Brewdog’s ‘Willy Wonka’ style competition to find gold beer cans sees some customers claim delivery drivers are tampering with boxes to sneak a look

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Beer lovers were excited to learn that Brewdog has hidden 10 gold cans in online deliveries this month, with lucky recipients receiving prizes worth up to £25,000.

The Scottish beer firm launched the ‘Willy Wonka’ style promotion earlier in November, shipping out 10 ‘solid’ gold cans to customers in its 12-pack Punk IPA boxes.

It is likely many have been snapping up orders in the hopes of finding one of the cans, with two prizes already claimed. 

However, some of those receiving deliveries are accusing drivers of opening the cases up beforehand.

a display case: Brewdog is running a promotion where Punk IPA drinkers can win a gold can worth £25,000

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Brewdog is running a promotion where Punk IPA drinkers can win a gold can worth £25,000

Many are speculating they are doing so to find the gold cans and claim the prize for themselves, with a swap with a regular can of Punk IPA easy to make. 

Although Brewdog’s tweet shows a solid gold can, the actual winners will receive just regular can of beer with a gold sticker wrapped around the outside.

In the sticker is an email to contact to claim their prize and a unique code to verify it is genuine. But this would be quite easily visible to anyone who opens up the case. 

Jeremy Stern, chief executive of PromoVeritas, promotional compliance experts, said: ‘A real gold one would have been very difficult to make as well as very heavy. 

‘It is also the case that a consumer is paying money for 12 cans of beer, so legally it needs to get 12 cans of beer.’

Any consumer who wins the prize can then trade the gold stickered can for a solid gold one, worth £15,000.

Other prizes include £10,000 in Brewdog shares and a tour with founders James Watt and Martin Dickie at their site in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

Despite the gold can actually being a regular one, questions still remain over how this sort of competition can be regulated.

For example, if a delivery driver did happen to find the gold can, albeit it a stickered version not a solid 24 carat one, could they claim it as their own?

Stern said: ‘Most probably yes. Most promotional terms would say “employees and their families are excluded” but firstly few check it and also what is the definition of family?

‘In this case, the delivery drivers are unlikely to be employees of Brewdog, they will be working for a logistics company, so would not be covered by this exclusion. 

‘Lets say a lorry driver does find one, if he is clever he will give it to someone else to claim and Brewdog would never know. But even if he claimed it himself, it is impossible to check whether he has a connection to the promotion or works as a driver.’ 

Usually, this type of promotion needs to be run fairly, securely and in accordance with the CAP Code.

The CAP code, introduced by the Advertising Standards Authority, is described as the rule book for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications.

Stern said under the CAP code there is a specific clause that says participants in instant-win promotions must get their winnings at once or must know immediately what they have won and how to claim without delay, unreasonable cost or administrative barriers.

Instant-win tickets, tokens or numbers must be awarded on a fair and random basis and verification must take the form of an independently audited statement that all prizes have been distributed, or made available for distribution, in that manner.

a close up of a bottle and a glass of beer on a table: Promotions such as the gold can should follow the CAP code, which is set out by the ASA

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Promotions such as the gold can should follow the CAP code, which is set out by the ASA

Stern said: ‘There are only ten gold cans available – so it is really an instant lose promotion for 99.99 per cent of purchasers. The winning cans are buried inside the middle of a can of 12 packs, so it should be visible under normal circumstances.

‘But, and this is the crucial point, the ten cans needs to be distributed with great care and consideration. Most companies running this type of promotion, will distribute them in the factory/brewery, in theory randomly across the entire production and over a long period of time.

‘If done properly, this method can be okay, especially if there is a volume of low value prizes, but we would not recommend it for low volumes of high value prizes.’

There are several problems with this type of competition, he adds, namely that factory staff can intercept winning packs, if not carefully controlled. There is no suggestion this has happened here.

In a fast moving factory, packs get damaged and then just get chucked, so there is a risk that a winning pack never leaves the factory.

There is also the risk that lorries crash or catch fire, and winning can are destroyed.

Brewdog’s promotion is only available through home deliveries as if they were sold in stores as well, that could cause extra problems.

Stern added: ‘These type of instant wins have been running for over 15 years, including the Hunt the Cadbury Crème Egg, where there were occasional stories of shop staff and consumers scratching eggs in shops to see if they were the winning white ones.

‘Those delivery drivers or retail staff supposedly tearing a section of the pack to see inside for a gold can, are going to be disappointed. The winners will be hard to spot unless fully unwrapped.

‘In reality, those seeking to “pinch and peek” will be sorely disappointed and are on a pointless mission.’ 

In the UK you can set this sort of promotion without any authorisation or permission. 

However, firms are advised to follow the CAP Code. It is an Industry Code and is therefore, voluntary.

It is largely enforced, for example, the public may raise a complaint then the ASA will investigate and publish their rulings.

DPD told This is Money in a statement: ‘We are not aware of any widespread issues, but we will always investigate any specific queries.’

This is Money has contacted Brewdog for comment.  

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