As a loyalty and valued customer, I received an e-mail last week informing me about my point standings, advertising new offers and an opportunity to “Enter To Win” a unique professional hockey experience. This particular company is a huge player in the travel industry with an enormous brand footprint in the marketplace. I saw they were offering the opportunity to win a lifetime experience to attend a hockey event in another city. This particular company is a sponsor of hockey in Canada and had in fact taken an aggressive and public stand against excessive violence after the rash of head concussions last year. I thought the promotion was a great link between their brand and sponsorship activities.
The Promo Nerd in me avidly read the contest rule and regulations to learn more about the prizing. I was completely shocked to read the Grand Prize only included entrance into the event, but did not include the travel, accommodations, nor spending money to get there. Why would they offer a partial prize and limit it only to consumers who could afford about $3,000.00 for two people to enjoy the experience. To truly be a winner, you needed to have the extra cash and a willingness to spend it. I found the prizing description equally shocking considering the company is in the travel industry. When I first started creating consumer promotions, I learned you should never require a winner to be out-of-pocket in order to claim their prize. Otherwise, it was not truly a prize. Did this company create prizing hoping the winner would book air and hotel reservations with them? And what about a minimal level of spending money while the winner was away? Eating for two is not cheap over the course of a weekend.
I decided to post my comments on their Facebook page to see the company’s response. The company correctly provided full disclosure of the contest and accurately described what was being awarded. My beef was about the prizing. I just thought it was poor form. WeIl, I thought the response to my posting was in equally poor form. I was thanked for my concerns and
informed “my comments had been duly noted”.
Was I offside in my comments? Let me know what you think?