My top ten prizes

One of the questions I’m always asked in interviews is ‘What’s the best prize you’ve won?’ – and I realised that although I have a list of my prizes, I’ve never actually written about my favourites here on the blog. So here you go – the definitive list of Di’s top ten prizes, as of March 2017!

Di Coke's top ten prizes

1. VW Beetle

Back in 2002 I was a newbie to slogan comps, but loved a challenge. My mum had spotted an advert in Ideal Home magazine to win a VW Beetle: my dream car! But entry wasn’t easy; you had to buy a Zanussi washing machine and post off a copy of the receipt along with an entry form printed from their website, complete with a tiebreaker slogan. I pondered for a while and decided I couldn’t justify buying a new washer when my old one worked just fine. But then, a week before the competition closing date, my washer broke down. I hotfooted it to Currys and got a new one on interest free credit: I figured by the time I had to start paying for it, I would have sold my Fiesta and have a shiny new Beetle on my driveway. You know me – it’s all about positive thinking! The lead in for the slogan was:” I wash my clothes in a Zanussi because…”. My response was “from Winter woollies to skimpy underwear, Zanussi technology is programmed to care”. I always had a good feeling about this competition and even when the closing date and notification date had passed I still felt confident. Each night I dreamt of driving my prize Beetle and eventually on 10th January 2003 I got the winning telephone call to say I’d won!

Di Coke wins a VW Beetle

2. Trip to the Brazilian Grand Prix

I spotted this competition on a bottle of Fernox F1 that my plumber had brought into the house; we were having drains fixed and a new boiler installed so we had plumbers at our house for weeks on end. To enter, you had to post off a Fernox cap with a slogan: I wrote “for Central heating in tip top condition, Fernox is always in pole position!”. There were 3 winners of a trip to the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. When I saw this competition I knew I would win it; we’d only just booked flights to Argentina for our honeymoon and when I checked the dates of the Grand Prix, it was right at the end of our trip so I knew if we won we could add it to the end of our holiday. My husband took the winning telephone call and couldn’t believe it – Fernox even gave us £1400 cash as we’d already paid for our flights! Although the competition itself was open to everyone, the other two winners were plumbers and it was so funny listening to them and the Fernox reps talking plumbing. Although Lewis Hamilton let us down on the day, being at a Grand Prix was a wonderful and thrilling end to our honeymoon!

3. ‘Lord of the Rings’ trip to New Zealand

This was a huge prize. To celebrate the cinema release of ‘Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’, Ottakars book shops launched a unique competition on their website. Every Friday for 4 weeks at noon a set of 3 literary riddles were published online; you had to note down the first letter of the answers. After publication of the final riddle, you had to work out the puzzle and phone your answer through to an answering machine. The first person to leave a message with the correct solution won the prize. With help from my boss at work we unscrambled the 12 letters to make BILBOS SWORD; we had deduced that one of the letters was a red herring! I phoned through the answer ‘Sting’, the name of his sword. This was about 30 minutes after the lines opened and I didn’t think I was in with a chance. But a few days later I had a call from Ottakars Head Office: I was indeed the first to get the exact answer. He told me most people had left the answer ‘Bilbo’s sword’ or even simply ‘Lord of the Rings!’. The holiday itself was amazing: a 3 week schedule taking in both North and South Islands, visiting film locations, with helicopter and biplane flights, wine tasting, hot springs and bungee jumping. And of course, there was the £1000 spending money, although I did give £500 of that to my boss Fraser who helped me solve the clues!

Ottakars prize

4. Pink Smeg fridge

Like the Beetle, a pink Smeg fridge was a prize I’d always dreamed of owning, and I won it in a competition on my local radio station Century FM. You had to compete against other daily entrants to get the highest score in a quiz, which involved remembering the most shopping list items the presenter read out. I set up a cassette recorder (can you believe I still have one?) and taped the presenter reading the list, then when I was on hold to get on air I listened and noted down every item. I was – of course – the only entrant to get ten out of ten. Preparation is the key with radio comps!

5. Family holiday to Switzerland

This was a Fathers Day competition which had a rather restrictive brief: upload a photo or video showing how your Dad solves DIY problems round the house using a Toblerone! The three of us worked very hard on this one, and spent an entire Sunday filming and editing this masterpiece.

This wasn’t one of the highest value prizes I’ve won, but the hotel was wonderful and with free crèche and spa it felt like the kind of luxury that parents with an 18 month old wouldn’t usually enjoy. Switzerland was never on my ‘must do’ list so it was a fabulous surprise when we loved it so much!

On our prize Switzerland trip

6. Luxury weekend in Milan

This was a real once-in-a-lifetime experience – a chance for my husband to play in a football tournament with Arsenal legends Robert Pires and Tony Adams at the San Siro stadium in Milan. This was a photo and caption competition on Indesit’s Facebook page with more than 30 winners from all over Europe, but unbelievably less than 400 entries! We stayed in a luxurious hotel in Milan, and while the men went to football training, the WAGs were treated to a £400 pair of shoes each, a makeover and cocktails. On the day of the tournament I also won the fun ‘best supporter’ competition and was rewarded with a signed Arsenal shirt which now hangs proudly in Ryland’s bedroom!

Prize trip to Milan

7. Ten days in Japan

Japan is on the wish lists of many compers, and back in 2002 I was lucky enough to win two trips there! It’s a particularly appealing destination for me because my best friend Jo emigrated there in the 1990s, so I’m always looking out for opportunities to go and visit. Both the Japan holidays were won from magazine prize draws, and I spent time crafting home-made Japanese themed postcards to enter. This prize, from Good Food magazine, included a week’s accommodation at the incredibly swish Four Seasons Tokyo followed by a 3 night stay in Kyoto, and various day trips too. We even had a business class upgrade on the plane. It was simply amazing and a real taste of the high life!

8. Dinner at Noma in Copenhagen

Regular readers will know that I hate voting competitions, yet one of my top prizes was won in one a few years ago. Foodie.fm was a brand new recipe site, and to encourage people to submit recipes they launched a competition where the most liked new recipe won €600 to spend at NOMA (at the time, the world’s best restaurant!), flights to Copenhagen and a night’s stay at the Scandic Hotel. I submitted a beetroot risotto recipe as my entry, and contacted everyone I knew and asked them to vote – in the end I got less than a hundred votes but that was enough to win (unlike now, where you usually need 5000 votes to win a competition!). The only problem I had was booking a table – it took months of trying, but we finally went about 8 months later and loved it! Noma’s staff even gave us a behind-the-scenes tour to make our evening extra special.

Noma

9. £7,500 cash

My biggest cash prize was won on ‘Are you smarter than a ten year old?’ – this was a TV gameshow hosted by Dick ‘n’ Dom where contestants had to answer questions assisted by a group of ten year old kids. It was brilliant fun and I was delighted to walk away with £7,500 cash a few months before I got married!

10. A Butler for Glastonbury Festival

This extraordinary prize is the one people always want to hear about! This was a postcard entry competition in Q Magazine back in 2003, and the prize was a limo trip to Glastonbury, where my then-boyfriend Joey and I were greeted in the VIP area by our butler Wallace (who had even worked for the Royal Family!) and given backstage passes. Wallace looked after us all weekend, bringing us food, drinks and anything we wanted, and I even got to go up in the helicopter which takes the aerial shots of the festival site. This was a hilarious experience and when I talk about it, I’m reminded of why comping is such a magnificent hobby. Who else can say that they sat on their butler’s shoulders to watch the Flaming Lips play the Pyramid Stage?

Glastonbury Butler
I hope this post has been inspiring for you. I’ve been comping seriously (although I never feel ‘seriously’ is the right word!) for almost twenty years now, so I do have lots of amazing prizes to choose from, and you can see from my monthly prize unboxing videos on YouTube, the small ones can be just as delightful as the biggies! These ten favourite prizes have been won across TV, radio, phone, postcard, slogan, cooking, photography and video competitions. I like to give everything a go, and if you’re struggling to win competitions, maybe you could try something different too?

What’s your best prize so far?

I’d love to hear about YOUR best wins too. They don’t need to be biggies – and if you’re new to comping it’s fine to tell me about a small win too. Leave a comment below to let me know!

Author: Di

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  • Debra Etchells

    reading this is so fantastic and to see you have won some amazing prizes really does inspire me to carry on with my new hobby. I have only been comping since about august last year. I have had some great wins so far. My latest win is with Interflora and it is a special set tour around the new Coronation Street set, a Manchester hotel stay and a £250 Intu gift card. I am thrilled as I love Coronation st and shopping.x

  • sonseyface

    Recently it would be my £1800 Fisher and Paykal fridge freezer, I could hug it I love it so much

  • patricia bond

    My best win was about 7 years ago, I won a holiday with Essentials Magazine. It was a text competition and when I got the call I thought there was a catch. The lady was very kind and gave me her number to ring her back. Meantime I scoured my old magazines pile and found the competition so rang her back quickly. I had won a holiday to Sardinia but the time that I wanted to go was out of season so she kindly booked me a holiday to Sicily instead and gave me extra spending money and included all our meals. The cost of the holiday for 2 was about £2,500, I even had enough left out of the spending money to pay for our taxi to and from the airport.

  • rosmayes

    My trip to Canada was my favourite..flights, 4 nights at Banff Springs and 3 at Lake Louise, cruise on a lake, trip up to Sulphur Mountain on the gondola and a day trip to the Icefields. Superb! And we added on ( at our expense) a trip to Toronto to Niagara Falls and then went to Usa to visit my cousin and our friends….it was a 25 WOL..I wrote a poem, but cannot remember it…sorry! I also took it to coincide with my 60th birthday! 🙂

  • kerryann owens

    I’m a newbie to the world of comping but some of my faves have been an overnight stay in a lovely hotel with tickets to a show I gave this to my mum and dad and last week I won a product of the year goody bag which I’m over the moon with 🙂

  • Francesca Jones

    I won a Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer in a Christmas Facebook competition run by Florette. I never thought I’d own one as it’s around £600 worth of mixer which I currently could not justify spending. My hubby actually uses it as he is the cook/baker in the house – I just stand and admire my one luxury item in my kitchen…I cleaned my kitchen up ready to put it in there! lol!

  • Congratulations! Kitchenaids are gorgeous aren’t they? Such a handsome appliance!

  • Well done! Those POTY goody bags are brilliant, I enter for those every year but no luck yet! Lovely to give a prize to your folks too – I’ve sent my parents on a few nice breaks away!

  • Fantastic, what a treat for your 60th – but a shame you can’t remember your poem! I have notebooks full of my old slogans, and for the last few years I’ve saved them in the Evernote app on my computer. My skills are rusty though, and it’s been a while since I won a tiebreaker/slogan comp!

  • That sounds like a lovely prize – I’ve had a few wonderful trips to Italy, but not Sicily! It’s great to actually dig out the entry form/magazine when you win something – it helps you see that the prize is real! It’s a bit quicker these days though – no rummaging through folders, now we can just Google or check MoneySavingExpert.com for the T&Cs!

  • I had to google this. Cor!!!!!

  • Ooh now that sounds like an unusual prize – you should dress up like one of the classic characters from the past and get some photos taken!!

  • Tania J Nehme

    My favourite prize is a pair of Clodagh earrings my son won me from a local jewellers FB comp last year for Mother’s Day-he was 13 and obviously getting the comping bug! MY best win was a HD/3D TV won from a bag of Doritos a few years ago! I bought them on a Saturday, entered a code and was told Monday I had won! It was delivered the following Saturday! Quickest win to prize ever !

  • Caroline Blaza

    My favourite win was a day on set at Eastenders (I’m a huge fan) which I won last year via a BBC competition. Had a fab day and met so many of the cast. Got to take lots of pics and really was a fantastic day. Not sure how I am going to top that prize…..but it has made me realise any competition is possible to win.

  • sonseyface

    Just my cooker to go 🙂

  • Elysia Benn

    This really spurs me on to try harder. They sound so fun!!!

  • Lucy robinson

    Mines got to be a holiday to Fort Myers in Florida with Take a Break Magazine. Came with £500, Everglades trip, theatre and dinner and a trip to a private island. Worth in total £5000.

  • patricia bond

    Sicily is beautiful well worth a trip x

  • Wow – I hope your son is still comping Tania!

  • How funny, did you see that Debra commented below with her top prize – a visit to the Coronation Street set! I love these unusual prizes!

  • That’s fabulous Samantha – all those on blog giveaways? Wow!!

  • Sounds like you’re doing great Paul – sometimes you see a competition prize and you think ‘it HAS to be mine’ because the timing is perfect! Good luck with the Grand Prix!

  • Good luck Elysia!

  • Ooh that sounds lovely, especially the private island!

  • Jessica Cook

    Last week I won one of my biggest prizes which is a 2 week cruise around the med, were going in june and cant wait, i’ve always wanted to see Italy! my other faves include my wedding photography, 9k raymond weil watches and a vip night at the classical brits, a forest holiday and a weekend in london to see peppa pig!!

  • Rianne De Gelder

    My favourite win is a 5 day VIP trip to the Bermuda Film Festival on the Bermuda Islands. We stayed at the most luxurious hotel I’d ever seen, received 500 euros spending money, could see the movies for free of course, and were invited to all the private parties where we could meet famous actors and directors. The competition was a random draw organized by one of the major Dutch radio stations. And despite the thousands of entries, I just knew I would win it. I even checked flight schedules and restaurant menus way before the winning phone call! I’m not necessarily a believer in the power of positive thinking, but sometimes you just know it…

    This win was ten years ago, and I doubt that any other prize will ever top this. But I know now that dreams can come true!

  • EMMA FURNISS

    Fabulous post, loved your toblerone video too 🙂 My best prize was a family holiday for 15 days to South Australia and Tasmania. It was from a sticker on a book and at one point they had over 10,000 entries. I was picked at random! We private tour guides, stayed in the outback and amazing acommodation and travel all in. They even flew us to Kangaroo Island for a couple of days. It must have cost around £20,000!

  • Sylvia Robbins

    Hi Di, here is my top ten.
    1. Yugo Sana – Chat when it was in newspaper format – Phone then postcard.
    2. Cruise to Med – Tate & Lyle sugar – leaflet – TB + TR.
    3. Cruise to Caribbean – Principles store – Titchy flimsy leaflet. In store or post.
    4. British Airways – 2 flights to Barbados – leaflet – TB.
    5. 2 weeks in Miami for 4 people, to include a basketball match. – Somerfield – – – – 7Up – leaflet – TB
    6. £1,000 cash. Mr Kipling pies. Estimate – how many boxes stretch round M25.
    – – Phone in – was spot on using cotton, ruler and arithmetic.
    7. Mini Cooper – Sainsbury’s Gio – leaflet – TB – Entered to win a key ring – but – – – won car – ‘part exchanged’ it with chap at Piano shop for a posh piano and – – – – dosh.
    8. Treasure Hunt trip to win diamond – SodaStream – TB – won RU camera.
    9. TV, VCR and Speakers – 422 magazine – identify world cup mascots – post. – – – Prize arrived just as match between France and Senegal kicked off!
    10. Short Break to Lygon Arms – Southern Co op – leaflet – Whiskas – TB.

    I should mention the Pond liner, Hairdryer and Moped + Whole Gouda and Edam cheeses that turned up via a Dutch girl at my door, then again by Post
    Loads of stories to tell but I’ve hogged too much space. Sylvia x.

  • Joanne Welsh

    I’ve not really had any BIG wins yet, nothing compared to what other people have gotten (no trips, appliances etc) but won some nice expensive bags and make up stuff that i’d never be able to afford to buy myself

  • Maria Vezenkova

    My dream prize is a trip to Legoland in Denmark and Disneyland. I also want to win a trip or vacation almost anywhere in Europe. Finland, Russia and Japan are also on the top of my list. Reading all these lucky winners’ stories motivate me to give my best in the next comp with trip prize.
    My biggest win was in February when I won the 1-at place in a vote contest. I also hate and usually don’t enter such type of comps. But this time I loved the prizes and all I had to do was just to show what’s inside my bag. I won the 1-st place and my prize was a beautiful watch + a bag.
    I’ve also won a photo contest by LCWaikiki. The 4 most creative photo captions about love should win £50 to spend in store. I wrote how thankful I am fom having my little boy and how happy his father and I are because he chose us for his parents.

    Photos:
    1. My entry for “Show me your bag” contest;
    2. My entry for LCWaikikiLove contest;
    3. My prize from “Show me your bag” contest.
    Today I won cinema tickets for a new Bulgarian movie premiere + cocktail afterparty passes. Sounds great and can’t wait for it.
    As I said before you’re a true inspiration to me, Di. Wish you all the best and keep going!

  • Le Coin de Mel

    Oh my goodness Di, you’ve won some amazing prizes!!! All those trips, the fridge (so jealous), cash and even a car. That’s crazy! My best prize was a trip to the Rocky Mountains when I was 15. I won it on the radio 🙂

  • Stephen John King

    I,ve won some really amazing prizes over the last twenty or so years , including 3 cars, 3 trips to Australia, 2 cruises, 2
    x £5k cash , trips to world cups and a cuddly toy,……but 95% of them with slogan comps, which are now so very hard to find ,…..I recently won trip tp the Bahamas with Slimming world slogan comp ………………….and help with slogan comps running now would be greatly appreciated.so in 15 words or less………..”I should help Stephen find some slogan comps because”……..the prize on offer is a dinner date with myself *terms and conditions apply ….you must be single , female and aged between 55-65,……..and not boring!!!!

  • Anna Birch

    Wow Di, what a great top ten!

  • I love reading about your wins. This is a blog of my Courvoisier win – about three months after I started comping. https://flowerpowerlife.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/paris-in-spring-with-courvoisier/

  • emmasfabulous

    Lovely read. That Toblerone vid! Effort wins do make that win feel extra special like your choices. love my fridge freezer from AO, I found the vid entry terrifying but it paid off. My second trip to Florida was won on a radio quiz. I was ridiculously nervous but like you wrote I had that feeling I would win, even when I was on hold I knew that I’d be picked. Mostly my fave wins are days out/trips for the memories, especially when I’ve set my mind to it. Already have a boat trip & Ideal Home tickets ready for Easter hols 🙂

  • emmasfabulous

    Now that’s a dream prize, brilliant 🙂

  • emmasfabulous

    Some lovely prizes there, I love winning presents for others that they wouldn’t expect, my kids faces with their Christmas Xbox was so worth the effort of trying to win one!

  • emmasfabulous

    I won with Forest Holidays too some years back, they let me take it over Christmas it was wonderful. We pay to go now, I didn’t know it would be my type of holiday till we went. Very relaxing isn’t it x

  • Awesome!! I really enjoyed reading that. Its motivational to keep trying. When you have time can you extend it to top 50? Or top 10 quirkiest wins?

  • Well, it’s taken me five years to write this post – but I’ll keep it in mind ha ha! 😀

  • Easter holidays! I need to look into some tickets for then too – Ideal Home Show should be fun!

  • Wow! What a wonderful experience for you Christine!

  • emmasfabulous

    Looking forward to it, won Grand Designs couple of times but 1st time for Ideal Home, I suspect like you my favourite part is hunting for the comps at each stand 😉

  • Awesome I love competitions too just our fforfree dt net where i have won hundreds of dollars in prizes

  • Gemma Thompson

    Wow love reading all your wins and what an amazing top ten! I’m a new comper this year and have had some great wins so far.. Holiday to Dubai, £1000, VIP trip to Wimbledon, hotel stay, Go Pro Camera and other smaller wins. It is definitely addictive 🙂 love checking in on your blog everyday for new tips and comps.. Thanks 🙂

  • Jack Conroy

    I won a lot of prizes as a child. I tended to enter and win. The prizes were small. Which is why I probably won. That not many bothered entering. Stopped entering them as I grew up and got caught up with other things, jobs etc. Have recently started back comping.

  • Good to hear you’re going to get back into comping Jack – wishing you lots of luck!

  • Wow – that’s an awesome start Gemma. I hope those wins are in a spreadsheet! 😉

  • Sharon stanley

    I’ve recently started comping (past 2 months) and am happy to say I have so far won a glamping trip to Sundown Festival, a PS4 game for my partner, a wooden plaque, some dolls accessories, some very posh chocolates, some hangover cure drinks, cinema tickets and I’m still going. Even if i don’t win big its lovely to enter the competitions and even started blogging reviewing everything I get to show others it is possible. It’s great to hear that you have done so well and definitely spurs me on to continue my hobby

  • Awesome Dear, You are really motivational and impressive to all!!

  • Jason

    I started in 2014 so the best contest wins I have had are, (1)26,000$ F1 trip for 2 from Vancouver to Montreal, stay at the Ritz Carlton, meal at Maison Boulud, Paddock access, tour of Red Bull cars, garage, met drivers Verstappen, Riccardo, Sanz and Kvyat, transfers to airport, passes to Ritz Gala, met Mayor of Montreal, GM of the Habs Bergevin, George St Pierre, free food and drinks all weekend…rooftop swimming pool use…(2) Salmon fishing derby $3,000 for 4 people, Boston Whaler use, fishing guides, gear, free lunch and salmon bbq dinner…all 4 of us caught Chinook Salmon. (3) Monster Electric Guitar 300$-400$ Sterling AX20…Thanks Jason