Why I Rarely Submit No Purchase Entries Anymore

When I first started contesting in 2001 a single First Class stamp in Canada was 47₵. Today a single stamp is $1 PLUS tax, or you can save a few pennies buy buying a book of ten for $8.50 plus tax.

In my first book I wrote:

I always support the sweepstakes sponsor by buying their products to get the PIN codes. When companies deem their promotions are successful, they will keep running them and possibly, even run more.

However, it is not healthy to eat too much chocolate, soda pop, sugary cereal, etc. In addition to buying the sponsor’s products, I use the No Purchase Entry (NPE) method and send away for additional PIN codes or I go PIN code hunting.

When submitting a No Purchase Entry (NPE) was far less expensive it made sense.

Today I read the rules for the current Canada Dry promotion:

flash-enNO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Alternatively, to obtain one (1) PIN, while supplies last, without making a purchase, print your first name, last name, telephone number, date of birth and complete mailing address (including postal code) on a plain white piece of paper and mail it (in an envelope with sufficient Canadian postage) along with: (i) a handwritten 100 word (or more) unique and original essay explaining what Real Ahhh a Day means to you; and (ii) a self-addressed pre-paid stamped envelope with sufficient return Canadian postage; to the following address: Canada Dry NPN PIN Request, P.O. Box 9410, Toronto, ON M3C 4C6 (collectively, the “Request”). Upon receipt of a Request in accordance with these Rules, you will receive one (1) randomly selected PIN per unique and original Request per envelope with sufficient Canadian postage. To be eligible, a Request must: (i) be received separately in a single envelope bearing sufficient Canadian postage (i.e. multiple Requests in the same envelope will be void); and (ii) be post-marked during the Contest Period and received by no later than August 22, 2016 to allow Sponsor sufficient time to mail back the PIN via regular mail.

My first thought was, “I wonder where ginger ale is on sale?“, because when you can buy a 2L bottle of pop for less than sending away for for a PIN and enjoy the product, why bother.

Raise The Cup

Same with chocolate. I can buy a bar for 77₵ AND eat the chocolate. Again, why send away for a NPE that would cost as much as three bars?!

In Canada, high postage rates are a marketer’s dream because the end goal of all marketing activities are increase sales. If I would rather buy then send away, mission accomplished. The bonus for us is when sponsor’s see their promotions garnering the results they seek, they will host more giveaways.

The other way to obtain codes is to go PIN code hunting, or wombling as it’s known in the UK, although it seems much harder to do that it used to be. I am not sure if I am not doing it wrong or all the people living in my neighbourhood are just super healthy, but I mostly find water bottles filling the recycle bins on my morning walks.

Do you send away for NPEs?

2016-12-26T21:50:49+00:00 May 20th, 2016|Contesting, Sweepstaking|6 Comments

About the Author:

Carolyn Wilman (aka @ContestQueen) is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Sweepstakes Specialist. Carolyn teaches others how to Find, Organize, Enter and Win giveaways along with working with companies to create, and viral market, winning promotions maximizing ROI and loyal customers.


  1. Teresa Young May 20, 2016 at 9:40 am - Reply

    I do send away for some NPEs but very infrequently, maybe one per month.

    One thing that helps me with postage – I am a ‘mail decoy’ for a company called Quad Readers Club. I received catalogs & other mailings with a code number that I have to report to the company. It takes less that 5 minutes a week. In appreciation for my time they send me 10 1st class stamps per month. I don’t know if there is a similar company in Canada.

  2. Anna May 20, 2016 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Funnily enough I read this and went “oh shoot, I gotta mail in an NPE for that contest expiring soon!” and did that! 😛 Thanks for the reminder Carolyn! In summary yes I do enter NPE, but I certainly think about it before I do. If the sweepstakes/contest has an automatic entry with every purchase of some item at a store than I don’t bother because if people are entering a contest passively like that, there certainly is way too many entries!

    As to PIN requests, I sometimes do it but I try to do it early on because sometimes you mail them the self addressed stamped envelope like they asked for in the rules and they run out of PINs (or possibly ignore you -> I’m looking at you MELITA coffee!)

    I’m curious, how legal is to hold a contest that people enter without knowing they entered? (by passively buying deodorant or a roll of toilet paper and swiping their loyalty card at the grocery store?), It always felt wrong to me simply because contests have legal obligations, and the official rules are like a contract to which terms to agree to, so it seems to me it should only be legal if people entered consciously first.

  3. Anne Derkat May 21, 2016 at 8:58 am - Reply

    I don’t send away for all the reasons that you mentioned, Carolyn.

    But I wanted to ask you about the contests put on by magazines, Woman’s Day for example, where they have a separate place to enter if you don’t want a subscription. Does anyone win on these contests if they don’t subscribe?

    • Samantha Kelley May 21, 2016 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      Anne – I don’t subscribe to Woman’s Day but have won several times. I even won my honeymoon through them!

  4. MsCrookedHalo May 21, 2016 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Yeah, uh….they lost me a writing the essay. A handwritten one at that! Lol.

  5. Elsie MacLeod June 5, 2016 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    Well, I totally agree, why anyone would waste their time, effort and money is ridiculous. At the very least, they could e-mail the pin to you. Well, I sent for a ‘free’ pin to M&M and got a coupon for a package of candy, which I thought would carry a pin in it…but the coupon was for a small package, costing 99 cents, the larger package with the pin was around $4. So, I spent $2 and wasted my time and effort for a 99 cent bag of candy. I felt ripped off and discouraged. I probably should’ve contacted them on Facebook or something. Another example I have is when I wrote to Campbell soup, they were suppose to give you a coupon to buy a can of soup or give you a PIN…I couldn’t find a can that was specially marked in the Edmonton area….I got a letter back, informing me that they had run out of PINS…..this was about 2-3 months before the contest ended. Again, I wasted my time and effort and $2.00. It would’ve been nice if they had at least sent me some discount coupons for their products. I give up!

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