Creative Comping



I just love creative competitions; they are my all-time favourites. So I was elated when I found a colouring-in competition in a recent That’s Life magazine: a colouring-in competition for adults! It was just my cup of tea, so I enthusiastically coloured away for an hour or so and sent it off with the required entry coupon just a few days before I found out I was a runner-up winner in the ‘Wild and Free, Sunshine Me’ competition run by MamaPajama with a drawing I had submitted months earlier.

I realised how much I love creative competitions last summer when I woke up one morning bored with all the usual WOL, Rafflecopter, Gleam, Facebook and Instagram competitions. I felt like trying something a little more engaging, something creative, something a little ‘crafty’ perhaps – and so I immediately sought to dig them out. It didn’t take long before I came across a model building competition being run by the Spirit of Tasmania. It looked interesting with a variety of prizes including iPads and packs of colouring pencils. The competitions was divided into age groups so at first I thought, ‘this is just for children’ but when I looked further into it I spotted the last age category which was simply 15+. ‘Well’, I thought ‘I am definitely 15+’ so I decided to give it a go.

The idea of making a model of the Spirit of Tasmania although fun looked a little daunting but luckily there was also the option of doing a drawing of it. So, a drawing it was going to be and after dabbling for a while with some coloured pencils, I scanned and uploaded it, had a cup of tea and forgot about it until the winners were announced (with my fingers crossed). No, I didn’t win but as they seem to have theses types of competitions fairly regularly I made a mental note, checked out the winning entries and resolved to do a better and more creative job next time.

While I was getting over not winning that one I came across another ‘crafty’ competition but this time it was the prizes that were ‘crafty’ – five large packs of scrapbooking supplies. As there was the option of mailing in the 25 WOL answer, I decided to try that for a change, rather than just rush to the website and fill in a form. I created a handmade personalised postcard and put my answer along with a sketch on the back. It went off into the nearest post box quick smart and because of my extra effort was duly rewarded with one of the prize packs.

The third one I entered around that time was a Facebook Back-to-School competition run by Scotch Tape. The idea was to use some of their ‘Expressions’ tape to decorate some back-to-school items. OK, I don’t often break my rule about not buying anything to enter a competition, but in this case, I did. As there was six weeks of prize draws and six iPads to be won, I thought my odds might be reasonably good if I could get my creative juices flowing. It was certainly worth a try, but even though I didn’t win this time around, there is always the next one! And I am a little more experienced now.

Crafty, creative competitions like these may not be everyone’s cup of tea but they are enjoyable and on top of that can be easier to win than many of the others as most people are likely to give them a miss. Of course it does help if you have a little talent and are a little ‘crafty’ or creative yourself. So it these sort of competitions sound interesting – keep an eye out for them and at least give them a go. You may even surprise yourself!

Photo Attribution – Kotomi Creations

Some Interesting Facts, Figures and Statistics



If you, like so many others, continue with the dream to win Lotto, did you know you have more chance of being struck by lightning than winning Lotto?  Well, it’s true. According to the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing the odds of winning the NSW Lotto is about 1 in 8,145,060 with a single ticket. With Powerball, the chance of picking the six winning numbers and the Powerball number rises to 1 in 76,767,600.

The odds of winning a prize with an Instant Scratch-it is about 1:4 but that doesn’t mean that if you buy four tickets you will win with one of them, although if you are going to buy them, buying a few of one kind will certainly increase your chance of a small prize. The odds of winning one of the top prizes however can range from 1 in 700,000 to 1 in 1,500,000 or more depending on the size of prize, which means in broad terms, you are probably more likely to win an Olympic medal (1 in 662,000) or date a supermodel (1 in 88,000) or have your car stolen (1 in 340 cars) although I am not sure whether these statistics are accurate as I got these figures off the internet.

When it comes to competitions, on the other hand, the odds of winning the first or any prize can vary widely, depending on how well it is advertised and promoted; who it is being targeted at; the desirability of the prize and the method of entry. Well promoted large, national competitions with irresistible prizes will obviously attract the most entries making the chance of winning (especially the first prize) very difficult if not extremely remote. On the other hand, smaller competitions that involves writing a creative answer or uploading a photo will attract less entrants and therefore the chance of winning a prize (even if it is a runner-up prize) will be much better.

The number of competitions being run at any one time around the world is staggeringly huge. There are over 360 on this site at the moment and more are being put up every day. I haven’t found any statistics on the total number of competitions in Australia (the most registered ones are in NSW however) but it has been noted by some that around 20 percent are now being run through Facebook. I guess because just about any small business can have a go at it. I know – lots are not running by Facebook rules but there are more and more appearing every day. The number of competitions run through Instagram and Twitter are also growing in proportion to the rest.

The total value of prizes up for grabs at any one time is also staggeringly huge. A quick guess-timate of the vale of the prizes on just one page here is around $100,000. Take 5and That’s Life magazines (with a predominant female readership) advertise that they give away around $80,000 worth of prizes (including a car) each week.

With the increased take-up of smart-phones (2/3rds of the population in 2013 according to statistics), around 7.5 million people in Australia access the internet (and I presume enter competitions if they are into comping) through their mobile phone rather than their computer or laptop.

If you are reading this, you are more likely to be female and over 35, perhaps even over 40 as men are less likely to be interested (or have the time?) for comping. It appears that more people in their retirement years are getting into comping. As most prizes are aimed at females, which means that if you find a competition with a prize suitable for a male, it is worth entering it as the number of entries may be less than for other comps.

Photo attribution – Ken Whytock

The Travel Prize King



Are you constantly dreaming of winning that elusive overseas holiday or maybe just a free trip in Australia? Well, here is an inspiring story to keep you trying. Surferboy 83from the forum has won four amazing trips over the last four years.

The first one, he tells me, was through Billabong: a trip for two to Tahiti with all flights and five nights’ accommodation worth $8,000. He took his boss, a fellow surfer, and they got to surf the world famous Teahupoo Reef with pro surfers.

His second win was through a Bearded Lady Bourbon competition. This time he won a trip for two to Melbourne (not overseas but still a pretty good score, eh?) to watch Liverpool play Melbourne at the MDG. He and a mate even got to met Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler and be part of a YouTube video – Liverpool Crossbar Challenge 2013.

His third win was through a creative Facebook competition – five nights in Phuket, Thailand which he used as a second honeymoon with his wife. This one was worth about $5,000.

The last one, which he won only a month or so ago through a competition run by Bendon underwear, is his biggest win so far. “Worth a whopping $12,000” he tells me, “it includes eight night’s 5 star accommodation for two, all meals and return flights to San Francisco, USA.”

     So, what does it take to have so much success with travel prize competitions? Well, according to Surferboy, winning these amazing trips is not just about being lucky: he works hard at it. As he tells me “to win a travel prize, you have to be dedicated. It takes roughly 60-100 entries into different competitions, to win one”. It is just as well he loves entering competitions but he mainly only enters the travel ones. Surferboy’s best tip is to just have fun with the 25WOL answers (but he does find that rhyming ones don’t work for him). “If the answer makes you laugh,” he suggests, “it is likely to make the judges laugh too. This can often better your chances of winning.”  And he also reminds me that putting the product name into the answer can help too. “It takes skilland lots of time but when you get that winning call or email or you’re heading to the airport for a free trip…it keeps you coming back for more…”

     So now, how do you find those great travel prize competitions? There are always plenty of current travel prize competitions on this website at any one time (at the moment there are heaps!). Check in daily and then if you are looking for any that you think you might have missed, search the site by clicking on travel in the Category section or type ‘holiday’ or ‘cruise’ etc into the general search function on the site.

It also pays to keep an eye on the websites or Facebook pages of airline companies and travel booking agencies, not just for cheap flights and holidays but also for competition promotions. If you are a member of your state motorist association (like NRMA in NSW or RACV in Victoria etc) it is worth scanning their monthly magazines and websites for competitions and other offers. Then there are the motel and hotel chains, like Best Western and Hotel Club or camping and caravanning sites like BIG4 Holiday Parks and the major cruise companies that operate out of Australia. Finally it also makes sense to register with as many Tourist Organisations as possible. This might mean you will be bothered in your inbox from time to time but it could be worth it. I would subscribe to both Aussies ones and any overseas destinations that take your fancy.

So, good luck, don’t give up and happy travelling!

Photo attribution – Horizons2035

Zen and the Art of Day-to-Day Comping



It was roughly a year and a half ago that I came up with the bright, if not slightly insane, idea of writing this weekly blog. And so, it began and continues. Although I have been entering competitions (or ‘comping’) for most of my life, it has only been fairly recently that I decided to take it more seriously when I found I had more time on my hands. However as serious as it has been over this last year or so, it has also been heaps of fun and I still get a real buzz when the prizes arrive at my door. It keeps me going.

Some people think I am a little crazy but it does pay to be at least a little crazy especially when putting together those ubiquitous 25 words or less answers to some pretty weird questions. As crazy as I might seem to others, I can only say that it is not only the prizes that attract me (although they are always welcomed and often gifted on) it is also the creative challenges that keep me engaged.

Comping can be additive but it is also immensely enjoyable, social and rewarding as long as you are not disappointed and put off too soon when you realise that it is actually quite difficult to win that overseas holiday you have always dreamed of winning or that new car (but many people do win theses so there is always hope and it pays to be persistent). If you read through the blogs and on the forum you will find it is quite possible and often easier than you might think to win all kinds of things, not to mention the occasional weekend away or restaurant voucher even if you don’t win your dream prize. Then there are all the freebies and the cash from doing regular surveys you can also get if you play your cards right.

I am by no means an expert although I can confess to winning the average of at least one prize a week. But comping is not always about the number of wins: it is about the fun and the challenge. Over the last year or so I have taken a good look at all the ins and outs of comping from various perspectives, had a go at analysing it as much as I could and have tried to come up with as many ideas, contacts, hints and tips as I could fit into my regular blog. I love helping others get started in this fabulous hobby (or lifestyle as some of my comping friends would call it).

If there were just a few things I could write here to sum up what I feel is the best  approach to comping it would be these:-

Be Patient but Persisitant. Approach your comping with patience but it will also be your persistence that will keep you going and in the end, lead to success (keeping in mind that what one person regards as success may be quite different to another).

Be Kind to Others. Just like any hobby, comping is more satisfying and stimulating when you can share your adventure with others – your wins and your disappointments. If you are seriously into comping you might be a little competitive but it will be your kindness and respect for other compers that will enable you to get the most out of it.

Always Thank the Sponsors. If you can get the opportunity this is not only a sign of courtesy but it can pay off in the long run (good karma?). 

Respect the Rules and Enjoy the Ride. Finally, there is no guarantee that you will win a prize no matter how many competitions you enter but the more you learn about comping the more chance you will have. Respecting the rules of competitions is vitally important but even more important, though, is to have fun, be brave, try something a little more creative each time and enjoy the ride….

Photo attribution – Timtak