The Web + Contest Enthusiasts

October 31, 2006

I was having a look at what’s going on with contests on the web this morning and it became apparent that the contest enthusiasts have found all of the on-line contests we’re managing at the moment.

For example, several sites link to every new contest at The Beer Store on the day they launch. On one level, I just can’t fathom who is sitting by their computer waiting for the contest to launch. On the other hand, we’re interested to learn more about who these folks really are.

Stay tuned for our take on the enthusiasts.


Toronto Star Why Ask Why Ends Well

October 30, 2006

I received my thank you email from the Toronto Star this morning:


This is the perfect way to end the Why Ask Why contest that has engaged players on a consistent, daily basis. Thank you, Toronto Star, for thanking me. It’s far more than what other similar contests do.

The email also includes a subtle and tasteful ask for subscriptions and classifieds.

Well done, Toronto Star. We hope the contest has been a success.

A Clever Tourist Contest

October 30, 2006

While strolling through the very touristy downtown Nassau, Bahamas this weekend, we saw one of the most clever retail contests we’d come across in a long time. Sorry, no links or photos of the actual contest, so I’ll have to describe it here.

One of the many jewelery stores on the main drag featured a poster which was promoting their contest about “win a trip back to the Bahamas”. It was a clever way to get you into their store and differentiated this store from all the others we walked by.

I have to throw in just one Bahamas photo. This is Atlantis, enjoy!


Contests We’re Not Fond Of – Vachon

October 23, 2006

Instant win contests can be used in a lot of fun and interesting ways. Generally, we see them in retail and this fall we seem to be working on more than a few.

While this contest is not one we’re working on, it’s worthwhile to review here in this blog. The Vachon Sweet Taste Of Retirement contest uses instant win for their standard prizes, but also prize indemnity for their match-and-win grand prize, $50,000 a year for life (or a $900,000 lump sum). The contest scratch cards appear in a number of Vachon products, like this Jos. Louis box.



The design of the box sticker and ballot are OK, but the sticker is perhaps a bit difficult to see at retail. Perhaps contest-specific packaging might make sense.


On our contest card, we received the “V”, but otherwise didn’t win an instant win prize.

Why are we not fond of this one? The most significant shortcoming is the lack of an odds statement within the contest rules, since this is a legal requirement for Canadian contests. Vachon certainly knows the odds for the instant win prizes and, despite what their ‘statistician’ may say, the odds for the match-and-win grand prize are calculable. At minimum, this is misleading to consumers and not a course of action we recommend to clients.

The Régie

October 19, 2006

Not a day goes by that we do not discuss the Régie and Quebec’s unique contest requirements. The topic of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux, as they are formally known, is long overdue in this blog.

The Régie is not a unsolvable mystery. And fear of the Régie is no reason not to conduct a contest in the province of Quebec. Their requirements are fairly straightforward and satisfying them is not that difficult. While it shouldn’t be taken lightly, dealing with the Régie is not that daunting of a task. Certainly, familiarity with the Régie’s requirements helps and that’s where an experienced contest parnter can help.

We’ll discuss the ins-and-outs of the Régie in upcoming posts, but for now, we’ll leave you with this tip direct from the Régie’s site:

These Rules do not apply to publicity contests where the total value of the prizes offered does not exceed 2 000 $, with the exception of sections 5 and 6 that apply to all publicity contests in which the total value of the prizes exceeds 100 $.

In other words, you do not have to register a contest with the Régie if the contest’s total prize value is less than $2,000.00 CAD.

Contests We Like – Canadian Club C To C

October 18, 2006

CC was my grandfather’s drink. CC is my drink. We’re Canadian, so it’s natural that we love a contest that has anything to do with Canadian Club.

I had a meeting at the Manulife Centre in downtown Toronto the other day and was looking for an excuse spend some money to see that at least I got my parking validated. The Manulife Centre has the best parking garage in Toronto, in my opinion. It’s always the right temperature, classical music plays throughout the garage and they have a fantastic window washing station, along with complimentary windshield washer refills.

Anyway, I dropped by the liquor store to pick up something that was going to be consumed regardless and they had their whiskey promotion feature in store. I couldn’t miss the bottle of Canadian Club with the contest and freebie 50 ml on the neck.



The Canadian Club C To C Contest offers two grand prize winners a choice of three adventure trips. How perfect is that theme?

This contest is a straightforward fixed-odds structure, using a peel-and-reveal card. Odds are clearly stated in the (brief) contest rules. We haven’t seen one of these used for a brand promotion in quite a long time and it was cool to see the ol’ peel-and-reveal in action.


Sadly, we didn’t win a prize, but we still like the contest, since it’s all about Canadian Club.

[Pssst! Maxxium! Next time I’d like to see a little more creativity, OK? Great! Thanks.]

Contests We’re Not Fond Of – Vonage

October 13, 2006

I have to confess. We love technology at Upshift and VoIP is a very promising one, however, Vonage’s Back To School Event Contest is a bit drab.

Vonage Back To School

While Vonage is using one of the standard “best” prizes for this contest, they could use some help. A $5,000 prize budget could have been used for many more interesting prizes. Cash might be of interest to some consumers, but the proof’s really in the pudding. I would be interested to hear what Vonage’s opt-in rate is once the contest is over.

I’m also wondering, what the heck is the “Vonage Thanks A Million Sweepstakes”? I thought this was called the “Vonage Back To School Event”.


To the folks at Vonage Canada, one recommendation–always include a statement about odds in your contest rules. If your lawyers or contest management firm overlooked this, I’d be concerned.

(By the way, Vonage, what’s with your high-pressure sales tactics?)