Is it ok to “Win a Wife” in a radio promo?

16 Feb

Our friends down-under in New Zealand apparently think so.

FM radio station The Rock, despite being under some heat from various groups, is forging ahead with it’s sensational promotion that entitles the winner to fly to the Ukraine for 12 nights, receive $2,000 cash and pick a bride from a woman-selling agency called Endless Love.

You can check out The Rock’s webpage with the details here.

Competitors post their candidacy on Facebook, where “likes” determine the winner.

Disregarding the total violation of human dignity here, is $2,000 enough spending money for 12 days?

Seriously. I get that the station wants to get noticed. But as I pointed out in a TV interview with Shaw last week, it’s easy to get noticed. Just wander down to Government St. on a busy day, drop your pants and take a crap.

That’s essentially what The Rock is doing here.

To appease the controversy, the station today changed the name of the contest to “Win a Trip to Beautiful Ukraine for 12 Nights and Meet Eastern European Hot Lady Who Maybe One Day You Marry.”

Are we satisfied then?

Surprisingly, or perhaps not so, the competition has proved to be a big hit, with 150+ entries in its first few days.

Good on ya, mates.


16 Responses to “Is it ok to “Win a Wife” in a radio promo?”

  1. GV February 16, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Anything for ratings, just likes Rock 101.1 promotion in Van with their bucket list.

  2. Scribbler9 February 16, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Lovely. And that creeps on the heels of a heartbreaking article released regarding the Sex Slave trafficking going on in Eastern Europe.

    Once again – or has it always been – women are chattel. Very sad. And not to bash on men, but is this an attempt for some men to ensure they secure themselves a (desperate?), obedient and pliable wife? Don’t know. I do know that I’ve heard horrid stories of ‘mail order’ brides and the fates delivered to them when they arrive to the ‘civilized’ western world.

  3. dougbrowncreative February 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    > GV, it reminds me of the business that treated their customers like crap in the hopes that any resultant negative publicity would push their website up in search.

    > It’s hard to know where to start with this promotion Melanie. Not surprisingly, the busiest critics are the Ukrainian community in New Zealand. What a heartless way to boost ratings.

  4. margriet aasman February 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Horrors, I feel like I am in the dark ages. I love your getting noticed analogy. Perhaps it works, but it’s disgusting. Same.

  5. dougbrowncreative February 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Margriet, it’s hard to imagine such a tactic being used in a progressive country like New Zealand. I wish I knew some Kiwis to comment on this. On the other hand, every country has its despicable elements, so no slag on NZ.

  6. Mel Wood February 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    What level of hell has the state of marketing descended to that this is appropriate? What’s next, a free trip to a NAMBLA event (I think I just threw up a little bit)??? How do we stop this kind of insanity?

    Additionally, are we complicit in its “success” by discussing it at all? Just asking….

  7. Renée February 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    I really do feel that exploitation of women in media is worsening instead of improving, despite all if the awareness. God I wish I knew why. As a woman and a mother, I despair at times.

  8. dougbrowncreative February 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    > Mel we are no more fostering its success by discussing it than we would be encouraging crime by speaking about it. If we don’t talk about it, that would be even worse.

    > Well Renee – and Mel, and everyone else who feels outraged by this – you have the website for the radio station. VENT.

  9. Mel Wood February 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Fair comment Doug

  10. Amy February 17, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Disgusting, immature, insensitive – these are all subjectives that can be argued (not by me, I think this is all three). And, technically, they are aren’t breaking any laws.

    However, that this is irresponsible and short-sighted, isn’t subjective. I wonder what The Rock’s target demographic is. It seems that they don’t know how to appeal to their audience without pandering to them. It’s sad, but not surprising.

  11. dougbrowncreative February 17, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    Amy It would be interesting to witness the public discourse around this down there in NZ. Wonder how much outrage there is and where the public debate is happening.

    I’m guessing at the gender of the first commenter here, but it’s illuminating that only women have posted commentary here on this subject.

  12. A.J. February 17, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    Having worked in radio a good number of years, I’ve seen all sorts of “stunt” promotions like this. Do something controversial, get lots of attention and hopefully get a boost in your ratings. Sometimes it works, but most of the time any kind of bump in listeners is short-lived.

    I decided to check out their website – they are definitely a male targeted 18-34 rock radio station, so a promotion like this will cater to the lowest common denominator of that demo. My guess is that either the station is so successful they don’t care about losing the odd listener who is put off by this promotion, or they’re doing so poorly in the ratings that this is one last desperate gasp to try and get any kind of attention – good or bad.

    At the end of the day, a gimmicky promotion for a radio station (or any business for that matter) may get you brief attention. But without a solid product backed up by solid staff, your business is ultimately doomed to fail.

    By the way, thanks to you Doug, I’ve entered that radio stations contest five times. Please don’t tell my wife.


  13. dougbrowncreative February 17, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    And I voted for you AJ! Apparently your wife did too….

  14. Pat Frye April 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    For all the readers of this story, you should be informed that I have dealt with this agency in Zaporozhye, Ukraine that was co-conspirator with New Zealand’s “Endless Love Agency” and I know for a fact that this agency is a scamming agency. It’s owner/operator Alyona (Alena) Koreneva “Ideal Love Agency” (see the comparisons of the partnership’s names) regularly employs ladies to pretend to like poor unsuspecting men in hopes of preying on their wallets. She gets the girls to lure these men to the Ukraine (Zaporozhye), then charges these men outlandish translation fees ($20 per hour, a fortune by Ukraine standards) and then makes profits on hotel/apartment bookings and promises the girls that these men will buy them gifts.
    Over the last two years, I have been scammed thousands of dollars from no less than three of her ladies and then after they have gotten as much money from me as possible, they find trivial reasons to break off the relationship and Alyona puts them back on the site three days later and laughs at us on the phone when we protest!
    Three American men and myself are beginning a class action lawsuit aginst Alyona’s company and we have affidavits from two of her girls that claim she paid them money to go out with men and one former employee. I have personally seen her files in her computer with form letters that she uses to send to men from the ladies when in fact the ladies know nothing of the men. Each letter sent & received from the men the men must pay for.
    New Zealand’s “Endless Love Agency” is well aware of this illegal activity and is part of it too sso all you New Zealand men hoping for love, stay clear of these two agencies.

    All inquiries to this may contact me at Pat Frye

  15. dougbrowncreative April 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience with this “wife for sale” agency Pat. I have removed the contact details of the owner as they have no place in our blog. Is there such a thing as a poor, unsuspecting man when it comes to situations like these? You were scammed once and went back two more times for more of the same? It never occurred to me, even for a moment, that this organization might be legit. Are they are ever?


  1. Radio Station in New Zealand runs a Win A Wife promotion. | thepromoreport - February 26, 2011

    […] member of the Copeland Communications team, who also wrote a blog on this topic, reached out via Twitter asking the local Victoria, BC radio community our thoughts […]

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