Less than 1% of prizes awarded in the McCain Great British Raffle
Back in February 2017, I blogged about the McCain Great British raffle. A big budget promotion with a £3 million prize fund (28,515 prizes in total). It seemed too good to be true didn’t it? So I read the T&Cs carefully, and realised it was a promotion where the prizes are only available to be won – and they will only all be won if every code from every promotional McCain packet is entered on the website. Yup, it WAS too good to be true.
Now this type of misleading promotion isn’t uncommon (although, having said that, thankfully it IS becoming rarer!) – and there’s nothing legally wrong with it. My issue with this type of instant win is that consumers are swayed by the promise of such high numbers of prizes, thinking they really do have a good chance of winning. But according to the ASA, “it’s important promotions deal with participants fairly and honourably”. I felt that McCain weren’t being fair, and that’s why I spoke to BBC News about the Great British Raffle (and other misleading instant win promotions) last year.
Fast forward to February 2018. The Great Village Raffle has finally ended, and the list of winners has been released.
McCain gave away just 160 of the advertised 28,515 prizes.
Of these 160 prizes, there were none of the ten Mini cars advertised, none of the VIP Emmerdale experiences and just four of the 500 indulgent country spa retreats. The prizes awarded were mainly piglet adoptions, beauty treatments and meals. The percentage of prizes given away was a measly 0.56%!
I’ll be honest. I love a good on-pack promotion, and I like chips. So I would have still have bought McCain fries if the packets said ‘We’re giving away 160 prizes worth £5,000!’, and guaranteed to give away all prizes in a prize draw, or via winning moments. It’s still a half decent prize fund! Ridiculously extreme figures like ‘£3 million of prizes’ just aren’t necessary to get people interested – and when those prizes are advertised but not awarded, consumers lose their trust in a brand.
Hopefully, the bad PR surrounding the Great British Raffle has encouraged agencies and brands to take a look at the format of their on-pack promotions and marketing, and check that they’re being honest with their existing and potential customers. Although they still need to work hard to overcome the opinion of many consumers that all competitions and prize draws are a scam!
The good news is that in 2018 I’ve not yet seen any ‘prizes are available to be won’ instant win promotions on supermarket shelves. Promoters are being more transparent – they’re telling us the odds of winning in the small print, or offering extra prizes in a prize draw for losing entrants. Even former offender Applewood Cheese have opted for a prize draw for their new on-pack promotion, rather than a dodgy instant win! Many promoters now offer a simplified ‘FAQ’ page on their website as an easy-to-understand alternative to more formal T&Cs. And brands like Nestlé are offering thousands of guaranteed prizes in fun promotions like KitKat Joe the Mug, and Star Wars.
As compers, let’s continue to champion the brands and agencies who run legal, decent, honest and truthful prize promotions – and don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel you’ve been misled by advertising (particularly if it’s involved a purchase!)