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HIO marketing principlesAs our hole in one season begins to wind down for another year, I'm reminded of an incident that was reported earlier this year in the Telegraph newspaper, about a Hole in One winner suing a Golf club for trying to give him a prize worth half the prize advertised.

As the Telegraph reported, Jake Warner, 24, hit a 202-yard hole-in-one at Haverhill Golf Club, Suffolk, during a £10-a-head event.

Understandably delighted, Mr Warner posed for a photograph with what he thought was his prize, a new five-door 1.6TDi Vauxhall Corsa worth £14,000. You can forgive Mr Warner for believing he had won that exact car, given the fact it was adorned with the slogan: "Win this car if you get a hole-in-one."!

However, when he went to collect the vehicle a few days later, Mr Warner was horrified to find the golf club was offering him a basic £6,500 basic model instead, which was the vehicle detailed in the terms and conditions. Mr Warner chose not to accept the lesser prize though and fought the golf club, eventually taking the matter to court.

Unfortunately, despite the fact the club did display a vehicle twice the value as the prize, Mr Warner lost on the basis of a legal loop hole. The court ruled that because Mr Warner hadn’t seen the car before entering the competition, he couldn't have thought he was playing to win that exact car. Therefore, it was adjudged that it wasn't the basis of his decision to enter the competition in the first place.

Despite receiving an out of court settlement for the value of the basic model car from the insurer covering the event, having lost the court case, Mr Warner was left in debt by nearly twice the amount in legal fees! This apparently had a big impact on Mr Warner’s life, even forcing the poor man to re-mortgage his house, having spent all his savings for his upcoming wedding on his legal bills!

Aside from the obvious negatives to Mr Warner, and despite the court ruling, the whole episode is disastrous PR. Not only for the golf club, but the sponsor and by association, the insurance company.

As we now live in an age of social media, where people's views, experiences and displeasure with a competition, brand and company can be aired so quickly, publicly and repeatedly. Is ignoring these lessons not gambling with brand equity and going against the very reason for such competitions in the first place?

There are almost certainly lessons for us all in this, not just those involved in running hole in one competitions. Terms and conditions should be visible and accessible to all entrants. The promoter should also ensure the terms and conditions are clearly understood and accepted. Finally, prizes should be accurately displayed and of course, only done so if the promoter is willing and able to award them, should there be a winner!

Steve Berry, Managing Director. 15th September 2016

Copyright 2016 EMIRAT Limited. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author only and not necessarily the views of the company. The company, its directors, officers or employees make no representation or accept any liability for its accuracy or completeness unless expressly stated to the contrary.

England OutIt's been all doom and gloom since the referendum result last Friday and we have been crying out for a positive. To make matters worse, England were just eliminated from another type of Euros at the hands of Iceland!

After enduring another dismal display from England, I am however left wondering if Brexit might actually help us in future tournaments to come.

Investment banker Keith Harris, the man who helped oversee the sale of numerous football clubs including Chelsea and Manchester City, stated last week that Brexit would mean some of the most influential players in the premier league, N'golo Kante (Leicester City), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Romelu Lukaku (Everton) and Dimitri Payet (West Ham United) to name but a few, wouldn't have been able play in the premier league last year.

Obviously those players won't be affected now and other Europeans like them won't be affected in the short term. However, when we finally exit the EU, new players looking to come in from Europe's top leagues will almost certainly require a work permit.

Europeans could now be subject to the same immigration rules as non-EU players, under which a player from a top-10 nation has to have played in 30 per cent of their games in the two years prior to the date of application to be granted a work permit. A player from a nation ranked 11-20 must have played in 45 per cent of international games and that percentage rises to 60 per cent for the next 10 countries, then 75 per cent for nations ranked 31-50. Under these Terms Kante, Martial, Lukaku and Payet would not have met the criteria.

If therefore, the youngest and brightest from Europe are blocked to British clubs, does this create an opportunity for home grown players? You have to argue that in the absence of recruiting young European players, it surely will.

If the premier league elite are then forced to turn to British players, they will get more exposure to the higher end of the British game and greater involvement in the inevitable Champions league and UEFA cup nights against the best from Europe. This in turn can only be a good thing for the England national team.

British players have always attracted a high transfer cost though, which is why the Premier League turned to Europeans in the first place. In the years to come following our EU exit, I can't see this getting any better and in the face of adding demand, salary and incentives packages such as performance bonuses will become ever more important to attract the best Britain has to offer. This will naturally create even more opportunities for companies such as ours that facilitate these incentives.

So can this finally be a positive from Brexit?!

Steve Berry, Managing Director. 28th June 2016

Copyright 2016 EMIRAT Limited. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author only and not necessarily the views of the company. The company, its directors, officers or employees make no representation or accept any liability for its accuracy or completeness unless expressly stated to the contrary.

Coupon MalredemptionCoupon misuse and malredemption has always been a big issue in the marketing industry. Over the years, insurers and industry bodies such as the IPM, have pressured and worked with retailers at great length to try and mitigate fraud and malredemption as much as possible.

One measure introduced was the preregistration of coupons on to a retailer's Epos system. However, my personal experience this week now makes me wonder the strength of its merit.

I was in a supermarket and witnessed a man attempting to use a money off coupon from a newspaper. It was based on a minimum spend but was clearly marked that it excluded alcohol counting towards this expenditure. The man had a selected a number of items but unfortunately for him, these weren't enough and the wine and whiskey in his trolley were needed to achieve the minimum spend threshold.

When the shop assistant attempted to scan the coupon, the till flagged up the presence of the alcohol and duly notified her the minimum spend had not been met. The man though, was unwilling to let it go and so the shop assistant repeated the process several times to no avail, even eventually calling for a supervisor.

This was during a busy period on a Saturday lunch time and whilst this all unfolded, there was a rather large queue building of disgruntled customers, myself and my wife included. To add further intensity to the atmosphere, there was a young child in the queue crying, clearly just as frustrated as everyone else at the lack of movement and lengthy wait!

Despite the till rejecting the coupon (and no doubt influenced by the pressure of this disgruntled queue), the shop staff attempted to override it. Eventually the supervisor managed to overcome the till's objections and processed the transaction, coupon and all!

As the coupon in question was likely insured, this raised a number of questions for me.

Firstly, the consumer either didn't read the T's and C's and so attempted to use the coupon without really knowing its intended use. Or he did read them and didn't care, attempting to see if he could 'get away' with it. Neither is a great scenario for an insurer.

Secondly, despite probably knowing the T's and C's themselves and the till actually attempting to enforce them, the shop staff took the coupon anyway. In fact going to some effort to do so!

As a promotional risk carrier ourselves, we are largely in the hands of the retailers to take the coupons correctly. We would therefore have no knowledge of an occurrence such as I witnessed and so it left me wondering; how often does this happen and how many coupons are used in the manner in which they are intended?

It certainly appears that despite how far things have come in recent years with coupon security, there may well be more work to do! Customer service cannot dictate how and when coupons are accepted and make it acceptable to permit malredemption. Perhaps then, this is the next hurdle for our industry to overcome?!

Steve Berry, Managing Director. 16th May 2016

Copyright 2016 EMIRAT Limited. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author only and not necessarily the views of the company. The company, its directors, officers or employees make no representation or accept any liability for its accuracy or completeness unless expressly stated to the contrary.

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