As Big Brother fever once again sweeps the nation, Nestlé transformed itself into Willy Wonka in order to secure its slice of the marketing pie. With 5 complaints received by the ASA making allegations that the competition was fixed, who really found the golden ticket?
Who: Channel 4's Big Brother 7 and Nestlé's KitKat.
When: July 2006
Nestlé and Channel 4's Big Brother ran a Willy Wonka-style competition in which 100 lucky owners of golden tickets were entered into a draw to win a place in the Big Brother House and appear on the show. Lucky winners obtained their Golden tickets from KitKat chocolate bars with many being resold on the Internet for upwards of £3000. This ingenious advertising campaign taken straight from the storybooks has successfully put both Nestlé and Channel 4 in the limelight.
Five complaints about the Golden Ticket Promotion have been passed on to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The complaints are based on allegations that the competition was fixed ensuring that a pre-selected candidate would enter the House. It is the responsibility of the ASA to investigate whether the draw was made in accordance with the laws of chance and an independent observer was present as required by the CAP code.
Why it matters:
Unusual? Yes. Creative? Yes. However, this case highlights the need for marketers to consider the risks associated with running high impact, short-term sales promotion schemes such as this. If the small print is carefully considered, this deal may be more carefully thought out than an initial glance would suggest. The promotion's terms and conditions state that a claimant will be selected "in a manner to be determined by Big Brother at its discretion". Furthermore, Nestlé had only claimed that finding a ticket would mean having a chance to go into the infamous House. This case study raises the age-old debate of whether all advertising is actually good advertising.
This Goldengate scandal, as the tabloids have dubbed it, underlines the trade offs firms face in the advertising world. In this case an advertising agency was not used so as to maintain secrecy; however, was this at the expense of potential damage to brand image? Only time will tell whether the gamble taken by Nestlé will give it a valuable edge with young audiences.