I love a competition, in 2010 I filled out my name and contact details in the carpark at Westfield and a few weeks later I got an email telling me I had won an IPad. Needless to say, I was hooked.

I’m no professional comper (yes, that’s a thing) and don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t quit my day job, but do spend a considerable amount of the little spare time I do have, entering various competitions. Whether this be a hamper of beauty products or a trip to New York, I think I am going to win, every, single, time.

Call me naïve, tell me I have as much chance as Leicester did of winning the league in 2016, but I’m hopeful on each occasion and I’m pretty disappointed when I don’t win. That said, I take some comfort (kind of) in the fact that I now know I am not the only one who’s not winning their dream prize. I take no comfort however, in the fact that the prize often may not even exist.

In the BBC’s recent article ‘Are competition lovers being ‘taken for a ride’ by prize funds?’ They explain it’s (and by ‘it’s’ they mean the deception) all in the wording – a competition might advertise thousands of prizes ‘available to be won’ but that doesn’t mean that these prizes are actually won – not everyone claims them. Now, whilst I’m no lawyer, I feel like this sounds pretty deceitful, possibly fraudulent and it also brings a huge sense of injustice. This all means that the small part of my brain that is reserved for comping, now rejects the brand and will never support it in any guise in the future.

I still hold a grievance about a catering company who took out a full page advert, promoting a competition for a full four course dinner to be catered in the comfort of your own home and all you had to do was send a tweet with their relevant hashtags. Obviously I did it straight away, and through all of my twitter searching since I think I was the ONLY person to enter – this is it, I have definitely won this time. But I hadn’t. Clearly the caterer thought the competition would drive more traffic than just little old me and they never announced a winner. The prize was mine for the taking yet the business clearly found a loophole or they simply didn’t choose anyone to win. That was two years ago. I won’t let it go. Whenever anyone mentions this catering company I tell them this story, and now I’m writing a blog about it. If they had never done the competition I would still think of them with only fond memories of the food they catered at a recent wedding I attended but I can’t forget. I won’t forget.  

As a communications professional, here lies my point. Competition is a wonderful tool to engage with a brand’s target audience and existing customers. However, it is clear some companies view them only as a marketing tool, driven by the brands desire for publicity and money. All communications tools should be about building trust, faith and support for your business, not just impacting your bottom end. I couldn’t be more disappointed.

In 2017 companies need to be more than this, they need at the very least - to do what they say they are going to do.

 I can’t tell you I won’t be entering anymore competitions, because I’ll live to win another day, but if I hear of one more brand of chips not giving their stash of prizes out, they will have some explaining to do.