MediaWorks’ “The Rock” FM in New Zealand has come under fire after running a competition where listeners can win their own Ukrainian bride. The winner is to be flown there where they can pick their new honey from “The Endless Love Agency.” They will then start married life together during a 12-night stay (3/23 to 4/7) in the dazzling city of Zaporozhye with free accommodations and $2,000 NZD.
The winner can choose one lady from those registered with Endless Love to correspond via two video conferences and unlimited translated emails with photos in the lead up to the face to face meeting. Extras include a food and beverage welcome pack on arrival, first day breakfast, a bunch of roses for the lady on their first meeting, interpreters for the first meeting, a three-hour river cruise with the lady, taxis to and from the river cruise, photographer on the river cruise, additional assistance from the Endless Love Agency tour guide for the length of stay in the Ukraine.
However, some down there are none too happy about the promotion. Said social activist Sue Bradford: “This takes commercial radio to new depths. It is unusual and somewhat disturbing that a commercial entity would commercialize what should be one of the most meaningful human relationships and actually offer it as a prize for a radio show.”
The Rock admitted on its website some people would be offended and did a bit of “pre-damage control,” nonetheless, by creating a form for potential grooms to fill in online, which includes questions on criminal records and alcohol consumption per week.
From the site: “It’s actually going to happen. And oh boy are there going to be some people with their panties in a twist over this one. The Rock is giving away a wife…We’re not going to give this opportunity to just anybody … to weed out the no-hopers and time-wasters, we’ve developed the application form below. If you’re interested in holy matrimony with a potentially hot foreign chick, fill it out to the best of your abilities.”
The competition started on 2/7 and ends 2/28, with the five finalists to be subjected to rigorous psychological tests before the winner is announced.
PD Brad King told The U.K. Sun: “At the end of the day, it’s up to both people if they decide to get married and return to New Zealand. We’re not actually marrying anyone or bringing women back to New Zealand.
The station wisely protected itself against liability by posting on under the contest form that the winner takes the prize entirely at his/her own risk and indemnifies The Rock in respect of any claim for any accident, injury, loss of life or failure to find love that may occur in connection with the prize. The Winner is also responsible for all insurance, tax or other costs that may be associated with the prize. “To the fullest extent permitted by law The Rock will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever (including but not limited to direct or consequential loss) or for personal injury as a result of winning the prize.”
RBR-TVBR observation: One of the station’s tagline is “Bands, Babes, Balls & Bull,” so obviously this gets attention from male-dominated listenership. We see nothing wrong with trying to help someone’s love life or personal life, and the promotion can certainly carry some weight across multiple weeks. It should translate into ratings, if talked up enough on-air with listeners.