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What do winning 'instant win' game pieces look like?
July 17, 2011 5:45 AM   Subscribe

How are instant win prizes on products (candy, food, etc.) actually displayed? I have seen 'Sorry, you are not a winner' enough, but I have never seen what an actually winning game piece looks like. Is there a verifiable code with a phone number inside the package, or does the game piece actually say "You have won $xxx,xxx!"? Also, wouldn't it be in the best interest of the company giving away the prize to make the winning game piece be inconspicuous as possible (except in the instances of those with second chance drawings) in order to make it possible for them to run a promotion without giving away the advertised prize?
posted by Lugos to Shopping (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
My kids have won far more free Mars Bars than they needed. The wrapper says "Congratulations, you have won a free Mars Bar! Present this wrapper at your nearest stockist to receive your free Mars Bar."

I have won CD's, t-shirts, caps, etc by entering codes from wrappers onto a website. I suspect they were random prizes, not related to the code at all. (The best prize I ever won was a 4 day rental of a Winnebago, and I only won that by writing an article about travelling.)

In my 43 years, I have never met/known anyone to win the free beachhouse/$1 million dollars/new car.

posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:56 AM on July 17, 2011


In the late 70's my father filled out a sweepstakes entry at a liquor store in Winner, SD and won of the six major prizes for that sweepstakes: an all-expenses paid trip to the 1979 Superbowl.

So it does happen; it's just exceedingly rare.

And yes, I enter every sweepstakes contest I can. You can't win if you don't enter and it's not like the lottery where you're throwing money away. These are sweepstakes attached to products I've already purchased (or free entry forms online).
posted by mrbarrett.com at 6:13 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a picture of a McDonald's Monopoly winning game piece in the lower-right corner of this picture. It tells you what the prize is and gives you a hotline number to call. Also note the unique identification code on the piece, so they can verify if it's legit or a forgery.

On a related note, I've run a few game promotions for my work. Not the tokens-on-packaging kind, but competitions and so on. It's my experience that the number of people who actually jump through the hoops to enter these promotions tends to be a lot fewer than you'd expect, and so the chances of winning is a lot higher than you might expect. Not entering on the grounds that you have basically zero chance to win is very faulty reasoning. ^_^
posted by Andrhia at 6:21 AM on July 17, 2011


Many candy bar and soft drink contests these days are done online. You enter the code online along with all of your personal information and are told whether the code was a winner or not. With the information you enter the company will always win even if you don't!
posted by JJ86 at 7:16 AM on July 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The stuff that is free, like candy/food, is typically just like the "you lose" wrappers/tickets, but it just says you can exchange it for food next time.
posted by darkgroove at 7:28 AM on July 17, 2011


Also, wouldn't it be in the best interest of the company giving away the prize to make the winning game piece be inconspicuous as possible (except in the instances of those with second chance drawings) in order to make it possible for them to run a promotion without giving away the advertised prize?

I recall reading that companies typically outsource this stuff to a middle man that acts as the "fulfillment" house for the prizes. These contests are promotions, and they have a budget, and in most cases the grand prizes are purchased as annuities so the costs can be reduced even further. And in the case of contests that are skills-based (make a basket from half court while wearing a blindfold, etc.), they use a consulting firm that determines the odds of this actually happening, then purchase insurance against it happening based on those odds, so it if really does happen the insurance pays the prize.
posted by mosk at 8:47 AM on July 17, 2011


mosk: "I recall reading that companies typically outsource this stuff to a middle man that acts as the "fulfillment" house for the prizes. These contests are promotions, and they have a budget, and in most cases the grand prizes are purchased as annuities so the costs can be reduced even further. And in the case of contests that are skills-based (make a basket from half court while wearing a blindfold, etc.), they use a consulting firm that determines the odds of this actually happening, then purchase insurance against it happening based on those odds, so it if really does happen the insurance pays the prize."

Here's an article about one of those companies: Million Dollar Shot: Who Pays For Miracle? (This was published after Don Calhoun made the million dollar shot at a Chicago Bulls game in 1993)
posted by SisterHavana at 7:49 PM on July 17, 2011


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