Thursday 30 May 2013

Competitons - a promoter's eye view

I'm delighted today that we have a guest post from Sarah Burns, of Spark and Fuse, who is going to give us a view of what it's like to be representing the promoters on whom this wonderful hobby depends:

When people ask me what I do for a living, I flamboyantly state, ‘I give away amazing prizes’. Okay so I actually do a little more than this, yet I choose to describe my working day as such because it sums up neatly my very nice job.

As co-founder of Spark & Fuse Marketing, my world is immersed in prize promotions – not as a comper but from the other side as an administrator. Chances are if you’ve entered a draw in a magazine or online, we placed that prize; if you received a prize in the post, we mailed it to you; or if you submitted a competition entry, we managed the judging process. And maybe, just maybe you have received a call from an excited Spark & Fuser breaking the great news of a win. Without a doubt, prize notification is the most rewarding part of our work. I once called a lady to tell her she’d just won £10,000. I was possibly more delighted than her and shrieked down the phone. Only a few weeks ago, I contacted a mum who’d won a visit from Ashleigh & Pudsey to her daughter’s school – her ecstatic response could literally be heard by all across the office. My colleague recently notified five lucky winners that they’d won the chance to compete for place on a trip into space. Seriously, a trip into space! That really is something to jump up and down about.
We often meet sceptics that simply don’t believe anyone really wins prizes and that most prize promotions are in some way fake or there to deceive consumers. This is simply not true for any projects on which we work. We take immense pride in ensuring that everything we do is CAP code compliant; that every single draw is conducted fairly (we had a bespoke system built especially for this) and that every winner receives their prize. Much like you, we’re angered by stories of unscrupulous promoters and companies that take advantage of consumers – it’s something we tweet about quite regularly and we actively encourage everyone to report this sort of behaviour to the Advertising Standards Authority.

But bad behaviour can be seen on both sides and the greatest issue we currently face at Spark & Fuse HQ is that of cheating. Social media has allowed people to create multiple selves and enter prize draws fraudulently. We like to ensure that consumers win prizes fairly, it’s only right and it’s something we take very seriously.
One of the questions we’re often asked by interested individuals (our mums), is how do people win competitions anyway, what do they do right? Well as you know, you have to enter them in the first place. But crucially, you must follow the instructions and terms and conditions to the letter. We spend significant time crafting clear copy and precise judging criteria in order to help consumers understand exactly what the judging panel is looking for in a winning entry. However we still receive volumes of entries that totally ignore all this. We don’t change the way a competition is judged simply to suit the entries received, the criteria is there for a reason and that is so entrants and judges alike are all working to the same outline.

And what about us? Do we ever enter prize draws? Of course not. We’re too busy working on great prize promotions for the likes of you to win. @sparkandfuse

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