Top Tips: Winning on-pack promotions

I recently blogged with a guide to different types of purchase-necessary promotions, and here are my top ten tips on winning unique code and on-pack promotions.

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 need to be entering when the least number of people will be entering – for a 24 hour promotion, that’s usually overnight between about 1am and 5am. I’ve had most of my instant wins between 5am and 6am when I get up with my son!

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 (I was freelance at the time and would take Tupperware boxes of the bars into the different offices I was working at!).

These days, a competition with hourly prizes will usually be restricted to a 9am-9pm or 8am-8pm time slot, meaning that there’s no advantage in entering overnight. If you do spot a 24 hour one then go for it – Yeo Valley and Rowntrees Randoms 6am entries resulted in lots of nice wins for me, while my friend Steve (Compers News Editor and instant win fan) won £5000 cash by entering his unique code from Pure Life water at 3am!

2. Buy big

The more expensive the qualifier, 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 it might be worth stocking up early for Christmas gifts – but remember to watch your budget! Waitrose and M&S often do champagne or brandy promotions.

3. Buy in bulk

Now, this can be controversial – it’s the type of 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 (which isn’t easy with codes inside wrappers or under ringpulls!). Plenty kitchen roll or Velvet toilet roll promotions are a great example. I won’t buy too much ice cream or chocolate, although I know many compers who have bought hundreds of Magnums in the past – and their reward was thousands of pounds of prizes! Buy as much as you can without feeling guilty: £25 spent on Aeros 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 too! If you know someone with a Cash & Carry card, see if you can borrow it to buy in bulk. Be sure to check cashback apps to see if they’re offering discounts on promotional products too!

4. Be an early bird

Keep an eye on websites like and to find out what on-pack comps are coming up and buy coded 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 there might be errors in the early days of promotions too – in fact, several lucky compers bagged New York trips as a result of a Bodyform Instant Win glitch. Make sure you’re looking for WIN on every supermarket trip!

5. Organise entry codes

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 entered the comp! I always note down unique codes immediately and carefully using the free notes app Evernote on my iPhone, along with the web address or text entry details and the final closing date of the promotion. If I wake up early, I will enter a handful of instant win comps by simply copying and pasting the codes from my list. If your codes include unrecognisable digits, snap a photo on your phone (this can also be filed in the Evernote app, if you use it) and read the code from this photo when you need it, trying different combos until you get it right!

6. Subscribe to Compers News

Compers News has details of hundreds of purchase necessary comps in every issue, along with a handy shopping list of current promotions – 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 to subscribe but it’s worth it – current annual sub is £59.40 (with a 28 day free trial). If you do subscribe, be sure to register for the Chatterbox forum and check it daily.

7. Use spare phone handsets

This is something else that may be frowned upon. I certainly don’t advocate having 40 SIM cards on the go at once (some compers do, you know!) but if you do have old phone handsets lying around then you might as well 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 (sometimes up to 40 handsets!). 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 that it reduces entry numbers too much!

8. Read the T&Cs

Check what kind of promotion it is (see my guide) in the T&Cs before you splash out. 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! 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’. 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. If you read the text ‘although all prizes are available to be won, there is no guarantee they will be won’ – think twice about entering as your chance of a win will be poor! (see my posts on misleading instant win promotions and 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 your receipt/packaging safe

For promotions where you need a receipt rather than an on-pack code, I take a photo of my receipt on my phone as soon as I get home, then file the original away in my ‘comps entered’ box. Quite often if you win, you have to email a photo of your receipt through rather than post it, so it saves scrabbling around in a panic looking for the original if you get the 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!

Did you enjoy this? Check my Di’s Prize Buys category for details of the latest purchase-necessary promotions!

6 Responses

  1. Anna Warner says:

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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.