What Is Shein’s “Lucky Draw” About?

Shein painted the town red yesterday, February 21, 2024, with multiple social media posts talking about their lucky draw going viral. The draw promises a ₱5,000 voucher for the winners.

What’s not enticing about a ₱5,000 voucher? Of course, many would try out their luck thinking they have a chance because of the number of people having testified to actually winning. But the thing is, it’s simply too good to be true for a huge portion of the population riding on the waves of fast fashion to get the same twist of fate.

It works like this: Shein users are to play a game where every draw (each requiring 100 coins) lands on a prize, be it a discount, more coins, or the ₱5,000 voucher. To play, one must enter a referral code in the app’s search bar, which is provided by videos and posts on social media (or friends needing friends to keep playing. We’ll get to this later.)

My 21st of February started with a friend messaging me to use her referral code on Shein because it’s the only way for her to get more coins. The day ended with her ultimately letting it go after seeing a pattern, one that not only she is being put through. Apparently, the game allows you to have so many wins to keep you going. The first couple of draws you make will get you discounts and more coins to be able to make more draws, until you are left with two options (every time you win something, it scratches the prize off the table), one of them being the jackpot. After driving you to the edge, it suddenly hits you with a screen that says you have to invite friends to use your code to play for the 50-50 chance of winning the voucher.

With that being said, the referral codes used by participants are all from people who are playing the game. Posts and videos online market the codes only as a way to get in, but an unspoken reality besides that is that every time someone uses the code from some viral post is another opportunity for them to draw more and more.

From this perspective, those who are the likeliest to get the prize have a lot of traction (or have an obscene amount of friends) in their bid to get people to use their code. The framework is akin to that of networking schemes.

Shein isn’t the first to pull off this marketing strategy, but it certainly did wonders as the download rate of the app skyrocketed yesterday because of people creating accounts to participate in the draw as well. 

The intention of those viral posts is definitely under a veil, and people ought to be made aware of this marketing strategy to 1) ground their expectations better, and 2) for the sake of media literacy.

Photo from REUTERS

It all boils down to what people want to do, and of course, there’s nothing wrong with participating in this kind of campaign; they just have to know what the campaign is doing. For certain, it worked. Well done, Shein.

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Ashley Cañete
Ashley Cañete

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