A reader writes:
Not sure if you saw Fair Go last night, but Kia had a competition that required people to go into central Auckland for 22 days in a row to take a selfie with a car to win it. At the end of that 22 day period, only 2 contestants were left. They then had them do a race from Auckland Airport to North Harbour Stadium on the day of the U20 Soccer World Cup final. They set an impossible time limit of 60 minutes (under the best possible conditions (No U20 world cup traffic and no rain!) and no other tasks for them to do in between, it took Kia 55 minutes during a test run). The fastest racer got there in 67 minutes (with the other racer arriving about 10 seconds later), and Kia refused to give either of them the car. Then Kia put out an unapologetic press release on Facebook right before the Fair Go story aired.
I find it absolutely fascinating that a major companies PR department could possibly think that this (no one winning the car because they “timed out” during the race) would be an acceptable option, not least the preferred option, especially with memories of the Americas Cup “Time-out” situation in the race that would have won NZ the cup (and was my final straw in seeing the Americas Cup as any kind of valid sporting competition). It’s not like Kia has that much goodwill in their brand to begin with (given that they are generally the low-cost option). It’s not a car that someone is usually that excited to get.
I’d love to hear further details about how the PR company could have misread the culture so badly if you or people you know have any further inside details.
It does sound like a huge PR fail. We’ll have a competition where it is impossible to win the prize. What do you all think?