Competitions don't work. This week: Xbox

This Xbox Competition Won't Work

via Xbox UK

Last week, we told you how competitions had absolutely stopped working, and how they're often massively counter-productive.

This week, we thought we'd illustrate the point by looking at a current comp from Xbox UK. Now, we're absolutely not here to criticise Microsoft or the UK Xbox social media team, who do a wonderful job for a fantastic product (we're massive fans). We're just wondering how well this is going to work for them.

There's a few obvious glitches. The entry mechanism requires that you follow @XboxUK on Twitter, then retweet the following tweet from @XboxUK: “I want to win a sack of Xbox swag. #AnXboxChristmas”

Unfortunately, this doesn't all fit into a standard tweet, nor is there any room to tell people what the prizes are, so they're running with this:

Xbox tweet

Inevitably, people on Twitter are assuming they simply need to retweet, but the Ts & Cs (which no one ever looks at) say they also need to follow. That's going to alienate a lot of punters. And, speaking of those Ts & Cs, they're actually hosted on Facebook - along with a list of the prizes. Cue angry Facebook fans wondering...

Comment on Facebook

Erk. You see, you just can't please people with competitions. They'll share like crazy, they'll enter like mad. But they'll get grumpy if they don't win and what have you actually gained at the end of it all? A bunch of followers who only ever wanted stuff for free. Not, we'd suggest, a great result.

Now, just imagine a Co-buy for some of the items Microsoft are giving away. Exclusive memorabilia like the Halo 4 shorts and hoodies are massively desirable to communities with which Xbox UK would love to engage. And people would be more than happy to pay money to get their hands these items - especially if the deal got better the more they shared with their friends. Now imagine if a gamification element were introduced where the person who shared the Co-buy most successfully got their swag for free? That's how you offer a prize as a reward, not simply at random.

The net result of all this? Just as much sharing and just as many new fans except:

a) Microsoft would have thousands of real email addresses for ongoing marketing, not solely social media followers

b) The people who participated would have shown a propensity to buy, rather than just a desire just to get something for nothing

c) It would be innovative and different. It would be fun!

We're doing something very similar in the new year for a global superbrand who are every bit as well-known and loved as Xbox, so we know this kind of thing works. We'd love to do the same for Microsoft. What do you say guys?

Robin Bresnark