Winning free movie tickets from PVR can be a pain in the a**

Last week, while browsing my twitter account, I came across this MIB3 movie contest on PVR’s twitter handle. The winners were promised 2 free tickets for the latest MIB flick. Being a movie buff, and a big fan of the original Men in Black, I felt like diving in. The question put by the PVR team was a subjective one – given a choice between Agent J (Smith) and Agent K (Lee Jones), who would you like to swap your life with and why? 

I answered twice to the same Q and really don’t know which one of them got picked but the next PVR tweet showed me as their first winner (They apparently throw 3-4 winners for the day). Not surprisingly, I was thrilled. Watching a keenly awaited movie (in 3D), free of cost, in this depressing era of moronic Bollywood blockbusters of South Indian remakes, was not a bad way to start the weekend.

Wow...I open my twitter account, see a movie contest going on, try my luck, and – hallelujah – I win!! That was fast and easy. So far so good. Now, the tough part ensues – what next? I was waiting for @_PVRCinemas to revert to me, just then I got a tweet asking me to DM them my details.

I DMed the details. I awaited them to confirm that they have got the information they wanted but no communication came from their side. I left it at that and thought they’ll get back to all the winners together at the end of the contest. In the evening I got a DM from PVR, asking me for my email. I told them I had already provided my email along with the other details in the DM I had sent in the morning. No replies. So, I tweeted them the email again, hoping that they’ll acknowledge it and tell me something about the damn tickets…at least five hours after I am told I’ve won them!

My problem was that I had won 2 tickets. If I ask some friend of mine to come along, the least I need to tell him/her is the time and place to show up. Here I didn’t even know the day, let alone the timing of the show. All I wanted to know at that stage was the approximate time span when I could avail my tickets so that I can plan accordingly. I really wished I could watch it on Friday itself but after multiple reminders and waiting for too long, I finally gave up on tickets and thought of watching it anyways if I don’t hear back from them.

But I did hear from them. It was a call I received from some PVR executive next morning, asking me when and where do I wish to catch the show. I answered him with a sigh and told him the name of the multiplex and the preferred timing. He said, he’ll be able to mail the tickets only couple of hours before the show starts. “No probs”, I told him.

Around 6 pm I got both his mail (with a booking ID) and his call, telling me to show this ID at the ticket counter to get my tickets.

Now the funny part starts. Me and my friend, made it to the ticket counter around 15 minutes earlier. After awaiting my turn in the queue, when I finally showed the booking ID to the Ticket Counter (TC) guy, he told me that those tickets are not for me but for some Poonam Chandra (name changed). Surprised, I called the guy at PVR to clear the air by making him talk to the cashier. The TC guy nodded with uncertainty and then made some adjustment on his desktop. He now looks up and asks me for Rs. 500 for the two tickets!! Bewildered and embarrassed, almost laughing at myself, I told him that these were prize tickets that I won through a PVR contest and so they were free. He didn’t look one bit convinced so I made him talk to the executive again. I took my eyes off him and smiled at my friend, who had a ‘dude-you-sure-you-won-this-ticket?’ look on his face, and turned back at the counter, only to see the guy suddenly disappear inside one of the rooms behind the TC. The guy just vanishes and doesn’t show up for another 10 mins, while the movie is well past its starting time. After an awfully long wait, we finally made it to the audi, just in time for the movie but missing out on the much talked about Amazing Spiderman preview trailer.

Now, watching your preferred movie in a multiplex for free is a great proposition, only the cumbersome approach of going about it took away the sheen from it. This is where PVR team faltered in delivering a satisfying service:

-          All they needed was to tell me the time or day when I was expected to receive the ticket. All that was needed was an email, a DM, or a call from them. The first call I received from them happened a day after I was awarded the tickets. Most of the people participating in those twitter movie quizzes/contests are movie buffs who might be eagerly waiting to watch a new release. They don’t want to be clueless waiting for the tickets to arrive in their inbox anytime! If I get free last row tickets for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, I’d really value it. But not if you make me wait till Monday, when I’d rather prefer paying and watching it on Friday itself.  

-          Why take all the details like my Name (which they never used to book the tickets), postal address (they never mailed it to me by post), email, city, etc. when all they had to finally do was to call me?  

Man, it’s simple – just inform me about the procedure. Tell me how long it’s gonna take and I’ll be okay with it, as long as I am getting to watch it for free!  These contests are a great way to give your fans something to talk, feel good and cherish about; even build your brand and brand evangelists, so to speak. But don't let apathy creep into your system and spoil the freebies.

I would say the intent here was great. The execution failed it.

Abhimanyu is an Online Marketer, blogger and twitterer.  

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Comment by Abhimanyu on June 12, 2012 at 12:29am

Puneet, exactly!! A coupon should work just fine. You can use it any day, anywhere - your discretion. 

Comment by Puneet Nirogam Aggarwal on June 11, 2012 at 1:45pm

I think the easier way out for PVR really is to give out a "Coupon Code" which can be used by the winner to book tickets on their website and use the coupon code for the same value as the ticket. I wonder why have they made it so complex.

Regards, Puneet

Comment by Abey John on June 9, 2012 at 10:58pm

We are all chosen ones.  Customer service, organization, and coordination at India Inc is something that is broken.  Like a hole in a space ship that nobody is aware of. Sucking out brand loyalty into the nether regions of space.  I have similar stories to tell from Axis Bank, Airtel, etc etc.  I am yet to meet one brand where execution is perfect from bow to stern.

Comment by Gurpreet Singh Tikku on June 9, 2012 at 7:40pm

ha Ha.............Till the time I didn't Read Asha's Comment, I didn't Realise it's "Baby Oye Abhimanyu" :-)

Anyways, Agree with you Bhai..........good Intent But the Execution Screwed it.

Yeh to wohi baat hui, "Bakra Bhi kat Gaya, and Khane wale ko swad nahi aaya", as the service was faulty.

Seriously, This issue should reach the Bijli's (Owners) so that PVR should probe this and avoid the repeat, so that they Don't loose Loyal Customers Like you!! 
And Thanks, I'm now following PVR CInemas and would be on a Lookout for any further contests. :-)

Comment by asha chaudhry on June 8, 2012 at 3:31pm

abhimanyu.... you sure are the chosen one!


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