Rather than expand about something we do frequently in our business, let’s briefly look at something we half-try to avoid: unusual prize fulfillment. Make no mistake: if a Client wants prize coverage for a rare race car, and suddenly needs help with prize fulfillment, of course we’ll try to be of service. But we believe that, most of the time, the coolest prizes are cold, hard cash. Let’s examine why.
Our CEO is fond of the cliché, “cash is king”. Sure, by definition, clichés are expressions that are used too often—but they only get to be used too often because they hold some truth. A race car, a work of art, or a helicopter trip to the South Pole where you get to keep the helicopter would each appeal to some people. Money appeals to almost everybody. Contests with esoteric prizes do have their place—they really stand out for a niche audience. But if clients want to reach as many current and prospective customers as possible, a large cash prize is something every potential contestant can understand.
Sometimes an unusual prize turns sour. When this writer was 19, his friend won a Lamborghini. We were excited. He won it on a Saturday and got to test drive it on an abandoned airport runway. Come Monday he figured he had to insure it…and it was time to sell the Lambo. He didn’t get anything close to sticker price and to this day he talks about how he wishes he had won cash instead.
Most jurisdictions require winners to pay taxes on the value of prizes won. This is regrettable, but much easier to do with cash.
Last, a piece of inside baseball: a cash contest is much easier and less expensive to facilitate on the back end. Each time a contestant wins a physical prize, it has to be purchased, packaged, and shipped. That’s a lot of cost and man hours and it adds up fast. Yes, SCA does provide prize fulfillment services and offering guaranteed sponsor prizes is important to ensure a successful promotion. However, managing promotional budgets through appropriate prize selection is something we help with as well.
A contest can take many forms. Many problems are solved when the prize up for grabs is a huge pile of cash.