Brand Chutzpah: This Twitter Contest Winner Got A Toy Phone Instead Of A Smartphone

Box Office Capsule ran a Twitter contest in which it awarded one of its own the grand prize of an iPhone 5S, when caught it announced an alternate winner and sent her a toy phone

UPDATE: The brand has now promised to send the winner a smartphone.

Rigged contests on social media aren’t unheard of. The last three years have been particularly eventful in that we witnessed a variety of manipulation in the name of engaging Facebook and Twitter contests in the country. While unsuspecting contest players boosted the campaign hashtag in the hope of winning iPhones or gift vouchers worth a lakh, the brands went laughing all the way with their hashtags trending all day.

And the grand prize winner always remains a mystery, an anonymous Twitter handle. Sometimes the particular handle had not even participated in the contest! (Read more on mindless social media contests and who to be blamed)

But, this brand takes the cake when it comes to fake contests in India. (Hat tip: Tinu Cherian)

Last month, Box Office Capsule, an online publication that focuses on Bollywood and the box office with reviews, analysis, previews and collections, had hosted a Twitter contest with iPhone5 as the grand prize. Things went smoothly up until the winner was announced.

One of the contest players discovered that the winner Shray Gupta was an employee at Everymedia technologies, the company that created an app for Box Office Capsule and the one that asked people to install the app worth Rs 60 and participate in the said contest. As per Terms & Conditions of any contest, employees, employees of associated agencies or media company of the brand, are not eligible to participate.

When she pointed this out, Everymedia asked BO Capsule to clarify, while BO Capsule reasoned it as their exclusive right to select a winner who meets all the contest criteria. What’s more, they even told her to stop crying and move on!

Meanwhile, she also highlighted that the winner’s handle has changed from @Shraygupta28 to @SRK_0091, in trying to conceal the name. While it was an open and shut case, the verdict was clear and BO Capsule had to swallow a bitter pill.

Guilty of rigging the contest, BO Capsule had to concede to the Twitter outrage started by her persistent efforts. They announced an alternate winner for the contest citing unreasonable doubts raised by her. This second winner was promised a smartphone. All’s well that ends well.

But does it really?! The alternate winner received a toy phone instead of the promised smartphone.


We don’t know what the folks at Box Office Capsule were smoking, but this mockery of a Twitter contest brings to the fore the sorry state of affairs in the name of social media buzz creation.

First BO Capsule tells you to pay Rs 60 and download its app to be able to participate in the contest, then it lures you with an iPhone 5S to boost its campaign numbers but awards one of its own. When caught red-handed, it points out its exclusive right of selecting the winner. Not only that it changes the winner’s handle to an anonymous one. When completely cornered, it concedes by announcing an alternate winner. But sends her a toy phone instead of a smartphone!

BO capsule not only succeeded in increasing its app download numbers but also boosted social media buzz for the movie it was promoting. And what did it give in return - a toy phone!

Brands like Box Office Capsule need to get off the social media radar immediately. The mad rush for reach and numbers has eclipsed the need for long term community building and engagement for a brand. While BO Capsule has gained in numbers, it has sure failed in gaining trust and building brand affinity.