Brands, Competitions and Votes: the new scam

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Brands, Competitions and Votes: the new scam

There is a modern strategy used by brands to boost image, magnet followers, and make a lot of money – competitions. It is cost-effective and it promotes participation without people seeing beyond the veil for what it really is – a scam (dishonest scheme).

For instance, hymnodia began as a new brand forged by a viable idea – music. She knows that every Nigerian youth is drawn to music and while there are multitude of talents wasting away, there are a dearth of music scholarships and awards in Nigeria. Hymnodia was bound to succeed. Quickly, she was able to get sponsors. But sadly, what seemed like a non-profit organisation or paid-for competition became a massive money making machine.

First, contesters must do the marketing work of getting their friends and acquaintances to follow hymnodia social handles, like, comment and vote for contesters by making payment. Then, at every stage of the competition, contesters must solicit for friends and acquaintances to lose money to hymnodia so they could win the competition.

At first, Nigerians were proud to support friends and make payments to vote, now, Nigerians are awake from their slumber and are asking the right questions – What happened to the sponsored prizes? why do hymnodia need to make money from us? Is hymnodia answerable to authorities for money being made? Is she paying taxes? More importantly, is it ethical that contesters should be making money for a brand in order to get the promised prize for a competition? Why should we have to pay to vote? What is the product or service by which payment is solicited? It is not certain if hymnodia would receive the whooping income she received at the previous edition.

Recently, ICPC in celebration of her 20th anniversary introduced a similar trend, but adopted an ethical stand - voting is free. Contesters would have to influence followers and bring engagement to ICPC site. Followers would have to register their information with ICPC, but Nigerians do not mind since they will not be paying a dime.

There are many brands today doing the same thing with hymnodia – Big Brother Naija is one of such. De Critic is questioning the appropriateness of such a scheme. The word competition is from the late Latin word competitio and it means – a contest for a prize or award. It is a scheme designed to foster unity, learning, boost morale to action, etc. It presupposes the giver is the one giving to honour the contestant and not the other way round.

While humanity can swallow the marketing/PR idea of creating engagement, social media followers and awareness through competitions, it is sickening of brands to use same as an avenue for generating income from the populace, where no real product or service is returned. It is a scam and it should be stopped.

What do you think? lend your voice in the comments below.

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Written by Emmanuel Okonkwo
Emmanuel Okonkwo is a professional content/creative writer; a critic and a lawyer. He is the founder of De Critic. He is a published writer internationally and locally. He holds Bachelor Degrees in Law and Philosophy; Diploma Degree Music, Content Writing & Marketing; and a Masters Degree in Law. He has written for some of the world best marketing agencies, influencers, blogs and magazines. He is crazy, rational, fun and balanced.