Prize promotions – public knowledge and understanding

Let me ask you a question. Who do you trust most? Your family and your friends, of course, and it’s the same when it comes to entering a prize promotion. According to the research into prize promotions which was carried out for Prizeology at the beginning of this year, 35% of people are more likely to enter a prize promotion if it’s shared by a family member and 31% are more likely to enter if a friend alerts them to the opportunity. I expected those responses to come out strongly and they did.

Colleagues are seen as somewhat less trustworthy at 18%, only just ahead of social influencers people are familiar with at 16%. Friends of friends and celebrities both polled 13%, with ‘anyone on social media’ not that far behind at 7%. Again, perhaps with the exception of the latter score (surely, people know better than that?) this was pretty much what I expected, but I have to admit I was slightly surprised by the highest trust rating, which was that 43% of the UK public are more likely to enter a prize promotion if it’s shared by a brand they recognise.

This is all good. Maybe it’s a little unexpected that people trust brands they know more than their nearest and dearest, but, by and large, they’re not wrong to do so, because most brands do run fair, legal and decent promotions with great prizes, so I feel this data points up that the UK public is generally fairly sensible and knows what’s what when it comes to promotions.

In many respects this was confirmed by another part of the Prizeology research, which probed what people understood promoters could do in relation to a prize promotion. Among the findings here were that 82% knew a promoter can send you emails if you opt in to receive further communications, 74% understood that a promoter can and indeed must make a winners’ list available on request, and 64% thought that a promoter can restrict who can enter a prize promotion, which of course it can, the most common restriction being on the grounds of age.

I’d say those are all healthy percentages and I’m comfortable with the fact that 60% knew a promoter cannot exaggerate your chances of winning a prize, 77% accepted that a promoter can ask a winner for proof of identity, 56% understood a promoter cannot ask for an administration fee, 58% realised a promoter cannot ask for a prize delivery fee and 69% knew it’s not legitimate for a promoter to ask for a fee to release a prize fund. All these stats indicate a very reasonable understanding of how prize promotions should operate.

However, I’m less comfortable with the finding that 30% thought the closing date of a prize draw can be changed, because it can’t, unless the circumstances are very – and I mean very – exceptional. Also, 22% believed that terms and conditions can be excluded, when they simply can’t. These two points are key to the way prize promotions should be run and around a third and a fifth respectively of the UK public don’t understand them.

This concerns me and tells me that the prize promotions industry needs to do some work on educating the public about what makes a prize promotion legitimate, because if people can’t tell the difference between a genuine prize promotion and a scam, not only are they as individuals at risk of falling victim to a scam, but it affects the reputation of the industry as a whole.

Anyway, I’m telling you all this because I find it interesting and professionally relevant, and think you might, too. This is actually the third in a short series of posts about the findings of the Prizeology research into people’s attitudes towards and understanding of prize promotions. The first was about what people do before they enter a prize promotion and you read it here. The second was about the contexts in which people are more likely to enter a prize promotion and you can read that here.

Also, just so you know, the research I’m referring to above was carried out by Vitreous World on behalf of Prizeology. It was based on 2015 interviews conducted between 30 January and 2 February 2018 with a nationally representative UK audience using an online methodology. Respondents were a minimum of 18 years old and quotas were placed on age, gender and region to ensure an accurate representation of the UK public demographic.

At Prizeology we know all about what a promoter should and shouldn’t do. We offer best practice advice, we’re strong on compliance and we consult on all sorts of promotional campaigns. Get in touch via

Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist and a National Trading Standards Scams Team Scambassador. 

© Prizeology and The Prizeologist Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.



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