- Beauty Bag
- Cinema Tickets
- Hawx 2 game
- Doc Martens
- £10 gift token
- Hallowe'en goodies
- Children's books
- Chocolate Hamper
- Party pack
In addition, as a direct result of entering competitions I have received a free T-shirt and facial wipes and had a story picked up by a magazine for publication.
Each and every one of these has given me a great deal of pleasure.
I am not a big player in the comping world. I pass under the radar thoroughly enjoying my small wins. My sister, by virtue of her husband winning a car last week and herself being one of three finalists with a chance to win a brand new Volkswagon Touran or Sharan, has had her comping status significantly elevated. You would imagine that this would be the dream of every person that fills out an entry form or thinks up a catchy slogan but no, on the contrary, it was in danger of becoming a nightmare.
It seems that many competition promoters are using voting systems as a means of judging. This can be as simple as getting the most 'likes' on a facebook comment or one vote per day running over the course of weeks or, as in the case of the Volkswagon competition, one vote per email address. On the face of it, this might seem a fair system, everybody has the ability to judge for themselves which entry they consider the best and register their vote. In reality, few people would actually have the time or the inclination to look at each of the entries and make a decision based on merit. What actually happens is the contestant who manages to court the most internet users by means fair or foul will generally triumph. If you are a ruthless self promoter with no morals, you will be rewarded.
The VW competition offers prizes of family holidays as an incentive to vote. There is nothing to stop you putting a link to your particular entry on every competition forum on the internet saying vote for me and WIN. Busy people with their eye on a prize draw may well do just that without giving it a moment's thought - the click of a button for the chance to win a holiday - you don't even have to watch the video you are voting for!! As any competition can only be posted once on the forums, the person who gets there first with their link is going to capitalise on all that traffic. The moral thing would be to post the link to the page displaying all three entries and let the voters make a choice. Of course, this did not happen.
Unfortunately, dangling a carrot the size of a £20+K family car is going to bring out the worst in people.
Rather than a 'may the best man win' attitude coupled with a genuine appreciation of what a fantastic competition it had been up until this point and a camaraderie born out of a shared experience, the whole thing took on a rather nasty face. It is one thing to boast and gloat and generally slag other people off in the privacy of home or your local pub, but to do it in such a public arena as Twitter and Mumsnet (to name just two) is unpleasant. For a 'Superhero' competition, some of the behaviour was frankly less than heroic! My poor sister felt totally violated and angry at herself for being so naive as to think that people would play nice! She was on the verge of tears and we were all so disappointed that this horrible black cloud was now tainting what had been such a positive and wonderful family experience.
There was a silver lining to the cloud though. The genuine support of family and friends which spread to friends of friends was quite overwhelming. There was an explosion of love on the internet last night! We even managed to claw back a couple of percent on the voting!
It does make you stop and think. What is more important - integrity, honesty, kindness and love or a free car at any cost?