Competition: Nah… just kidding
If you’ve never admined a Facebook page, worked for a PR company, manned the phones at a radio station or similar, there’s a phenomenon you may never have heard of. Here in the Ramp Basement, we call them serial competition enterers. We could probably come up with better, but we don’t like to dwell on the situation too much. But let us acknowledge it just once, to get it off our collective chest.
Like and Share. Retweet to Win. Tell us your favourite. Comment with your name. Be caller ten. Text us in. Email your answer to. Every waking moment of the day there are brands and companies out in the world coming up with competition mechanics, prizes and conditions. They don’t do it just to be sound. Usually, competitions have strict objectives around gaining followers, increasing brand awareness, publicising a new product, building audience engagement and so on. In essence, though you may just like and share or fire off a text, somebody has put a lot of thought into budgets, timelines, return on investment, entry mechanics and figuring out the exact value of giving something away.
Are we asking you to spare a thought for the marketing execs of the world?
No. Today we focus on the people who enter competitions.
We like to think of ourselves as average. We’ll fire off a mail if we see something we’d really like to win. We might click Like since it’s easy and the prize is decent. But ultimately, we couldn’t tell you the last time we pulled together a witty limerick or sent seven competition entries in a row. And that’s probably in line with exactly how most people treat the opportunity to win free stuff.
On the flipside of the coin are the regulars. The same names cropping up every time you give away so much as a free packet of TicTacs. It’s harmless, so we don’t pass comment. Only, because we’re a hive mind we have between us admined competitions for more than one site. Been in other offices and other places where the same names crop up. Noticed enough weirdness to investigate more.
Reader, it could be your mother or your neighbour. Hell, it could be you. But out there in the wilds of the internet, there are people who click ‘Like’ and fire off entry emails FOR A FUCKING LIVING. The stories we could tell. We’ve heard tales of lists of people who are banned from winning any more stuff from brands. We’ve seen with our own eyes online forums where people inform each other of new competitions along with the entry mechanism and the answer, wishing each other luck as they go. We’ve clicked through enough scant profiles to know when someone has created a few dozen personas solely for the purpose of trying to win free shit. Worse again, we’ve clicked on names far too frequently only to be greeted with profiles wedged with entries to giveways for anything from a hotel stay to an umbrella. We’ve had people mail in to ask if they can also enter for their elderly aunt or parent who doesn’t have internet access. We’ve had inboxes cry under the weight of several dozen efforts from the one entrant. We’ve encountered people who’ll flat out lie to meet entry criteria to win prizes that could never be of any use to them.
Why write about it? Why let it bother us?
Well, in one way we’re curious. What’s the point? How could you possibly want to accumulate that much clutter? Where do you find the time to enter that much? HOW do you find out about new competitions so quickly? Aren’t you exhausted by the sheer scale of your enterprise? Not even in our most depraved moments of boredom have we ever considered firing out 50 Reasons Why We’d Like To Win A Box of Teatowels or the like. And most of all, where do you keep it? Because we’ll be honest, the living room scene we’re picturing involves a bit of an obstacle course in terms of getting around the multitudes of accumulated crap in order to answer the door to the postman and sign for more bilge.
So yes, on the one hand, curiosity and perhaps a little shock. But then, exasperation. Don’t you feel a little disingenuous? Aren’t you aware that you’re ruining the fun for everyone else? What makes you think it’s in any way sound to have a zillion profiles from which to increase your chances? People give away things in the hopes of alerting you to how great something is so that you will, should you so afford, considering buying more. If you’ve entered enough like and shares to have a repetitive strain injury and you answer to fourteen different versions of your name, you’re no craic and of no benefit to anyone.
You see, there’s nothing we can do about it. The winner is the winner as chosen at random. And sometimes that’s annoying. So we just wanted to call it out. We don’t so much care if someone won the 20th free phone from some multinational, but what did the start-up giving away a box of their cupcakes ever do to deserve the uselessness of a few hundred entries from people who wouldn’t hand over cash for water in the desert?
Yeah, there could be. But what – a boycott? That’d be a boon. Because don’t get us wrong, we LOVE to see genuine Joe Soaps dropping us a line in pursuit of a few gig tickets or an oul DVD. We adore the sincerity of people’s surprise and delight when they win something they really, really wanted. That’s why we say yes when people ask us to give away this stuff. It’s not cos we really like posting things, you know. So yes, boycott away serial competition enterers. Good day to you.