When is a prize not a prize?

26 Aug

What encourages you to enter a competition?

For me, it’s a simple entry process and a prize that’s worth winning. I don’t make a living out of entering competitions, I just have the attitude ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it.’

So, when I picked up new! magazine a couple of weeks ago and saw that former TOWIE star and columnist Amy Childs was giving away some of her perfume to readers with the best answers to: ‘what’s your favourite summer scent?’ – it was a no-brainer.

I casually emailed Amy to tell her that the smell of cut grass always reminds me of summer. Corny I know. But, a week later the news editor emailed to tell me I’d been chosen as one of the winners.

When my package finally arrived from the publication I opened it up to find a sample size vial of Amy’s new Jigsaw scent. I had mis-read the email response where the editor had cleverly told me: ‘thank you for entering Amy’s perfume sample competition’. Note – only after I’d entered was I made aware just a sample was at stake.

What’s frustrating is that the magazine thought they could give away a prize that was the equivalent to a complimentary sample from a department store perfume counter. Most consumer magazines won’t contemplate a competition or giveaway with a prize worth less than £500. So, what changed?

Is Amy’s PR to blame for pulling a stunt like this? Perhaps they failed
to supply enough prizes – but that would be unheard of. I can’t think of a case when PRs don’t have access to endless supplies of whatever they’re promoting. The more they supply to journalists and bloggers, the more chance they have of getting coverage that will inspire consumers to buy.

Failing to partner with the magazine to deliver a worthwhile prize can do more harm than good. The focus turns to the brand and the reputation is damaged no matter what the product is like.

I’ll calm down soon. But, for now I’m taking it to the blog. Have you had an experience like this?


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