Unilever insists it will definitely run another £1m prize-winning promotion for Magnum ice cream despite the fact that thousands of competition winners are having to wait for their prizes after it underestimated the "astonishing" scale of the response.

The Magnum Pleasure Card competition, launched in March, offered consumers the chance to win a pre-paid MasterCard worth between £10 and £1,000. The intention was to kickstart sales ahead of the ice cream season, but this week it was revealed the winners had been forced to wait up to 12 weeks for their cards as Unilever failed to distribute them fast enough.

Magnum brand manager Emily Turner admitted she "was astounded by the overwhelming response" with £158,000 worth of cards given away after just the first two weeks of the three-month campaign. 

"The interest was higher than we initially expected and we had problems with the delivery of the cards, but we have also learnt that the concept of giving away a share of a million pounds is a more exciting and compelling proposition than we'd first thought," said Turner. "We will definitely consider running it again."

She added that the prize-giving was now back on track and Unilever had awarded £900,000 of the £1m prize kitty with one week left to go.

Meanwhile, a broken crane at Unilever's ice cream distribution centre, which resulted in supply shortages of Wall's ice cream (The Grocer, 6 June 2009), had been fixed, according to a company spokesman. He claimed it was successfully dealing with a backlog of orders.