According to Matthew Sweeney, author of The Lottery Wars, Americans spent about $60 billion on lottery tickets… in 2008 alone. You know why? Because we like to WIN.
Of course, when we think about the lottery rationally, we know the odds of winning are extremely slim. How slim? The precise odds depend on where you play, but in some states your chances are as slim as 120 million to 1. You are 45 times more likely to die from a lightning strike (source).
Now, I don’t play the lottery and I am a terrible gambler (in the sense that I am no gambler at all), but I fully admit to regularly entering contests with no monetary buy-in. You know the kind- “drop your business card in the bowl and win a free lunch” or “follow us on Twitter for a chance to win a free trip to Cancun”. In my mind, you’d be stupid not to play!
Yesterday I was lured in yet again. While tidying the reception area (or you know, eating the last chocolate coconut haystack, whatever you want to call it), I came across a card from Malley’s Chocolates advertising a $500.00 cash prize.
I could have sworn I wrote about this before, but Malley’s Chocolates is a chain of confectionary stores in Ohio. When Debbie- who works from Ohio- comes to visit, she brings assorted goodies that we gobble up in a matter of days. Chocolate-covered Fritos, dipped Twinkies, nutty crack brittle… we love her.
But back to my point.
Smart marketers understand our love of winning, and they structure promotions that prey on our irrational dreams of winning big bucks with minimal effort. I love to see contests combined with promotional products- it’s like a one-two punch. The contest strengthens brand loyalty by engaging existing customers, and the item provides visual branding to attract new business.
Malley’s Chocolates offers their branded car decals to customers at no charge, in exchange for their name, contact information and license plate number. If your car is spotted out and about, bearing the oval sticker, you’re entered into a monthly drawing for a $500 cash prize. For the one-time expense of a few thousand decals and a monthly expense of the cash prize, Malley’s Chocolates has a sales team of Ohioans on the road promoting their business and provoking candy cravings 24/7.
I’ll take those odds.