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

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No competition: why contests just aren't working anymore

Competitions don't work

We've all been there. You've got a budget of £X to bring in #Y new Facebook 'likes'... then some bright spark asks aloud: "What's the point of all these new 'likes'? These people are only 'liking' us to win a prize. Most of them are obsessive compers, sharing with other compers - none of whom would ever dream of spending real money with us."

That bright spark is a total git who's ruined everything... but he does have a point.

Back in the day, magazines ran competitions to add value for their readers - a brand would stump up a prize, get some promo, the readers would read about a product, get excited, maybe win a little something - everyone's a winner. In time, TV and radio picked up the baton and ran comps as programme-fillers and break-bumpers, generic 'content' to fill up shows. Then someone realised that premium-rate phonelines could earn production companies money on every entry and... well, the s* hit the fan.

With the explosion of social media, then, it seemed natural to extend competitions to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. And, for a time, that was fine. It helped brands engage with audiences and gave punters reasons to navigate through the social maze to their Pages. But now? Well, besides cute cat pics, competitions account for most of what you see on a lot of commercial social media pages. And the total value of these relentless giveaways? Devalued brands, devalued products, 'fanbases' who couldn't care less about the companies they're following and absolutely no real-terms value in return.

As for engaging genuine customers - well, at best, a competition postpones a purchase decision ("I would

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