It’s a time honoured marketing strategy that works well – running a competition. You know the formula – send us a picture of your family enjoying our products to be in with a chance to win that product.
It works well, a winner and some runners up get prizes and the kudos of telling their friends they won. The company uses the winning photos to announce the winners and get publicity for their products. Win-win.
However, sadly I’ve come across a few big companies that I feel are exploiting this strategy.
I recently entered a Tesco & SMA competition to win a 200 euro voucher for the best weaning story.
A week later I got an email with no mention of the competition or winners. It said they liked the photo I had sent and wanted to use it in a compilation promotional video to be shared on social media. All I had to do was agree to the attached terms and conditions.
Being old fashioned I decided to read the terms and conditions, and they said I would be signing over all rights to the photo forevermore, which seemed a bit extreme.
I politely responded to say I would consent to the photo being used in the weaning video, but I wouldn’t want it being used for anything else in future without me knowing. I’ve heard the stories of guys that signed over the rights to photos only to end up the face of erectile disfunction on billboards. I don’t want similar happening with a photo of my baby.
Tesco responded to say that wasn’t possible and once the photo was in the database it wouldn’t be possible to tell me what else it would be used for.
They said this was in addition to and separate from the competition, which is why their email made no mention of winners.
I was pretty gobsmacked. I had entered a competition, and suddenly they want full unrestricted ownership of my photo. I politely told them to stuff off.
This isn’t a win-win situation. In return for one 200 euro prize they get access to hundreds of entrants photos, which would cost much more from a photo agency. Sadly to me this seems exploitative.
I won’t let it put me off entering competitions, because they can really help small businesses, but I will be reading the terms and conditions carefully, and big companies that try to take advantage can stuff off.