Nissan comp backfires

25 November, 2011 Marketing

Nissan is in hot water after the ‘BFF’ (Best Friend Forever, they tell me) of a staffer managing its Facebook competiton won a $20,000 car, while a $1,250 voucher went to another personal friend. From the SMH:

On Monday Nissan announced that the winner of the free car was Zac Martin, a digital strategist with George Patterson Y&R.

Nissan’s customer experience channel co-ordinator, Simon Oboler, who runs Nissan’s Facebook and other social media pages, is described by Martin as his “BFF” [best friend forever] on his blog.

Additionally, one of the $1,250 voucher winners is Nina Igel, who is Facebook friends with Oboler.

Nissan Comp

Nissan claimed the selection of the winners was ‘above board’. When they announced the winner on Facebook they added: ‘with all honesty and the best of intentions, we wish you hadn’t won.’

While Nissan’s explanation of how this problem came about sounds like an honest mistake, it’s not good enough to simply have a ‘reasonable’ explanation of why things occured, you need to go above and beyond to ensure even the perception of improprietry is avoided – social media is an untamed beast that will turn on you if you give it even half a chance, as you can see above and as Coles Online and Qantas both recently found out.

At Appliances Online, to avoid the perception of impropriety, we make any competition we run based entirely on random chance, rather than a ‘judges opinion’, which involves applying for and obtaining state lotteries permits wherever applicable.

In addition, if Nissan had just included a clause in their terms and conditions that prevented family and friends from entering the competition, the winner’s entry could have been ruled invalid, keeping the competition, and the perception of Nissan entirely above board with their fans.

Compared to Qantas and Coles Online, Nissan got off lightly this time – there’s no doubt they’ll be refining their competition terms for next time…

2 Responses to “Nissan comp backfires”

  1. Hannah Law says:

    Great post John – I think part of the reason Nissan got so much heat for this was the way they handled it in terms of telling everyone the winner was someone’s close friend. It was an odd approach to take – I wonder if people would have noticed if they hadn’t been so open about it? Thanks for the link too :)

    • John Winning says:

      They might not have noticed, but it could have ended up worse when it came to light – and with professional compers on the prowl, I don’t think it would have taken long.

      I imagine the best route would have been to offer those two winners something minor as a consolation and then re-draw.

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