Smile FM accused of misleading listeners with R2m prize

By Nathan Adams Time of article published Dec 22, 2019

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The smiles have been wiped off the faces of many Smile FM listeners’ faces after a competition run by the station for a prize to the value of R2 million fell grossly short of expectations.

It was billed as South Africa and Africa’s richest radio competition when it launched on Smile FM on October 7.

Listeners were prompted to SMS the station when they heard the special song that had been selected being played on air.

By the end of November, 100 finalists were selected, and thousands of SMS entries were sent to the station.

The draw for the winner took place at Camps Bay High School field on November 30, with the ultimate winner, Gerard Hendricks winning R100 000 which was eventually doubled to R200 000.

In a Facebook post a day after the draw, Smile FM explained that a “professional independent adjudicator closely monitored the process”.

The post elaborates: “All 100 finalists were asked to select a table tennis ball out of a box of 100 numbered balls which corresponded to 100 equal squares on the field that were randomly numbered a skydiver jumped out of a plane, and the square he landed on, which revealed the number 42, was the number the finalist, Hendricks chose.

“Hendricks was then asked to choose a box from 100 boxes numbered 1 to 100. He chose Box 13 which contained a R100 000 prize.”

Many listeners responded to the post with outrage, saying they felt let down by the misleading advertising that one person was going home with R2m.

One irate listener wrote on the station’s Facebook page wrote: “Very disappointed Smile 90.4FM. You misleading people with false advertisements. What happened to the R2m and never did you once mentioned that about these new rules that happened on the day of the finals.”

The post attracted scores of comments from disappointed listeners who claimed little mention was made of the competition on Smile FM after the winner was chosen.

Smile FM managing director, Lois O’Brien, said: “Throughout the entire campaign, listeners were told they could stand a chance to win R2m or become a double millionaire.

“We never, ever promised that R2m would definitely be given away.”

She added: “The rules of the competition are too long to announce on air, however, it was said subject to Ts and Cs and listeners were told they could go to our website to view the same.

“This is standard practice in all competitions.”

O’Brien maintains that finalists were well aware of the procedures.

“All 100 finalists were told about the proposed roll-out prior to the event, knowing that there was a chance to win R2m but a guaranteed minimum prize of R50 000,” O’Brien said.

Weekend Argus

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