The word “Giveaway” triggers a response that is different than any other transaction we have in the world. This is so because our brains are hardwired to love the feeling of getting something for nothing. When giveaways are done right under any purpose, they can bring massive results and in business it can help a brand to go viral.
The emergence of online marketers, business communicators, bloggers and general social media influencers have been instrumental in the growing acceptance and utilisation of online marketing routine to integrate giveaways in marketing strategy.
Companies, institutions, high net individuals, political aspirants and public sector outfits, now utilise various forms of giveaways to better reach and engage their preferred audience. A keen social media users can attest to the growing popularities and diffusion of giveaways on facebook, twitter, instagram and other social media networking platforms.
The conventional practice is to tie this offers to various themes like holiday or seasonal event (Christmas, Easter, Valentine etc), a contest (music, video, photos, short movies, choreography challenge, referrals, tag-a-friend, repost, winner features, voting, trivial and caption contest etc), or trade and exchange (crypto-currency, Gift Card, valuables etc). There is possibility of combining any of the themes to achieve desired outcome depending on the duration of the giveaway exercise.
Moreover, with hunger in the land and the lure for free stuff, giveaways have become a veritable avenue for every Tom, Dick and Harry who seek for attention and popularity in a society that adore social identity.
The culmination is a perpetual and insatiable quest to grow online followers and appeal through the instrumentality of giveaways. There are undoubtedly numerous giveaways that are genuinely motivated and quiet in their execution. Then there are clout chasers, drama ambassadors, narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths who amplify the visibility of their faux charity in other to set out selfish end.
Many fans Who obviously expect more from celebrities other than just entertainment also expect some forms of hand-out in form of giveaways.
Giveaways are not completely as free as they look. One way or the other, it is like an investment that must benefit the sponsors. Many of them may therefore not qualify as proof of generosity.
Many people contend that online giveaways are a way of driving traffic or chasing clout. For sure, only a few online giveaways will not ask you to “like this tweet” or “re-tweet this tweet” or to follow this person as a condition to qualify for a giveaway.
One of the most popular giveaway drivers in Nigeria is the tweeter account with the name Chidimma Ekilie, an apparent false reference to Nigerian singer, Chidimma Emile. That fake account dishes out giveaway almost on a daily basis prompting many cynics to ask whether the real Chidinma has abandoned music.
During the dark days of COVID-19 lock down and the biting empty pockets that ensured, many Nigerian celebrities launched giveaway to help fans cope with the challenge. In March 2020, during the heat of the lock down, popular R&B singer, Runtown, was probably the first to kick-start the series of giveaway sprees’, follows by the “mad over you” crooner, also the popular Disk Jokey, DJ Kaywise launched his own giveaway. On the March 30, 2020, the publisher of ovation magazine, Bashorun Dele Momodu also joined the tray.
Notwithstanding, many people see giveaways as a show-off. They think those who wish to help others should quietly do so and not come online and broadcast it.
But it seems giveaways has come to stay in Nigeria social media space as celebrities and other online influencer uses it either with good or pecuniary intentions. Those who don’t do it are seen as stingy or even treated with scorn and some form of rejection. Followers do this by refusing to react to social media posts made by those they term “stingy” and who don’t do giveaways. Nollywood actress, Urge Ogbodo, had a cause to lament. According to her, “if you don’t do giveaways in Nigeria, you are on your own.”
The giveaway trend is not unconnected to the political class who deliberately perpetuate economic hardship and loot the country’s commonwealth, only to allow the masses crumble and survive on crumbs. Every election cycle now witness a common ritual of giveaways in monetary form. And alternatively, the electorates are giving food items, wrappers and other pretty household items to sway their choice. It is becoming more likely that any politician that does not conduct a convincing giveaway is playing on the express and runs the risk of loosing the election.
Unscrupulous individuals with unexplainable wealth and despirate desire for relevance are aided by payed social media influences to organise giveaways to grow their following. Others go ahead to make an outright purchase of an existing account with large followers. The sad result is that the swelling ravenous and opportunistic army of the online followers now compel innocent and honest social media influencers and celebrities to regularly declare giveaways or get slammed as stingy if they don’t.
On the contrary, those who regularly hand out online freebies are now revered and elevated as societal role models without regard for the source of their wealth. Dare to convince these followers, otherwise and you are asked “who you eep? (help)”.
Indeed, there is nothing wrong with online or offline giveaways neither is there a good or bad way to execute it. What we should be mindful of is the tendency to abuse it. This is Nigeria after all — a country with the penchant to overdo things beyond the ordinary. Economic overtime is eroding our core values of hardwork, dignity and contentment. The cycle of giveaways and online begging is becoming a national embarrassment.
Adewunmi Olalekan AbdulBasit is a student of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU studying Medicine and Surgery. He finds enjoyment in reading and writing and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org