Top Tips: Winning on-pack promotions

I love on-pack and in-store promotions where you need to buy products to take part, and have had lots of success with them! If you’re new to this type of competition, I suggest you have a read of my guide to different types of purchase-necessary promotions which explains all about winning moments, instant wins and POPs.

In this post I share my tips to increase your chance of winning prizes in unique code, on-pack and purchase-necessary promotions. You might also find these links helpful:

1. Choose your entry time carefully

‘I’m up all night to get lucky!’ is a great lyric for a comper. If the promotion is a ‘winning moment’ or an hourly draw, then you should enter when the least number of people will be taking part. For a 24 hour promotion, that’s usually overnight between about 1am and 5am. Most of my own instant win successes have been between 5am and 7am! Be prepared before bed – write your codes on a post-it note, or use an app on your phone, so you can enter several comps if you wake in the wee small hours.

Years ago there was a great promotion on Nutrigrain bars where you could win £500 EVERY HOUR, 24 hours a day. Clever compers realised that most people would be texting in their unique entry codes during the daytime, so they were setting alarms for 3am to text their codes in the overnight hourly draws. The result? Lots of big cash prizes for my comping friends and I – I spent £100 on the bars and had a return of £1500.

These days, a competition with hourly prize draws will usually be restricted to a 9am-9pm or 8am-8pm time slot, meaning that there’s no advantage in entering overnight. However there are still plenty of instant wins that run overnight.

2. Buy big

The more expensive the qualifying product, the less people will enter and the better your chance of winning – I once bought a washing machine, sent off the receipt and won a car. If you see a purchase-necessary promotion on bottles of champagne or spirits then consider stocking up early for Christmas gifts – but remember to watch your budget! Waitrose often do champagne and spirit promotions – and if you like books, Waterstone’s have some great prize draws when you pre-order.

3. Buy in bulk

Buying hundreds of promotional products can be controversial – it’s the type of crazy behaviour that gives compers a bad reputation! Personally, I will happily buy in bulk if it’s a product with a long shelf life or that I can distribute amongst family and friends (not easy with codes printed inside crisp or chocolate wrappers!). Kitchen roll or toilet roll promotions are a good example. I won’t go overboard with unhealthy promotions, but I know many compers that do, and have benefitted from big wins as a result.

Buy as many products as you can afford: £25 spent on chocolate might seem crazy but if you win an iPad as a result then it’s worth it – and don’t forget, you have the chocolate to eat too. If you know someone with a Cash & Carry card, see if you can borrow it to buy in bulk at a cheaper price. Be sure to check cashback apps to see if they’re offering discounts on promotional products – and try the Supermarket Comparison tool on the Latest Deals app to compare product prices in major supermarkets!

4. Be an early bird

Always look out for the word WIN on every shopping trip. Keep an eye on websites like and to find out what on-pack comps are coming up and buy promotional packs as soon as you see them. Sometimes distribution of the promo packs can be delayed and they don’t arrive in shops until after the daily instant wins have kicked off: get hold of a pack early on and you might well be the only entrant for the first few days, and if unclaimed prizes are rolled over you might win several.

In some cases you can take advantage of errors in the early days of promotions too – several lucky compers bagged New York trips as a result of a Bodyform Instant Win glitch. If you get lucky, buy more and try again! If possible, team up with other compers round the country and help each other get hold of promotional products early on.

5. Be organised

If you put your promotional packs away in the cupboard, you risk a family member using them and throwing the packaging away before you’ve managed to enter the code online! I always take photos of barcodes, and note down unique codes carefully in a Google spreadsheet, along with the web address or text entry details and the final closing date of the promotion. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can simply copy and paste the codes from my spreadsheet! If your codes include unrecognisable digits, snap a photo on your phone and read the code from this photo when you need it, trying different combos until you get it right.

Keep your receipts safe – but take a photo of them too. I snap a photo of the receipt next to each qualifying product when I unpack my shopping, then save it into a special ‘receipts’ album on my iPhone, then file the original receipt away in my ‘comps entered’ box. Usually if you win, you have to email a photo of your receipt rather than post it, so it saves scrabbling around in a panic looking for the original if you get a winning call.

Watch out if you’re entering a promotion multiple times too – sometimes if you win, the promoter will ask to see your losing receipts and packaging too! Check my tips on how to organise your POPs, receipts and quallies.

6. Subscribe to Compers News

Compers News* has dozens of purchase necessary comps in every issue – and there’s the excellent online Chatterbox forum where members share their latest finds. There have been several purchase-necessary promotions where CN subscribers have bagged almost all the prizes thanks to generous members! It costs £4.95 a month but I believe it’s worth it – currently you can sign up and get your first issue for just £1!* If you do subscribe, be sure to register for the Chatterbox forum and check it every day.
(*these are my affiliate links – if you sign up using these and remain a subscriber for 6 months I receive a small payment)

7. Enter multiple times

Lots of people enter a competition once and forget about it. But the more entries you have, the more chance you have of winning! Some purchase comps allow you to buy a single product, then enter once a day – take advantage of that, and set yourself a daily reminder. And if it’s one entry per person (rather than per household), can you get your partner to enter too? That will double your chance of a win!

If you have old phones lying around then you can pop a free Pay-as-you-go SIM in them to use for text comps that are ‘one entry per phone number’ rather than ‘one entry per person’. Put a sticker with the phone number on the back of the phone for easy reference – and make sure to keep them all charged up incase you get winning call(s)! There are a few compers who clean up on text comps because they’re prepared to spend a LOT of money sending texts from multiple phones. Personally, I would like to see promoters requesting full name & address details at the time of entry and restrict it to one entry per person, rather than just asking for a single keyword like ‘Cadbury’ – but I’ve been told by promoters that it reduces entry numbers too much!

8. Read the T&Cs properly

Check what kind of promotion it is (see my guide) in the T&Cs before you splash out – ensure you have a decent chance of winning! Sometimes you don’t even need to buy the product if it’s just the last 4 digits of a barcode or a keyword that you need to text, with no mention of proof-of-purchase in the T&Cs. You have a very slim chance of winning if the on-pack promotion has assigned prizes to pre-allocated codes, or is using an ‘algorithm’ (look for the text ‘although all prizes are available to be won, there is no guarantee they will be won’ which is a warning that your chance of a win will be poor!)

When checking T&Cs, keep in mind that your best chance of winning will usually come from ‘First entry after winning moment’ instant win promotions that run 24 hours a day. See my post what is a winning moment promotion?

9. Look out for litter

Wombling for wins can be fun! Codes on chocolate wrappers, crisp packets and pop bottles could prove lucrative – carry a plastic bag in your handbag to collect them in (this is of course a great way to keep your neighbourhood clean and tidy too!), or simply snap a photo of the code and throw the litter in a bin. In the USA I hear people go ‘dumpster diving’ when McDonalds Monopoly is in full swing, in the hope of finding rare properties and instant win codes – perhaps a step too far for me though…

10. Keep an up to date shopping list

Always have a list of current purchase-necessary promotions on your phone, or in your handbag so you can quickly see what you need to buy in certain shops. I use a Google Spreadsheet, and add entry instructions and unique code/barcode details to the competitions, plus a note of when I entered. You can also find a handy Compers Shopping List of current promotions here on SuperLucky, which is sortable by closing date and supermarket!

Have you had much success with purchase-necessary comps? Let me know in the comments!

7 Responses

  1. Carol Finning says:

    I won 7 times with Nutrigrain, 5 of them were from 1 Saturday night so I had 5 calls the next day, one after the other. My kids hated the bars but would tolerate the ones that were more like a cake. I spent about £60 so it was a great return.

  2. Anna Warner says:

    I have always tried these comps and never won a thing – other than a pint of milk with shreddies recently!

  3. Carmen Peach says:

    Ha HA Ha..RE the Nutri Grain story i believe this is when you first came into my life! I thought WOW who is this crazy lady who’s buying boxes of Nutri Grain bars by the bucket load! then it was Walkers crisps…..xx

  4. Shelley Jessup says:

    Good to see you encourage comping families I see nothing wrong in it just as long it is that actual family member comping. I personally got badly bullied as my mother started comping on Facebook & we were sharing & tagging each other in competitions *Gasp*! So the lovely compers decided that it was their mission to stop me & mum doing so. It just showed me how silly some people are & they have been put in a virtual box I have labelled computer viruses! It actually made us more determined & now my brother & Father does the odd comp & my 2 best friends do & we have some amazing times together for free via winning competitions. I’ve just came back from a health retreat in Spain which was amazing & I didn’t spend a penny

  5. Tamalyn Roberts says:

    sounds great, although a little worried about point 7, seems people should only enter themselves and all brothers sisters uncles and aunts should actually use their own phones to enter?? i would hate to know people had multiple comping phones – although that would explain why i dont win that many purchase text comps any more! the canny compers you post about seem more like cheating compers to me!

    • I don’t think it’s cheating if it’s one entry per person, and you have 4 people in your household (ie. you, hubby, kids x 2) – and there’s no ‘no third party entries allowed’ rule in the T&Cs. In the past when it was all about entry forms, compers always sent off 4 entry forms for them, their mum, their sister and their husband with 4 separate receipts and 4 different slogans! You’d often see the same surname twice on a winners list! The important thing is that the person you’re entering on behalf of KNOWS that you’re entering, and is around to answer the phone if they get a WTC! As for not winning many text comps, well that’s because there really are several compers who win a large percentage of text competitions where just a keyword is required (ie. Text GALAXY rather than GALAXY + your name). Where you or I would buy one chocolate bar and text once, they would buy one chocolate bar and text on 50 phones – after all, if there’s only one single holiday or car as a prize, they only need one receipt. Gah!

      • Tamalyn Roberts says:

        off to make up facebook and twitter accounts in all my families names whoop gonna win loads

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