re the New McMILLIONS TV series on Sky. Just How Safe Are UK Prize Promotions ?
JUST HOW SAFE ARE MODERN DAY PRIZE PROMOTIONS
The $24m McMillions Scam could happen again says promotions company boss!
McMillions (on Sky from 27 May 2020) is the incredible story of how the marketing agency behind the famous McDonald’s Monopoly promotion in the USA carried out a massive fraud and stole $24 million in prize money over ten years. The six episodes follow the FBI investigation that uncovered the scam and led to over 50 people being indicted.
The series raises the question, just how safe are the prize promotions that are run by brands in the UK. Do they ever award those big prizes and do they do so fairly and securely? And could that level of fraud happen again ?
Jeremy Stern thinks it most definitely could. He is the founder of PromoVeritas, who for the past 20 years have been keeping prize promotions safe for the public and for big brands such as Cadbury, Kellogg’s and Walkers. ‘I started the company following a career in marketing, where I saw many bad situations. Winners being picked and then rejected because they shopped in the wrong store or lived too far from an airport or they were too old or didn’t fit the desired image of the brand. I wanted to provide an easy way for brands to run their promotions right – and follow the law and the rules of the Advertising Standards Association.’ Now the company he started in his back room, is responsible for over 1,500 promotions a year, awarding over 1 million prizes for promotions run in more than 50 countries. They are the guys who put the Golden Tickets in packs of Cadbury Crème Eggs, worth £10,000 each, judge facebook photo competitions and handle all the winners of weekly prize draws for 02. Just last month they oversaw the secure awarding of the top £1m prize in the Heart FM Make Me A Millionaire live on-air promotion.
‘The problem’ Stern says, ’is that promotional compliance is not considered enough at the right level. Lawyers might know what needs to be done, but not the mechanics, the creative agency is usually more interested in ‘the next big thing’ than in the mundane task of properly judging competition entries. And few brand managers think about the security risks of their great ‘Golden Ticket’ instant win idea – prize packs can ‘go missing’ anywhere along the distribution chain. But that is our niche, our area of expertise'.
Whether it is old school Golden Ticket or more modern unique code or web based entry routes, all of them have built in risk and they are just as open to being cheating, by internal staff and the consumer, as the McDonalds promotion was back in the 90’s.
Stern is open to answering all kinds of questions about the inner workings of modern day consumer prize promotions, what those risks are and they can be prevented – saving budgets and brand reputations. He can talk about the strict measures needed to stop cheats from beating the system, the loopholes they work hard to find and how in today’s digital age things get even more tricky.
Notes to Editors
PromoVeritas run promotions for some of the world’s favourite brands. Since 2002 we have shaped and implemented thousands of competitions, prize draws and instant wins for brands and agencies, globally.
For more information see www.promoveritas.com or contact 02 0 3325 6000. Jeremy Stern is available for interviews and additional comments
The Company's unique blend of legal, marketing and operational expertise ensures that even the most imaginative ideas can be transformed into promotions that run smoothly, fairly and with the least risk to budget or reputation. We provide peace of mind from promotional disasters, negative feedback, financial risk and legal issues across the world. Backed by a £10m indemnity insurance policy and ISO27001 data security accreditation, promoters can be reassured that their campaigns are run right from start to finish. The founder and CEO, Jeremy Stern, is the leading expert on promotional compliance.