Winners brassed off by Brewdog’s ‘solid gold’ prizes
It would seem all that glitters is not gold. In fact, this was certainly the case for winners of Brewdog’s recent gold can prize promotion. Actually, case is the operative work here, as beer drinkers were encouraged to find golden cans hidden in cases of beer. It was, if you like, a sort of Willy Wonka scenario that went, well, wonky, resulting in some somewhat less than golden PR for the Scottish brewer.
There were variations on the types of alcohol containers that were reproduced in the most precious metal of all, but basically the golden cans were distributed through UK supermarkets earlier this year via staggered campaigns.
However, let’s take a closer look at one of the sub-promotions, in which consumers had to purchase cases of a product called Hazy Jane from Brewdog’s own website. Do this and they stood a chance of winning £10,000 worth of Brewdog shares and a gold Hazy Jane can worth £15,000.
Leaving aside the shares, it’s a very nice prize – no doubt a golden beer can would look classy on your mantelpiece – and the lucky person who won it was Adam Dean, who lives in Shrewsbury. Having mowed the lawn he thought he deserved a treat, but when he went to get himself a can, he spotted something twinkling away in the box.
Adam told the BBC, “It said on the can ‘You’ve won a £15k 24 carat gold Hazy Jane can.’ Once I’d got over the shock I wanted to cover it on my house insurance. I got in touch with the can’s makers, Thomas Lyte, who told me it was actually brass with a 24-carat gold plating.
“I had it valued by a jewellery expert. He told me it was only worth £500. I’m just totally disappointed and I want it resolved. I legally entered a competition to win a solid gold can, but I’ve not got that. I asked for shares to make it up to £15,000 and Brewdog basically said no, so I called the ASA.” Apparently the ASA is indeed investigating.
Not worth its weight in gold
Another winner, Mark Craig, from Lisburn in Northern Ireland, also spoke to the BBC, telling them, “The past 18 months have been tough for everyone. I myself was made redundant and had plenty of need of extra cash. I wanted to sell the can and contacted Brewdog for any certification they had. The certificate they sent said it was gold-plated, but they promoted it as solid gold. When I contacted them they told me the ‘solid gold’ claim was an error.”
Brewdog’s statement in response, again quoted by the BBC, said, “We have reached out to Mark privately to apologise for the erroneous use of the phrasing ‘solid gold’ in some of the communications around the competition. Once the error was flagged by our internal teams, we immediately removed or changed all such mentions.”
It continued, “This error may have informed his complaint regarding the value of the can. Importantly, the phrasing in question was never included in the detailed terms and conditions of the competition, nor in the wording informing the lucky winners of their prize.” That’s true – the Ts&Cs don’t use the word ‘solid’, but I’ve seen promotional material for the promotion which did, underlining how important it is to keep a grip on not just the language of the promotion itself, but the language used to talk about it too.
According to the brewer, the £15,000 valuation was based on “multiple factors”, including the manufacturing price, metal and quality of the product, but because the cans are collectibles, the value is – and I love this phrase – “somewhat detached from the cost of materials”.
I’m somewhat reluctant to criticise someone else’s promotion, but quite frankly the terms and conditions for this promotion were rather all over the place. There’s definitely a skill to drawing up crystal-clear terms and conditions, particularly if you’re running a series of very similar promotions across several different outlets and timeframes, as Brewdog was. I’ll say no more, but obviously writing, er, solid terms and conditions is a skill Prizeology has…
If you’d like Prizeology to help you run a promotion, do give us a call on 020 7856 0402 or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Founder and Chief Prizeologist.