Why Some People Think Contests Are Scams

One of the main four objections marketers must overcome when persuading people to enter their contest is: “I don’t enter because they are scams.”

So why do people think contests are scams?  Companies in the United States spent over $2 billion last year running legitimate promotions giving away hundreds of millions of dollars away in prizes.

People think contests are scams because when famous business people, like Gene Simmons (@genesimmons), hold a contest and then do not award the prize, it seems like a scam.

Last April, KISS announced a contest. Fans would vote and the North American cities with the most votes would have a KISS concert held in their city. (Prelude to a KISS concert.)  The city of Oshawa ON came out on top and won the contest by having the most votes (14,569).

Today, KISS announced their “First Ever Fan-Routed Tour” concert schedule. Oshawa wasn’t on the list. What?!  It seems that the band has not chosen to honor their own contest. Instead, they selected more “traditional” cities and venues. (Oshawa’s KISS good-bye.)

The rock icon could not be reached for comment but a band spokesman said “a few situations” required placing shows in neighbouring market concert venues.

“This was necessary to make sure that all regional fans get a chance to see KISS with the band’s full stage production,” said spokesman Erik Stein.

In other words, KISS can’t make as much money on Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie as they can in major markets, such as Toronto.

So, what was the point of holding the contest, when they never had any intention of awarding the prize?

Every marketer can now thank Gene Simmons for making their job, just that much harder.

NOTE: One hour after I blogged about the lack of a concert, KISS announced it would play in Oshawa after all.  I find it interesting they had to receive international negative publicity before they fulfilled their prize commitment.

2009-08-25T19:16:46+00:00 August 25th, 2009|Marketing|3 Comments

About the Author:

Carolyn Wilman (aka @ContestQueen) is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Sweepstakes Specialist. Carolyn teaches others how to Find, Organize, Enter and Win giveaways along with working with companies to create, and viral market, winning promotions maximizing ROI and loyal customers.


  1. spamgirl August 26, 2009 at 9:53 am - Reply


    Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud – Oshawa will get its KISS concert after all.

    Band manager Doc McGhee announced last night that KISS will be playing Oshawa’s GM Centre on Oct. 7. “After the outpouring of emotion we saw today, there was no way we could follow our original plan and make you wait until a later tour leg,” McGhee said. “You’ll now be getting a special record release show. Oshawa, we promise a good time.”

  2. spamgirl August 26, 2009 at 7:47 pm - Reply


    Gene Simmons Blames Media For Spoiling Oshawa Surprise

    Kiss frontman Gene Simmons says the media is to blame for spoiling a surprise the band had in store for Oshawa, Ont.

    Earlier this year, Kiss asked fans around the world to go to their website and vote for their hometown to be included in the band’s next big tour.

    Oshawa finished first among all cities, but when the dates for the tour were announced this week, the Ontario city was left off the list.

    Fans and politicians in Oshawa were outraged and Kiss eventually announced that it will play the city on Oct. 7.

    But Simmons says the media stoked the flames of the angry fan backlash and ruined what was supposed to be a surprise.

    Simmons says the band had planned all along to launch its new album, “Sonic Boom,” in the city, but was forced by the media to make the announcement early.

    “I’m really pissed off at the media for creating this nonsense,” Simmons told The Canadian Press in an interview.

    “You know, here’s the history of the way we do things: you treat everything and everybody special, and because of who and what Oshawa is, which is near and dear to our hearts, because (they) won the No. 1 spot above and beyond New York, L.A., Toronto, Vancouver, we wanted to do a huge campaign.”

    “(The media) never gave us a chance to treat Oshawa special.”

  3. Christina August 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    If the first few contests I’d ever entered had been like the Kiss contest, I never would have entered again!

Leave A Comment