9 February 2012 - 9:50am | posted by | 8 comments

New Covent Garden Soup Co. panned for win a £500,000 farm competition... with no winner

New Covent Garden's promotionNew Covent Garden's promotion

The New Covent Garden Soup Co. has been slammed by customers after announcing that its 'win a £500,000 farm' competition had no winner.

The brand offered the "life-changing prize" as part of an advertising campaign that began last year. Customers were urged to redeem promotional codes found on packs to stand a chance of winning.

But yesterday New Covent Garden wrote on its Facebook page: "Unfortunately, no one was lucky enough to win themselves a farm this time round."

This prompted a scathing response from the brand's Facebook fans, with several describing the outcome as disappointing and unfair.

Janette Leonard wrote: "shocking, I think we got take (sic) for a ride."

Nigel Parrott, New Covent Garden's group marketing director, told The Drum: "We understand that some consumers are disappointed with the fact that there was no guarantee of the farm being won. We would never seek to disappoint our consumers and have taken their comments very seriously.

"When consumers entered the competition, the code from their pack was randomly assigned a number which was checked against our prize database to determine whether or not it was a winner.

"As stated clearly in the terms and conditions, although the farm was available to be won, there was no guarantee that it would be won. Unfortunately no one won the grand prize this time.

"We have taken our consumers’ feedback on board for out next promotion."


9 Feb 2012 - 16:57
Jeff Albertson's picture

Someone bought some £1 soup and they didn't win a farm? I hope this poor individual has been offered counselling for this shocking event.

9 Feb 2012 - 17:18
peter15381's picture

£1 soup, you're kidding, this stuff is more overpriced than every product that a Co-op late shop sells. No-one won though, they've got to be kidding and what a pathetic excuse that "read the T&Cs". A typical stupid client response.

9 Feb 2012 - 17:36
Jeff Albertson's picture

You're right. I had some once.They owe me big time. I shall expect the deeds for my farm in the post tomorrow or I'll really give them what for on Facebook. I think I'll have cows and maybe some of those furry chickens.

9 Feb 2012 - 20:25
katiecohen's picture

but why would you believe anything they said ever again if they don't even tell the truth about a competition? trust? loyalty?

it's not the farm and someone not winning it, because they are a sore loser or just really really wanted a farm..it's what it represents by its lack of existence, and the perception that they dodged a £500K bill by not finding a winner for their "grand prize." poor show.

10 Feb 2012 - 11:12
Jeff Albertson's picture

But you don't have to 'find' a winner for a competition. If no one wins it, there's no winner, I don't get why people don't grasp that fact. And no , I don't work for a soup company, I run a comic book store.

22 Feb 2012 - 11:49
Stew@BlueChip's picture

To offer one prize as an Instant Win on millions of packs is totally legal, it’s just a bit mean.

Instant Wins work best on fast consumption products like chocolate, crisps and soft drinks where it doesn't matter too much if you lose because you've got another chance to play tomorrow.

Even then it’s better to have thousands of lower value prizes so that lots of people actually win something and tell their friends. That’s why Walkers do £5 notes or coupons in envelopes, so we all feel we might win. This example is an INSTANT LOSE for most shoppers, even if they do bother to enter their code.

If you are going to do a single ‘money can’t buy’ style prize, it’s far better to make it a draw or a competition so you know that someone will actually win it. Of course this costs more money and was probably beyond Covent Garden’s budget. It’s a shame because it was a really nicely executed pack and a great link to the brand.

Stewart Hilton (Creative Director - Blue Chip Marketing)

23 Feb 2012 - 09:33
super82830's picture

People rarely read competition T&Cs - companies have been running promotions like this one for years, and the top prize is hardly ever claimed! The problem these days is the existence of Facebook and Twitter - when your customers are annoyed and the discontent goes viral, it ends up a complete nightmare for your brand. Next time - do a prize draw from all the entries (and it doesn't need to be such a huge prize after all - Dorset Cereals got plenty of interest just for a camper van!)

24 Feb 2012 - 10:36
paul1976's picture

I'm surprised no-one has asked them what they are now going to do with the farm, seeing as they appear to be keeping hold of it. Where is it? Will they have to halt the potential sale of the property to a new owner? Will a farmer be employed to run the farm now NCG are keeping it?

Or did the farm ever exist? I'm not suggesting it doesn't but possibly not the best bit of pr around customer loyalty. As one commentator said, would you trust them again?

No-one is saying they were dishonest, but the campaign wasn't managed well and perhaps smaller prizes might be the route to go down. At least this way, someone can claim victory


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