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SMS Campaign Watch – Part 1. 7UP Text to Win Competition

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This is the first in a series of blog posts looking at current on-pack sms based promotions. Casting a critical eye, from the consumer’s perspective, campaigns will be rated on a number of factors such as ease of entry, clarity of instructions, creative impact etc.

The problem we’ve found with most on pack sms based promotions is that there are so many agencies involved that no one is in overall charge of how the whole thing will come across to the consumer. I’ve had a rant about 3 sms campaigns in the past, 2 from Coke and 1 from Volvo, so the idea here is to bring a bit of structure to the criticism.

So first under the spotlight comes 7UP with their recent campaign, giving customers the chance to win a series of excellent prizes, including a snorkelling trip to Barbados.

7Up – text to Win – On Pack Promotion

7Up text to win competitionCreative Impact – Score 8.5 /10

This is much stronger than the average on pack text to win competition. The potential prizes on offer are clear and they have a broad appeal which should attract a wide target audience. Usually the creative is restricted to a ridiculously small corner of the packaging but the promoters have been brave enough to make the positioning large and clear.

“I like the idea of the snorkelling in Barbados – cool” Emily Cazalet – consumer panel.

Entry Instructions – Score 5/10

It’s always a surprise how poor these often are and sadly this campaign is no exception. On the main panel it doesn’t actually tell you what to do next. You might expect the instructions to say something along the lines of, ‘To enter, text the code on reverse of this wrapper to 88802.’ But no, not a thing, you have to assume that they’ll be something if you can wrestle the wrapper off the bottle. Disappointing.

Ease of Entry – Score 8/ 10

Entry to the text to win competition is easy enough. The code itself is large and legible. My only minor grumble would be that the code is 11 characters long. This is excessive; it only needs to be 7 or 8 characters to derive billions of possible combinations.

What happened Next? – Score 3/10

I was left somewhat bemused by the automated response that came back to me after a few seconds.

You’re entered into the final draw to win £1000 – we’ll let you know after 21.11.2001 if you’ve won.

Err, but I was after a snorkelling holiday. There was no mention of a £1000 prize. Have I missed something? No, I rechecked the bottle. I did then notice that the campaign had actually finished and our local Tesco was still stocking the old bottles. So this short code must be being used for an entirely different sms campaign, I wonder if I’ve been charged? They should really have returned a message stating that the competition had ended.

Terms and Conditions – Score 4/10

7Up score good points on this sms promotion by keeping the on pack terms and conditions to a reasonable length. They undo all the good work however by charging me 25 pence to enter the sms competition. This is a bit sneaky frankly. It feels like the bad old days of the crazy frog ringtone era. I’m baffled as to why big brands do this; just because it’s possible to charge for entry to the competition it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. The cost is inevitably buried in the terms and conditions and most people wouldn’t have had a clue that they were being charged to enter. The argument goes that you charge the consumer to help ‘offset’ the costs of the competition.

I’m not an expert on the Phone Pay Plus regulations on running premium rate sms competitions but I was under the impression that if you wanted to charge for entry, then you needed to incorporate an element of ‘skill’, otherwise you’re just running a lottery which requires a special and very expensive licence. Perhaps someone could let me know if I’m right on this.

Overall Score 28.5 / 50 – 57%

Some really strong elements to this sms campaign but it’s let down by a couple of absolute howlers, namely charging 25 pence and failing to tell consumers how to enter.



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