Contests We’re Not Fond Of – GAP Adventures

November 30, 2006 is currently promoting a contest for G.A.P Adventures, the “Win an adventure to Africa!” contest.

The entry form mentions the prize “… win a 9 day Masai Mara Experience in Kenya!…” Sounds exciting but after reading the official rules and regulations, the prize description is not at all appealing. What the winner actually receives is “…one G.A.P Adventures tour – Masai Mara Experience (DCM). Retail Value of prize package $870. The prize does not include airfare…This prize must be accepted as rewarded, it is non-transferable and has no cash value.”

I have a few issues with this description. What does the actual prize include? Hotel? Ground transportation? Can the winner take any travel partners with him/her? A winner really shouldn’t have to pay for airfare to another continent for a prize like this. You may find other contests that do not include transportation as a part of the prize but typically they offer prizes that are local, within province or within driving distance. It is good practice to include airfare when the winner must travel outside there country or continent. For a company that boasts $100 million in revenues, the least they could do if they are set against airfare or transportation, is to offer cash equivalent for the prize.

I doubt they’ll have a many people entering this contest…or at least a satisfied winner.


Cheezey Ways To Build Your On-Line Marketing Database

November 26, 2006

The folks over at Mirvish are promoting the upcoming musical, We Will Rock You, with a contest offering a trip to London. The contest promises the opportunity to meet Queen.


However, the contest doesn’t let consumers participate unless they sacrifice an email address nice folks at Mirvish. While it may not be perfectly contrary to PIPEDA, it certainly is a violation of best practice.

The contest can be found here.

(I also want to know how I can meet Freddie Mercury)

Contests We’re Not Fond Of –

November 24, 2006

Oh boy, this is not good. Last week, Intuit launched their ProFile In Paradise contest, promoting their ProFile tax software.


While the prize itself is appealing–a trip to the Bahamas (did someone say “Bahamas”?)–there are some fundamental problems with this particular contest.

The contest entry form asks the right kind of marketing research questions and we understand the reasons to ask those questions, we’d argue that making those fields mandatory on the entry form is perhaps not contest best practice.

That aside, this is the significant issue–when one develops a contest microsite, one might want to test it first:


There isn’t any evidence that this microsite is actually capturing contest entry data. Hopefully, this is remedied quickly.

Contests We’re Not Fond Of – Toyo Canada

November 7, 2006

This Toyo Canada contest is so bad that I actually thought about not commenting on it. Yes, we’ve seen much worse, but no matter how you slice it, this is not good work. Now, for a respected tire company, Toyo does make some great tires and, in fact, I’ve raced on some. Toyo is also the official tire supplier for Speed World Challenge, which is some of the most exciting road racing anywhere on the planet.

However. Deep breath.

Ignoring the childhood lesson I learned from Bambi, here’s why we’re not so fond of this contest:

– circa 1996 web technology

– entry form layout

– lack of an opt-in

– there are dead links to any sort of “prize package” description

– “um, where are the contest rules?”

– those colours!

– the dreadful copy (“please press once only”?)

Toronto Star Why Ask Why Ends Well

October 30, 2006

I received my thank you email from the Toronto Star this morning:


This is the perfect way to end the Why Ask Why contest that has engaged players on a consistent, daily basis. Thank you, Toronto Star, for thanking me. It’s far more than what other similar contests do.

The email also includes a subtle and tasteful ask for subscriptions and classifieds.

Well done, Toronto Star. We hope the contest has been a success.

A Clever Tourist Contest

October 30, 2006

While strolling through the very touristy downtown Nassau, Bahamas this weekend, we saw one of the most clever retail contests we’d come across in a long time. Sorry, no links or photos of the actual contest, so I’ll have to describe it here.

One of the many jewelery stores on the main drag featured a poster which was promoting their contest about “win a trip back to the Bahamas”. It was a clever way to get you into their store and differentiated this store from all the others we walked by.

I have to throw in just one Bahamas photo. This is Atlantis, enjoy!


Contests We’re Not Fond Of – Vachon

October 23, 2006

Instant win contests can be used in a lot of fun and interesting ways. Generally, we see them in retail and this fall we seem to be working on more than a few.

While this contest is not one we’re working on, it’s worthwhile to review here in this blog. The Vachon Sweet Taste Of Retirement contest uses instant win for their standard prizes, but also prize indemnity for their match-and-win grand prize, $50,000 a year for life (or a $900,000 lump sum). The contest scratch cards appear in a number of Vachon products, like this Jos. Louis box.



The design of the box sticker and ballot are OK, but the sticker is perhaps a bit difficult to see at retail. Perhaps contest-specific packaging might make sense.


On our contest card, we received the “V”, but otherwise didn’t win an instant win prize.

Why are we not fond of this one? The most significant shortcoming is the lack of an odds statement within the contest rules, since this is a legal requirement for Canadian contests. Vachon certainly knows the odds for the instant win prizes and, despite what their ‘statistician’ may say, the odds for the match-and-win grand prize are calculable. At minimum, this is misleading to consumers and not a course of action we recommend to clients.