Big Summer


How Not to Run a Text to Win Competition by Coca-Cola. Part 2.

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Since my last rather scathing report of Coke’s text to win competiton in April, I’ve been keeping a close watch on their latest competitions to see if they have made any improvements. The one that they ran with ASOS required enormous patience and persistence to enter successfully and the clunkiness must have had a bad impact on the overall numbers taking part.

Their latest text to win competition is also a simple enough affair. Text in the code to the 5 digit short code and you have the chance to win a ‘Kinect for Xbox’. My hopes initially rose that this competition was going to be easier to enter. The instructions on the bottle collar were legible enough, although I would have liked to have seen them in a larger and more distinct typeface than the rest of the dull terms and conditions.

Show me the code

Now to the competition entry itself. Let’s hunt down that elusive 12 digit code ‘etched on the bottle’ and text it in to 88855. Sounds simple enough. Following my efforts earlier in the year I knew that reading the code was going to require good light and a fair bit of bottle tilting so that the digits could actually be read.

The long and sadly illegible 12 digit code

So off comes the label, easy enough, so good so far. Yup, here’s the code etched on the bottle, now to text it in. Reach for mobile, send message to 88855. Now the code itself NF HH 5 8 or is that a B, no I think it’s another H. WMHR 8 or B 4.

Right let’s try that.

An autoresponse arrives a few seconds later..

“Sorry, we didn’t recognise your code. Please check the code carefully and try again. For help visit or call customer services on 0800 0288038.”

How helpful. At this point I lost patience and challenged my eagle-eyed daughter to correctly interpret the code and enter the competition. After 3 unsuccessful attempts, she helpfully suggested that if she drank the contents then we may be able to see the code more clearly. Failed attempt number 5 proved this wasn’t the case. So we all gave up.

So yet again it seems that a simple text to win competition has been truly ruined by longwinded instructions and illegible codes.

Who signed this campaign off for pity’s sake? I imagine the number of incorrect entries must be colossal and that the customer services number has been swamped with bewildered would-be entrants. I’d love to know the figures on this.

Coke have simply got come up with a better way of displaying codes. their ‘laser etched’ solution sounds cool but just isn’t practical. There’s also no need to have such a long code. This increases the chance of user error and challenges the endurance of even the most commited text to win fan.

I await the next Coke competition with interest.

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