Gypsy Creams

“competition” Tag

Select Seven Girls From Paisley

Weekend / 30th January 1974

Yes, you read that correctly. They want you to rank seven ‘girls’ (they look like women to me) from the list, and then rank them in order of ‘merit’. Even considering the popularity of Miss World at this time, which is the ultimate symbol of ranking women against each other simply based on their sex, this is still a ludicrous way of winning a car. To be fair, I published a similar competition which featured in Women’s Own, but at least they had the good grace to stick with various photos of a named, well known man, rather than comparing random men against each other.

Regular readers may have noticed that this comes from a different source than the rest of my posts. This is an issue of Weekend magazine, from the week beginning 30 January 1974. It took me a little time to try and figure out exactly what demographic this magazine was aimed at, but then I saw where it was based: Northcliffe House, home of the Mail. This was a weekly version of the Mail, in essence. You’ll see the similarities in future posts…

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Woman's Weekly / 25th June 1965

Wowee! Get a load of this competition! Although I have no idea how they managed to judge it, given that it appears to involve random ticking of boxes. I’m also amused at the new ‘end-of-roll’ reminder, so I guess we can assume that in-product nagging of consumers started around this time.

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Buy coal – win fabulous prizes!

Woman's Weekly / 30th May 1969

This competition is quite something. We have to imagine a world where solid fuel was in common enough use for a competition to be based on its usage, and of course, open fires were still widely used in 1969. In fact, my aunt was still using an open fire up until the late ’80s, but she was unusual, and she used wood rather than coal. Also, it’s a kind of competition that’s rarely seen nowadays, as it assumes that the entrant has the time and energy to leap through the hoops required for this one!

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Ah, that new house smell…

Woman's Weekly / 4th April 1969

I can’t imagine Kelloggs’ giving away a new house nowadays, or offering a redecoration of a house, but although they’re all excellent prizes, all that comes to mind is the paint smell!

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Viva Del Monte

Woman's Weekly / 18th April 1967

Horray! It’s another old school competition! This one is all about listing the supposed features of the car, plus a tie-breaker, although this article shows that this ad ‘talks up’ the car to an alarming extent. There’s a famous story about the Vauxhall Viva’s rear fuel tank exploding when the car took a shunt from the back, but I can’t find a citation on the internet. I’d love to know what the winning tie-breaker sentence was!

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‘Ow about none of ’em?

Woman's Own / 14th July 1967

With apologies to Harry Hill. Don’t you just love old-style magazine competitions like these? Here’s you can put a series of photographs of Michael Caine in order of which one arouses you the most. I don’t know who was the judge of this silly competition, but I’m guessing that they probably pulled the winning entry out of a hat. Nice prize though (the cash prize is roughly an average woman’s yearly salary at that time): but I suppose at 3d a guess, you only need 120,000 entries (assuming they all have only one guess, with 4 attempts = 1s, and 20,000s making up £1000*) before you start turning a profit!

* I think my maths is correct, but let me know if you can be bothered checking!

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Whitworth’s Diamond Watch

Woman's Own / 21st March 1969

Blimey. Here’s another implausibly expensive competition prize, all to give Whitworth’s marketing department some new ideas. I love the way they taunt the reader with the idea that they should imagine that they’re in a job that they were very unlikely to get in real life! Anyway, if my calculations are to be believed, the watches here are worth about £5000, which is gobsmackingly expensive. Whitworth’s really WERE in need of inspiration…

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Alliance Foodstores

Woman's Own / 20th March 1970

Ah, yet another food store chain lost to the mists to time, here. This is just for historical interest: the prize of £100 to spend in a leading London fashion store (in an era where the average female wage was around £1000 per year), so assuming the prize was about 10% of the yearly average female wage, the prize money would probably be around £2500 today (with £250 runner-up vouchers, if we assume they represent 1% of the yearly average female wage). Cor!

Of course, the women of 1970 would have had to put in far more effort to locate the era when the bonnet pictured was in fashion (actually, it doesn’t specify whether they need a year, or era), as they didn’t have the wonderful world of the internet to help them out. My guess, helped by this site, and the reference to the song Daisy Bell is Edwardian-era (1901-1910). Does anyone have a different guess?

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