Why Coca-Cola won’t be giving away 5,000 Unforgettable Experiences this summer

Have you spotted the new Coca-Cola promotion on pack yet? I wouldn’t be surprised if you have! It’s on every variation of Coke plus Fanta, Sprite and Dr Pepper too. The text on promotional packs tells us there are 5,000 ‘unforgettable experiences’ available to be won instantly when you put in a unique code from your product, including a fashionista trip to Paris and whale-watching in Iceland.

Why Coca-Cola won't be giving away 5,000 unforgettable experiences...

But hold on… do you see that word available on the label – and the **? That’s not good news. Unfortunately, this promotion is yet another misleading instant win, similar to McCain’s Great Village Raffle, where a huge number of prizes are advertised but only a small percentage (typically less than 4%) will actually be won. In the case of McCain, a measly 0.56% of the prizes were won!

Unlike other companies (I’m looking at you, Belvoir!), at least Coca-Cola have included the important word ‘available’ on the front – ‘1000’s available to be won**’.  But does that mean much to the average consumer? It’s only when you go to www.coke.co.uk/summer to read the full T&Cs, and scroll a long, long way to point 49 that you get the full explanation of how winners are chosen.

What are the chances of winning?

All 5,000 advertised prizes will only be won if all the promotional codes are entered. So let’s have a guess at how many promotional codes will be out there during the next two months.

I had a look on the Coca Cola GB website and found an interesting statistic that they produce 2.5 billion cans of soft drink each year in the UK – including Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt, as well as Coca-Cola.

So we can use that figure to start with. Could we guess at another billion bottles a year too? So – on average, 3.5 billion divided by 12 = about 290 million products every month. That figure is probably too high though – a lot of those cans would be in multipacks (and you only get one code in a multipack!). And it’s hard to say whether the packs will be produced in the factory for longer than a month (the promotion lasts for just over two months, with packs lingering on the shelves for a while longer).

For the 2017 ‘Win a Holiday’ promotion Coca-Cola kindly told us that they produced 110 million promotional packs – but this was limited to the Coke Classic/Diet/Zero, and wasn’t on individual cans. Taking into account that the 2018 promotion is also on Fanta, Sprite and Dr Pepper – plus on glass bottles too, there could be more than double that amount of promo packs.

For simplicity, let’s take a conservative guess at 250,000,000 promotional packs. Divide that figure by the 5,000 prizes to be won, that would give you a 1 in 50,000 chance of winning with every code you enter. Put another way, approximately every 50,000th code input on the website will be a winner. It’s not great odds is it? 

For a promotion like this you would expect between 1% and 5% of unique codes to be input online – and so, only between 50 and 250 of those 5,000 prizes are likely to be won. Marketing agencies will argue that it’s the consumer’s fault – and if more of us put our codes in, more prizes would be won.  Of course, that’s true (although with a long shelf life for promotional stock, 100% of advertised prizes would never be given away, with a lot of codes going into the ‘late entry’ draw for a single prize) but for a big brand like Coke, I still think it’s a shame that they’ve gone down this route, as most people will buy the product genuinely believing there will be 5,000 winners.

I would have preferred them to use a ‘Win an unforgettable experience every day’ prize draw (like 2017 Coke promos ‘Win a holiday every day‘ & ‘Win £5,000 every day‘) – where a prize is guaranteed to be won in a daily prize draw from all entries. Or even a winning moment every day. Only 63 prizes would be won, and of course there would still be a low chance of winning – but at least we would be certain that all the advertised prizes would be awarded!

Update! I’ve heard from one of my Irish readers that this is the format they’re using for the Irish version of this promotion – starting on 2nd July there’s a prize draw every day for one unforgettable experience until 26th August. How strange that they should do it one way for Great Britain, and another way for ROI/Northern Ireland! If you’re in Ireland you can enter at www.coke.ie/summer.

Why Coca-Cola won't be giving away 5,000 unforgettable experiences...

How to enter

  • Buy a promotional single bottle, can or multipack of Coke, Diet Coke or Coke Zero, Sprite, Fanta or Dr Pepper.
  • Look for your 10 digit unique code, either under the ringpull, bottle cap or on a card inside the multipack (if the code from your cap or ringpull code isn’t accepted, try replacing a O with a zero or a Q, and a Y with a V)
  • Register and enter your code at www.coke.co.uk/summer
  • You can enter up to five different codes a day

The promotion is open to residents of England, Wales and Scotland, aged 16 or older with a passport. Irish residents should enter at www.coke.ie/summer from 2 July.

Your last chance to win instantly is on 26th August 2018, but late entries will go into a draw to win one more unforgettable experience – this closes on 7th October 2018.

The prizes

Each winner will be offered a choice of ten prizes – you can find out more in the T&Cs.

  • Go whale watching in Iceland
  • Have a sleep over in an Igloo in Germany
  • Enjoy a fashionista’s weekend in Paris
  • Learn with a celeb make-up artist
  • Escape with a meditation in Italy
  • Enjoy a VIP tour of Wembley
  • Catch a wave in Portugal
  • Learn to be a graffiti artist in Berlin
  • Enjoy the ultimate gamer’s experience in Amsterdam
  • Record a track in a professional studio in London

Don’t buy – womble!

The chance of winning an unforgettable experience is tiny – and I don’t recommend you buy the products if you wouldn’t usually drink them. But it’s still a good opportunity for you to do some wombling for wins – look out for promo cans and bottles littering your local park, and keep an eye out at festivals and sporting events too. You don’t need to show any proof of purchase if you win, so you could take a photo of the code then throw away the bottle or can.

If you’d like to try a promotion with a better chance of a win, the Pepsi Perfect Match promotion is running until 31st July 2018, with TVs, branded glasses and bowls, and thousands of vouchers up for grabs!

Of the 5,000 advertised prizes, how many do YOU think will be awarded? Let me know in the comments!

13 Responses

  1. Alan S says:

    I collect any with competitions on but am on the look out for the latest ones that are on the Lucazade bottles and Carabao cans.
    Not seen any Carabao cans yet but found some of the latest Lucazade bottles . I will let you know if i have any success with them.

  2. Alan S says:

    I am a litter picker at a major theme park and pick up far more than the five codes per day that you can enter. Entered 5 codes
    most days without any wins , so this proves there is little chance of winning.

    • Di says:

      Do you also look out for Lucozade Sport bottles (to enter on the Made to Move app), the new Larazade bottles, and Carabao cans Alan? You’ll have a better chance of winning with those! Cadbury Match & Win, and the Walkers Regional Favourites packets are worth looking out for this summer too!

  3. Ian Thompson says:

    The old Coke Zone site actually paid dividends. Wombling bore plenty of codes and a few prizes & redemptions too.

  4. Sue Bennett says:

    Definitely prefer the older format. I managed a Vegas trip using the points for entries system many years ago but don’t hold out much hope for this competition.

  5. I’ve been wombling a few for this one just in case. Do you know if the odds would be any better if entering at night/early hours of the morning or not if it is a predetermined moment?

    • Di says:

      It’s not a ‘winning moments’ promotion so it wouldn’t affect your chance of winning – every entry has exactly the same chance of winning as any other!

  6. Andy K says:

    Agreed, what a rubbish contest. Not really worth wobbling either. If it was a guaranteed prize everyday then I would.

    Bring back that old Coke Zone points system.

    • Di says:

      Oddly enough though, if it WAS one guaranteed prize a day your chance of winning would probably be similar to this format, or even worse! But a daily prize draw would be a more honest way to do it – and indeed, that’s what they’re doing for the Irish version.

  7. Lon says:

    I love the way you have worked out the chance/probability of winning and have had a proper butchers at the terms and conditions! As for wombling, I don’t think I’ll be rummaging around the festival bins looking for codes!

  8. Paul says:

    When I go to that website I get “Summer prep in progress
    We’re planning to make summer 2018 an unforgettable one, but we’re not quite ready yet. Keep hold of your code and come back on 02/07/2018 for the chance to win an unforgettable experience that will make your summer. “

  9. Paul says:

    It’s now the 11th of July and the comp is still not open for Ireland/Northern Irelanddespite supposed to be starting on the 2nd!

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