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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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12 Responses

  1. I think this is ome of the fastest ways to collect money from the unsuspecting public. First, a brand appears to be in support of creativity and impressive ideas, then asks people to crowdfund to choose a winner of theirs. When the crowdfunding is over, they pay, let’s say 10% of the collected money to the eventual winner and keep the rest.

    It is a very potent strategy they rinse and repeat.

  2. I have always had this opinion that these shows that compel people to vote in order to save the contestants are SCAMS! Thank you for putting up this write up.

  3. I tell people who ask me to pay and vote not to disturb me.
    I mean, do these brands think we are stupid?

  4. Is it possible the provision of the video clip for readers to watch, is the service or product offered?

    • Dear Peter, thanks for your thought.
      In my humble view, the problem with that thinking is that there is no such contract stating you pay to watch.
      Also, those who do not pay to get to watch the clips on social media can still watch. So to what end?

  5. This is a wonderful reading. Wonderful strategy I must confess. However, the aspect of asking people to pay is flawed – I agree with the author.

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Emmanuel Okonkwo

Emmanuel Okonkwo is a professional content/creative/copywriter; and a critic. He is a published writer internationally and locally; the founder and editor of DeCritic. He holds a bachelor degree in Philosophy & Communications; a diploma degree in Copywriting & Marketing; and others. Crazy right? He has worked for and written for some of the world best marketing agencies, influencers, blogs and magazines. He is unique, rational, fun, radical and balanced.

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