Soup company in hot water over competition

22 February 2012

soupYou don’t get anything for nothing in this life, unless you happen to win an amazing competition that just happens to adorn the side of whichever product you currently happen to be consuming. Now, the New Covent Garden Soup company are finding their latest competition isn’t to customers’ tastes after no-one won the big prize.

In a competition billed as “simply unique” by the company’s marketing director, which was expected to “attract huge numbers of new consumers”, customers purchasing a promotion pack of New Covent Garden or Farmhouse Fare soup were able to enter an online code in order to win £500,000 to buy their very own farm.

However, when the competition closed, it was announced that no-one had won the big prize- the unique code must have been thrown away by someone without the time or inclination to enter the  code on the dedicated www.winafarm.co.uk website.

Customers were outraged, and felt cheated by the company out of their something for nothing. However, the competition was approved in advance by the Institute of Promotional Marketing. Chief executive Annie Swift told the Daily Mail: ‘There was nothing wrong with the terms and conditions. It was legal and it followed the rules which cover promotions like this.’

Many customers have reportedly been leaving irate and disappointed comments on the company’s own facebook page and other consumer sites. Some feel so upset that they may never bring themselves to buy a New Covent Garden Soup again.

But is this that much of a big deal? Certainly if you only bought the soup to enter the competition you might feel a little aggrieved, but you did (presumably) enjoy the soup that you paid for. Do people always win the top prizes in this type of competition? Probably not.

In this case, however, it would seem that the company were banking on no-one winning. Given that there were only 270,000 entries to the competition, they would have needed to generate £2 of income per entrant for the prizes to be covered, let alone the rest of the reported £2.5million cost of the promotion. And how many of those 270,000 entries were from brand new, converted, New Covent Garden soup customers?

So far, it is looking like the soup company themselves are the big losers here, not the consumers, but it raises a wider question on whether promotions like this should be allowed to run in this form? Many of the disgruntled soup slurpers wanted there to be a draw to find a prizewinner from the submitted entries, but if this became accepted practice, this could mean this type of competition became just too expensive for promoters to run. Wouldn’t you rather have the chance of winning something, even if there is also a chance that no-one wins, instead of no-one even having a chance?

13 comments

  • PlatinumPlatypus
    What's new about this? Do people really think there are winners for the big prizes in McDonald's Monopoly?
  • thus
    Fun fact. I bought a pack of Covent Garden chicken soup the other day, quite nice but a tad excessive on the salt content. According to the ingredients list there is actually more salt added than actual chicken, and if you eat the whole pack that's 4.2g (70%) of your recommended 6g daily limit. Calling it anything other than Cream of Salt does seem a touch misleading.
  • Mike L.
    "oh no, I bought this overprices, shit tasting soup on the very small chance of winning a prize, I feel so outraged!"
  • Richard
    so i'm assuming the people complaining entered all their codes meaning they were never gonna win anyway. The only person who lost out was the person who wasn't bothered about the competition and threw away their code. Would the complainers feel better if this person had claimed their £500k??
  • Stu
    What Richard said. Certainly a case of misdirected rage here. Other than put one winning code on a carton of soup somewhere, what else exactly were they supposed to do?
  • Grumpy
    That's what happens when you get BW to run your bloody competition for you. Bastards.
  • Mary W.
    It should be banned – this is disgraceful and outrageous. I’m off to check some trading standards/consumer direct resources in my local library to compound how angry I am. Does no-one think of the simpletons?
  • Mike H.
    I doubt many people win these competitions. Does any one ever ask who won? Competitions are just marketing honey traps.
  • Dick
    If I ever win a competition like this, I'd blackmail the company. Give me 2x the value of the prize in cash, or I'll throw away the winning ticket and claim it was just a scam.
  • Frank
    Dick, you're a dick.
  • U R.
    Frank, you're very frank.
  • Doreen
    Talking of competitions, does anybody know anyone who have won one of those tv competitions, you know the ones that ask you stupid questions and then charge you half the earth to call?............. No, nor do I!!!
  • Mustapha S.
    I'm sat here with tears of rage, I can barely type from shaking. Not because of the article - the wife deleted my series record of Downturn fucking Abbey.

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