westfield facebook gift card

Sometimes it’s a fine line between appearing innovative and just plain pissing people off..

A couple of weeks ago, Ikea managed to get tons of praise for their latest Facebook campaign which allowed users to win furniture by tagging their name onto the desired item. Westfield Australia however have done just the opposite, they’ve managed to annoy users enough to push them into creating their hate groups related to the promotion. That’s pretty special.

Westfield created a Facebook application to promote its $10,000 gift card prize draw. The application updates the user’s status with a Westfield branded message “All I Want for Christmas is a Westfield Gift Card“, with some extra copy thrown in stating the user has now gone into the prize draw to win the card. This was a viral hit straight away.

westfield_gift card

Over 369,000 Facebook users have installed the application and updated their status in just 5 days, great news right? Yes of course, just 10k to get 369,000 people engaging with your brand sounds like a steal…but the promotion has attracted a large amount of backlash from other users.

As you can imagine 369,000+ people updating their status in a country with 6.5 million users is bound to spam quite a few news feeds. What is the natural course of action for all these angry people? Yep, create and join a Facebook group.

There are now a total of 25+ anti-Westfield Gift Card groups, which is amazing considering the length of time this has been running. The largest group called  “If All You Want For Christmas Is A Westfield Gift Card, I Don’t Want To Know” now has over 4000 members but not all group names are that lovely, here are my favourites…

westfieldhategroup

westfieldhategroup_2

If you’re wondering why you’ve never seen anything like this on Facebook before it’s because it blatantly breaks the Facebook terms and conditions which state:

4.2 In the rules of the promotion, or otherwise, you will not condition entry to the promotion upon taking any action on Facebook, for example, updating a status, posting on a profile or Page, or uploading a photo.

Which explains why the application has just been taken down:

westfieldgiftcard_facebook

This is a big deal because the application is the competition component of the campaign which launched on November 1st. It is being supported by radio, letterbox drops and in-centre point of sale.

So not only do they have no competition mechanic and basically no campaign, they are now left with 25+ Westfield hate groups and hundreds of negative comments in the aftermath! Those will be around for a looong time too.

Is this another case of When Social Media Attacks? I think so. Lots to be learnt here.

The agencies behind this badboy were M&C Saatchi and Ikon Communications.

[Via Mumbrella & Digital Media]