It Will Be Fun, They Said. They Were Wrong.

Photo Credit: "Sad Clown" by Shawn Campbell
Photo Credit: “Sad Clown” by Shawn Campbell

Adapted from my post at Public Relations Matters from March 31, 2014.

Early in 2014, I thought it would be a lot of fun to participate in the Genghis Grill Health Kwest. I had the chance to win $10,000, and I got a gift card worth one free stir-fry bowl a day from the restaurant. It seemed like it would be a fun way to lose some weight and use my social media skills.

Wrong.

By the end of March, I chose to withdraw myself from the 2014 Health Kwest due to concerns I have with Genghis Grill’s ethics in the management of the contest. Some concerns I have are as follows:

  • not informing contestants about our (and their) obligation to disclose that GG provided free meals for us in exchange for our posts in social media
  • going against terms of service for multiple social media platforms (such as requiring us to post something on our personal Facebook profiles)
  • not providing objective criteria for judging the mini-contests (worth $300-$500) ahead of time
  • changing some of the orders/challenges the day that they are due (such as Sunday’s order that had been to record a video in a grocery store, and was changed on Sunday to something different)
  • recommending that we could “stage” photos of ourselves “enjoying” a specific beverage to post in social media
  • requiring a Yelp review (again, with no disclosure that we received free food)
And here are a few additional concerns with the contest rules.
  • The contest rules state that no additional purchase is needed to enter or win. However, several of the challenges/orders required contestants to purchase something from Genghis Grill or elsewhere (including Skinny Drinks, Red Diamond iced tea and Vitamin Water).
  • The contest rules state that 1,000 points are possible for weight loss, and 1,000 points are possible for social media. However, the top 30 contestants as of April 1 all have more than 2,000 points earned, and the contest isn’t over yet. How were these extra points earned? There has been no explanation.
  • The contest rules state that “each Genghis Grill bowl has an Approximate Retail Value of $599.” If this is the case, then the Health Kwest gift cards given to the contestants should be worth $599 x 61 (days) or $36,539.

I have addressed these concerns with Genghis Grill’s social media manager, the Senior Marketing Director, the Chief Marketing Officer and the CEO, to no avail.

NOTE: I have NO concerns about my local Genghis Grill restaurant in Rogers, AR. They’ve been wonderful to me both before and throughout this contest.
UPDATE 4-24-2014: Oh, just wait until you read the latest about this contest.

 

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