers love these because they’re so easy to enter, but there are a lot of pitfalls which I cover on my Superlucky blog.
There are lots of ways to connect with fans whilst plugging an online promotion:
• On a Facebook page, sharing competition entries or photos of previous winners can be a really appealing way of connecting with fans, and encourages interaction and chat
• When a Facebook user comments on a status, it appears in the ticker for all their friends/subscribers to see, so it’s always worth asking questions in a status update: ‘If you won our £1000 vouchers, what would you spend them on?’, or ‘What do you think of this fabulous entry into our photo competition?’ for example
• ’Like this post if you want to win a holiday’ is a classic – compers love the Like button and will use it even when it’s not a condition of entry; ensure that the entry URL is obvious though, as some people will think they’ve entered just by Sharing or Liking!
• Compers’ enthusiasm can be taken advantage of, as most of us love to share. Speaking from experience, when I’ve shared a competition link as ‘Public’ on Facebook I have noticed that several of my ‘normal’, non-comping friends go on to enter as well. Make Facebook posts appealing and fun, preferably with a photo. Bear in mind that when sharing a link with no photo, further shares by fans will NOT include the text of the original post – only the link. This doesn’t work at all well if the link is to the prize, rather than the promotion!
• When it comes to prizes, it might sound odd but it does seem people would much rather 100 prizes of £1000 rather than one big prize of £100,000. When huge prizes are given away on Facebook there’s a certain cynicism that rears its ugly head (usually from the non-comping fans!) and there might not be the congratulatory messages you’d expect.
• Most compers do love to see other compers win, so promotions where there are lots of smaller prizes (wine, t-shirts, vouchers, etc.) can be very effective, particularly if the prizes are staggered so there’s a regular flow of fans posting ‘Thankyou’ messages on a page.
• It’s difficult to please everybody all of the time, which is why it’s a good idea to try a variety of approaches to see what type of promotion works best and to give all fans a chance of winning a prize, whether they enjoy an easy prize draw or a complicated recipe competition.
• Always make sure there are clear and easily accessible Terms and Conditions, and that any important restrictions (if a holiday is for 2, or doesn’t include flights for example) are made clear, as most compers won’t even bother reading T&Cs!
• People hate to see cheats winning, so it pays to take steps to prevent them from entering, and also take accusations of cheating seriously – read my blog post about cheating here
• If running a promotion where a product purchase is required, ask for the receipt details upfront at entry stage; some cheeky compers will enter these competitions, then try and beg a qualifying receipt from elsewhere if they win!
There’s nothing I enjoy more than a well-thought out, creative and exciting competition – and if you have one to share, please get in touch so I can help promote it!
By July 25, 2012on
We’ve seen a rise in creative competitions that request for entries to be pinned to Pinterest, or uploaded to a Facebook page or a website gallery. While it might not fit your marketing requirements, making competition entries public before the closing date breaches the CAP code – the rule book for how prize promotions in the UK must be conducted.
‘What? Why?’ you’re probably shouting (our best practise advice on this particular subject is generally met with some surprise). Put simply, competitions which are conducted in this way are unfair. If everyone can see entries as they are posted, the competition ceases to be a level playing field. Those people that enter at the beginning may have had an original idea but there will always be others that just use these entries for inspiration and submit a similar yet improved version, while some contestants will wait until just before the closing date to see what has already been submitted then use this to their advantage to upload something better and unique to improve their chances of winning.
The CAP code states that ‘Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably…. must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment.’
There is nothing equitable about a competition where everyone can see entries as they are submitted. It doesn’t matter if you’re asking contestants to upload a recipe, or a photo, or even just leave comment, if you are judging these entries against a set criteria, the principle remains the same. To avoid contestants complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority, or complaining loudly on social media sites and forums, ensure all entries to your competition are not received in an open forum. You can put them all online the minute the competition closes, even if they haven’t been judged.
- CAP code, competition, competition terms and conditions, photography competition, recipe competition
By May 21, 2012on
How the prize promotion landscape has changed! When we first started Spark & Fuse in 2006, Twitter was only a few months old, Facebook had been around for a couple of years but people used it mostly to poke each other and none of our clients had even considered either as a platform for prize promotions. In fact most of the projects on which we worked required postal entry only.
Every day the postman would drop off a bulging Royal Mail postbag, and we literally spent hours counting hundreds of thousands of postcards. It was admittedly not much fun. We also oversaw many a competition for which postal response was the only mechanism for entry. One year we received 32,000 posters drawn by school kids as part of an anti-bullying initiative – there were some very late nights (and tears) shortlisting those. And for many years, we helped to judge a Marks & Spencer Christmas shopping competition where customers had to complete a tie-breaker for a chance to win one of 25 £1,000 store vouchers. Each year on average we received about 12,000 entries and the crates of entries actually reached our office ceiling.
But it’s been years since this office has seen a tie-breaker! And what we mean by tie-breaker is complete a sentence or slogan in say, 25 words. It appears to have been replaced with far more creative and sophisticated competitions– thanks largely to social media platforms. We’re not sad to see them go – tie breaker competitions did generate a lot of very similar responses and the search for something truly original and clever was always incredibly difficult. Perhaps we’re not looking in the right places, or maybe they’re just a thing of the prize promotion past, along with sending in postcards… have you seen a tie-breaker competition recently? Let us know!
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By May 18, 2012on
Possibly the best bit of our job is contacting lucky winners to tell them of their good fortune. I once had to call someone to let her know she’d won £10,000. Needless to say, that took some time for her to digest. This week has been truly wonderful for winner notification. Firstly, we sent a tweet to the winner of our Jo Malone prize draw which we launched at Cybher – he was delighted. I then had to call nine mums to tell them their child had won a national story writing competition – not only do all the children win a prize for themselves (a zookeeper’s day at Paradise Park), each of their schools receives a £500 donation to fund new library books. They were all so chuffed and proud of their kids, I actually felt a bit tearful at one point. My favourite call this week was to a Jubilee party prize winner – she’d won £2k in food and drink to throw a party over the bank holiday weekend. I was so excited when I called it took some time for her to make sense of what I was trying to tell her.
We rarely get to tell prize winners face to face, so we can only imagine their reactions when we put down the phone. We can only hope that it’s a little bit like this …
- competition, Competition management, prize fulfilment, prize promotion, Prize promotions, winner, winner notification
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By May 16, 2012on
We have an amazing prize to give away – the problem is we can’t get hold of the lucky winner – we have emailed so many times now that we’ve actually lost count. Under the CAP code, there’s a 28 day notification period in which to contact a winner and if that person does not respond within this time frame, we have a further 28 days to try and get in touch with them. We are now coming to the end of the period – and it’s looking very likely that we’ll have to conduct a redraw because the winner hasn’t left any other contact details.
So our plea to everyone that enters prize draws and competitions is please check your email or listen and reply to phone messages. Perhaps our emails go into your junk folder? Perhaps you think we’re trying to sell you something when we leave a message on your mobile? Please don’t be surprised to receive a notification (occasionally) that you’ve won!
We hate to think you’ve gone to all the trouble (and sometimes expense) of entering a prize draw only to miss out on actually claiming it. And so would our clients, because ultimately they run prize promotions to reward their customers.
Do let us know if you have any thoughts on how we can communicate with winners more successfully.
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By April 2, 2012on
Recently we asked the people of Twitter what product they would most like to win. The response was unanimous – an iPad. Equally, the one product used predominantly as a prize incentive at the moment, not only on Twitter but in other digital space too, is an iPad. Promoters are well-tuned into the public’s continuing desire for Apple’s latest product and how it can be used to generate a good response to promotions. But are promoters actually allowed to offer an iPad as a prize?
The answer is, no. Well, not if you ask Apple. It’s old news that Apple does not give permission for anyone to give away its latest iPad and iPhone models and that it will enforce this rule. In the first instance Apple will not sell these products if the sole purpose is a prize promotion and anyone who buys a quantity of units is likely to raise suspicion at Apple HQ and will be denied further purchasing rights.
Protecting the exclusiveness of a brand is fair play, but we would argue that once you’ve paid for a product it’s yours to do with as you will, as long as you don’t imply the brand is actually endorsing the giveaway or break any laws. However, we do believe that it is for these very reasons you should proceed with caution before going ahead with an Apple product giveaway.
For those products which Apple does permit third-party promotional activity, a set of detailed instructions is available as to how these promotions can or cannot look. Like all big companies, Apple controls the way its brand image is used, which is absolutely their prerogative. If your product giveaway is authorised, you can use the Apple logo and make reference to the product in its entirety. If your giveaway is not authorised, you can’t use anything which has been Trademark protected – such as the Apple logo or the word iPad. We’re not lawyers and neither do we claim to be experts in this area, and it’s quite possible we’ve oversimplified the matter, but making your promotion look as though it has been enforced by Apple, or using their icons without permission would breach The Trade Marks Act 1994. It is via this route that Apple could enforce its rule and promoters could find themselves in trouble.
Apple has been known to sue on grounds of breach of trademark but we do not know if it is actively pursuing misuse under these circumstances. We do know though that every day there are a huge number of promotions offering much coveted Apple products as prizes and all promoters should be aware of The Trade Marks Act 1994 before deciding whether or not to offer one as a prize.
We’d love to know what you think, especially if you’re giving away an iPad or iPhone. And we’d be keen on feedback from anyone better qualified to comment on trademark laws – are we right?
- Competition management, competition rules, competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules
By March 30, 2012on
We’re delighted to announce that both Spark and Fuse will be speaking at Cybher 2012 – the first female blogger event of its kind in the UK. This one-day event will bring together the most influential bloggers and speakers from all corners of the blogosphere to network, inspire, share and learn. It’s taking place on 12th May 2012 at 8 Northumberland Avenue in the heart of London. The line-up of speakers is seriously impressive with some heavyweight bloggers taking to the stage. We’ll be there to share our expertise, wisdom and experience on how to conduct online prize promotions properly. We’re looking forward to advising everyone how to get the details right on their blogs, twitter and Facebook. And we’re really excited about meeting all the great bloggers we’ve met on Twitter in person. Do come and say hello if you’re there!
Read more here …
- Competition management, competition rules, competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules, prize draw terms and conditions
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