Suntory has been running this campaign in Japan where they are giving away 4000 iPods. As I don't have an iPod and I enjoy Suntory Oolong Tea I thought I'd give it a try.
In Japan most of the big beverage companies have lots of contests. Most of them work on the point system where for each drink you get some kind of stamp or sticker. You put them on a postcard. When you fill the postcard you send them in and you are entered in some raffle for the prizes. Common prizes are things like bikes, DVD players, stereo systems, TVs etc. Often they are special contest only items like a bright red Coke Sony TV for example.
The thing is, this contest is much more involved. In fact it seems like it's nearly impossible to even get a chance to win. Each bottle has a sticker like the one above. You peel off the top part and underneath is a pair of numbers. You go to their website, http://oolongcp.jp, register and then enter those numbers.
Each pair of numbers you enter gives you 1 point. Once in you have a character you have until 16 points in which to try to make them strong in 3 areas, Strength, Speed and Intelligence.
After entering your numbers you are given a menu of 3 options. The options change every time. In the example above the options are "Eat a meal", "Process Tea", "Study".
In this case I picked study. A flash animation plays showing my character studying.
It says something like "You learned the profound deepness of oolong tea"
Based on that it says my speed rating went up one point and my intelligence rating went up 2.
So, you have 16 points to try to get them all to the top. The thing is, if you make the wrong choices your points can go down as well so it's very possible you won't have full levels when you reach 16 points.
During the last 2 points you get to choose a special move and then at 16 points you choose to challenge a master. To fight you pick to use your special move at the beginning or end of the fight and then watch a flash animation of the fight happening.
Here's my character fighting. I lost.
Here's the thing though. First, most likely, if your meters are not full you are probably not going to win. If you don't win you do not get entered into the drawing for the iPods. On top of which it takes 16 points just to get one chance. I don't know about you but I suspect most people don't drink more than 1 bottle a day and probably only on work days. The contest ran for 3 months. Add it all up and it seems to me the odds of actually making it to the raffle are pretty small and if you could actually make it in your odds of winning an iPod are probably pretty high at least relative to other raffles.
I'm not sure what other ones there have been but I was just amazed at the complexity of the contest.