The truth about Walkers Spell and Go
Certainly the most controversial promotion of 2016 so far, the main Walkers Spell and Go instant win promotion finally drew to a close at the end of July.
Last week it was revealed by the Daily Mail that a mere 796 of the 20,000 holidays (4%) advertised were actually given away. Ask around on social media and you’ll hear people claiming the promotion was a scam – but it wasn’t. It was just badly thought out.
99% of people don’t read competition terms and conditions – and for the 1% that do bother, the Spell and Go T&Cs really weren’t clear at all. The letter collecting seemed fun at first, but it made the promotion confusing for entrants who foolishly expected a 1-in-26 chance of getting a letter K every time they ate a packet of crisps, presuming that after buying five 6-packs of Walkers they would be jetting off to Phuket!
Lots of promotions are designed exactly like Spell and Go but because the advertising campaign was so high profile, Walkers have pushed this style of instant win promotion into the public eye and suffered a backlash as a result.
In these promotions the huge numbers of prizes are available to be won. That means they will only all be won if every single promotional packet is sold, and every person who eats a promotional packet enters their code on the company’s website.
It’s as simple as that. So when you see a promotion that looks too good to be true – check the exact wording in the T&Cs. If you see the word ‘available’ then that means only a small percentage will actually be given away. It may be a promotion
like Walkers where the codes themselves aren’t pre-decided winners, but the code gives you a 1-in-50,000 (for example) chance to win instantly when you input it on the company website. Or it might be like the recent Highland Spring ‘Win 15,686 tennis sets’ promotion, where it was decided beforehand whether each printed unique code was a winner or a loser. In both cases, the prizes would only all have been given out if every promotional pack was sold, and every code was entered on the website before the closing date. And that simply doesn’t happen – 90-99% of people who buy these products just don’t care about entering the competition!
Update: the ASA ruling on 17th August confirms that all letters were pre-assigned to codes on packs for Walkers ‘Spell & Go’ promotion. It was confirmed the ‘swap a letter’ function was designed to never give a C,K or D – and the ASA have ruled that particular aspect of the promotion was “misleading and likely to cause unnecessary disappointment”.
It’s not just Walkers…
Here are a few more guilty parties:
- Weetabix are advertising 200 sporting experiences worth up to £5000 – but of course, T&Cs state “Although all prizes will be available to be won, there is no guarantee that they all will actually be won.”
- Princes Corned Beef offer ten thousand prizes of £25 cash, but are more honest in their T&Cs, stating “all the prizes will only be allocated if there is a single entry for every promotional pack entered in to the market.”
- Brothers Cider offer five thousand festival kits – but again, “although all prizes will be available to be won, there is no guarantee that they will all be won.”
- Kinder Bueno offer thirty thousand £100 gift cards but their T&Cs are vaguest of all, stating that “every customer entering will have the same chance” to win!
I really don’t enjoy this type of “instant lose” promotion, and would much rather Walkers had gone down the honest route of ’10 holidays a day will be won for 80 days!’ route, using a winning moments mechanism where the first code entered after a winning moment won a holiday. But that wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting as collecting letters would it?
Please leave a comment – I’d love to know what you thought about Spell and Go, and if you’ve been lucky enough to win in any of the other promotions I’ve mentioned above!
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