In the run up to the launch of Android 4.4 KitKat, Google and Nestle started a contest campaign to get fans excited and get a buzz going around the new version of the OS. Special KitKat packs were launched, which could net you one of 1000 Nexus 7 tablets, among other gifts. In India and internationally, the contest was organised by Nestle, as stated on the website of the contest, whereas Hershey handled it in the US. Now, winners have started receiving their Nexus 7 tablets from Nestle. But this is where things have gone south for Nestle, and to some extent, Google.
Which Nexus 7 is this?
The past few days, we have seen a few tweets, as well as found complaints on popular forums about how Indian winners have received the 2012 Nexus 7 tablet, launched last year in the US and earlier this year in India. What has made Indian winners most angry is that winners in other countries have received the 2013 Nexus 7 as gifts.
— Austin Tierney (@austintierney) November 22, 2013
So did Nestle intentionally mislead participants? Throughout the advertising campaign for the contest, we were shown images of the 2013 Nexus 7 (see image above), but winners in India are now claiming they have received the 2012 version of the tablet, which has a lower-resolution display and a much older chipset. Obviously, as with any contest, the terms and conditions are more important than any other detail mentioned in the promos. So what do the terms and conditions say about what the device is up for grabs in the contest? This is the exact text taken from the official terms and conditions page: “The Pictures of the prizes depicted on the press ads/posters/TVC’c/pack shots etc. are only representative and the actual prize may vary from the depiction.” This clearly means Nestle was in the right to give away the 2012 Nexus 7 tablet, which is no longer sold by Google on the Play Store. Having noted the T&C, it must be noted that the image of the 2013 tablet used in the KitKat promos, is exactly the same used by Google to sell the tablet on the Play Store.
However, there are still a couple of discrepancies. The biggest one among them is that initial promo text for the contest says winners will be among ‘the first 1000 to take a break with the all new Nexus 7 tablet’. The words ‘all new’ leave little doubt as to which Nexus 7 was on offer, and the mention of the 'first 1000' also indicates the new Nexus 7; we are assuming that at least 1000 units of the older Nexus 7, launched in March 2013, have been sold.
However, when we checked the Kitkat contest website today, we didn’t see any mention of this wording on the winners page or any other page. This is proved by a look at the Wayback Machine, which archives older versions of webpages. This showed us a capture of the winners page from October 31, which mentions ‘the all new Nexus 7’ clearly.
Another promotional picture on Nestle India’s Facebook page shows the 2013 tablet with the narrower bezels and the off-centre front-facing camera and says ‘This Nexus 7 tablet could be yours’. This too indicates the specific tablet shown in the picture. But since this is again a pictorial representation (covered by the T&C), Nestle can get away with it.
We contacted Google and Nestle for a comment. While Google India said they had no official comment to make on the issue, Nestle India did not respond to our inquiries. We will be updating this story if and when we do receive an official comment. But the company did take to Twitter to talk about the issue. The below tweet is Nestle’s defence.
We hear you’re unhappy. Winners got the Nexus7 tabs available in India in Sept (contest date). The new version launched only in Nov.
— Kit Kat India (@KitKatIndia) December 7, 2013
Yes, Nestle is right about the dates, but that's a lame excuse at best. Scrubbing clean any mention of the new Nexus 7 on their website suggests more fishiness. Even if Nestle preferred to hide behind the terms and conditions, it has completely mismanaged the contest by not making clear which tablet was up for grabs initially, and subsequently changing the copy used in promotions to cover up the mistake.
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