PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday afternoon
(April 12), the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol once again did the
job for which it is nationally famous -- thanks to years of TV advertising:
it knocked on the door of an average American home and made the shocked
occupant's dream come true with a cash windfall from the company's
perennially treasure-filled sweepstakes. There were the balloons, the
roses, the big check, the van, the champagne, the blue-blazered Prize
Patrol and the video- cameraman capturing the excitement played out
hundreds of times before.
But what was different this time, and what is increasingly the case,
was that this winner did not receive the official looking Publishers
Clearing House mailer, peruse its colorful offerings of magazines,
merchandise and prizes and reply by pasting stamps on an entry form; this
lucky person entered the company's sweepstakes online.
Indeed, more and more folks in search of prizes really worth winning
are turning to the granddaddy of sweepstakes and its website which, like
others, is increasingly popular.
The site, pch.com, is also increasingly lucrative -- not just for the
company which is realizing more magazine and merchandise revenue there, but
for visitors who respond and win prizes worth thousands, even million
On Wednesday, John Zimmerman was on the receiving end as Dave Sayer,
head of the Prize Patrol, surprised him at his Portland, Oregon home with a
$10,000 prize which he won through pch.com. According to Sayer, company
records indicate that Zimmerman has responded to Publishers Clearing House
mailings for many years, sometimes ordering a magazine or merchandise,
sometimes not. But over the last year and a half he became an almost daily
entrant to the sweepstakes via the website. Clearly it paid off.
It also paid off for Betsy Tanabe of State College, PA. "I'm sure glad
I got that new computer," she said celebrating her $1,000,000 win with
family and friends last summer after getting the shock of a lifetime. The
excitement was heightened when the Prize Patrol also delivered a new Ford
Thunderbird, a bonus for entering the sweepstakes online. (While the
winner's test drive was "wonderful," she chose a $42,500 cash option
In November, 20-ish Chassidy Madden of Kentucky won the company's third
million dollar prize of 2005 and its second pch.com million. Her speechless
reaction was featured in commercials that appeared in NBC's coverage of the
Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and in a national campaign in January.
Entering online, Tanabe and Madden clearly threw themselves into
competition with thousands of offline entrants who respond to the mailings
that are sent throughout the year to the company's extensive mailing list.
Sayer says that while in earlier years over two-thirds of the people he
surprised were women, mostly middle aged, more younger men seem to be
George Young of Iowa hooted with delight after initially blurting an
expletive that can't be part of a TV commercial. "Ohhh man!! Yeah, yeah,
yeah!!" he repeated as fellow factory workers watched a $10,000 award
ceremony the likes of which they had never seen.
Marty Kelly of Pennsylvania was less verbal than Young, but was equally
moved. The Prize Patrol accompanied him to his wife Lisa's workplace where
news of the $10,000 win brought her to tears. She is expecting their third
child this summer and now looks forward to some maternity leave which she
could not have afforded before.
"These guys gave us some great 'Publishers Clearing House moments' that
will go into our long-running 'reality TV' campaign of cheers and tears,"
said Sayer. "Our commercials are totally unstaged and unrehearsed and
underscore the legitimacy that applies to our whole sweepstakes -- which
has awarded nearly $200 million in prizes since 1967" he added.
Publishers Clearing House sees "hits" to its website increase
dramatically when its "winning moment" commercials are on the air. So PCH
management anticipates higher pch.com traffic in July when the next
campaign promotes a $1 million prize to be awarded in August.
Like most companies, Publishers Clearing House recognizes the growing
importance of the internet and is putting increased resources into it.
Besides sweepstake entry opportunities, pch.com provides web surfers with
shopping opportunities for magazines and merchandise plus a broad array of
"Direct mail put Publishers Clearing House on the map, and we know that
millions of consumers will continue to respond to our value and excitement-
packed bulletins," said Andy Goldberg, president of PCH. "But pch.com also
provides value and excitement plus entertaining games, profiles of our
sweepstakes winners and more. We are adding lots more contests so that web
surfers of all ages will find new ways to win, and we're adding
value-priced offers based on the specific interests of our customers," he
SOURCE Publishers Clearing House