Soup company in hot water over competition
You 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?