Co-op Strawberries Love Great British £100,000 instant win promotion

Here we go again! Just as I was hoping misleading instant win promotions were being phased out in favour of honesty and transparency from promoters, along come Total Worldfresh with their ‘Love Great British’ promotion on Co-op strawberries. The packs advertise a fantastic £100,000 of prizes to be won on a small sticker in the corner. It’s an instant win promotion, with a unique code on the reverse of the sticker which needs to be entered online at before the end of July 2020. 

The sticker has very little information on it – on the front it lists the 2500 great prizes on offer:

Win a share of £100,000 in Co-op Gift Cards

  • 300 x £100 Co-op Gift Cards
  • 600 x £50 Co-op Gift Cards
  • 1,600 x £25 Co-op Gift Cards

The back of the sticker is printed with a unique code, but there’s no information at all about the format of the promotion, or how winners are chosen. It doesn’t even mention it’s an instant win. It’s only when you check out the terms and conditions at that you’ll read the dreaded words:

The winners will be selected using an independently audited and verified algorithm process. The algorithm will randomly determine whether an entrant is a winner based on the total number of promotional packs available during the Promotional Period

But what does this mean? It means that when you enter a code, the algorithm decides what your chance of winning is dependent on how many promotional packs are being produced. For example, let’s guess there might be 10 million stickers applied to boxes during the promotion – in that case, your chance of winning one of the 2,500 prizes would be just 1-in-4,000.

So, all 2,500 prizes in the Love Great British promotion will only be awarded if every single code from a stickered pack of strawberries is entered online. And of course that won’t happen – packs will get thrown away, stickers might not even be spotted, and codes will be forgotten about.

How many of the 2,500 prizes will be won?

Generally in this type of algorithm promotion, we can expect less than 5% of codes to be entered on the competition website, which means it’s likely that less than £5,000 of gift cards (125 prizes) will be awarded to winners. And that’s nowhere near the £100,000 advertised!

The Love Great British promotion is exaggerating the consumer’s chance of winning because the stickers don’t state that the £100,000 of prizes are only available to be won – they are not guaranteed to be won. According to the Advertising Standards Agency, the label should have details of the winner selection process and also clarify how likely the consumer is to win a prize. Consumers should be able to make an informed decision about whether they want to buy the product from the information they see on the packaging – and there’s simply not enough information on these stickers to make that decision!

Better examples of algorithm promotions

Several big brands run this type of algorithm promotion – but usually they make it fairer by adding guaranteed prizes to the mix to improve the win rate:

  • If the Yeo Valley Tesla car isn’t won instantly, a winner will be drawn from all losing entries during the promotion.
  • In the current Le Rustique promotion, 2000 cheeseboard prizes are available to be won on an algorithm basis – but also 100 cheeseboards are guaranteed to be won on a winning moments basis. 

Some promoters may choose to share details of the number of promotional packs in circulation, which means the consumer can work out the exact chance of winning a prize before they decide whether to buy. The odds will usually be ridiculously high, but at least the promoter is being honest with the consumer:

  • Forthglade are currently advertising a prize £50k VW Campervan on their packs, plus 250 £100 Hunter Wellies Vouchers, 250 National Trust Backpacks and 1000 National Trust Day Passes. T&Cs tell us there are 3,582,234 promo packs – so the chance of winning with each purchase is that number, divided by the number of prizes (1501) = a pretty poor 1-in-2387 chance of winning a prize. And your chance of winning the camper van when you enter a code is just 1-in-3.5million!

You can probably guess that I don’t like algorithm-style instant win promotions, and I certainly won’t go out of my way to enter them! I think they’re a cynical ploy to sell products by advertising a massive prize fund on the packaging, when in reality those brands know that they’ll only have to pay out 5% or so of that advertised prize value. I would much rather they guarantee to give away £5,000 of prizes using a winning moments format rather than give out less than 5% of an advertised £100,000 prize fund. Mind you, as an experienced comper I also know that a winning moments promotion is much easier to win than an algorithm one!

If you feel that this promotion, and others like it, are misleading consumers then please do report them to the ASA. Promoters need to be aware how important it is to include all significant information on pack, so consumers can make an informed decision on whether to buy the product or not!

At least in this case, the unique codes are on fruit – which certainly makes a change from the unhealthy Nestlé chocolate bars, Mr Kipling Cakes and Walkers crisps that us compers have been buying lately! So if you usually buy strawberries, you might as well give this one a go – but don’t be too disappointed when you get the losing message…

For further information see the ASA article on instant wins – and my guidance on How to complain to the ASA about a promotion.

1 Response

  1. Daphne Monk says:

    Even though the terms and conditions say Scotland as well, my strawberries are local, so no prize draw label on any of them

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