Originally known as a sweepstake, Instant Win promotions give consumers the chance of winning prizes with their success entirely dependent on their ‘ticket’. The ticket itself can come in multiple forms; from a code printed on the packaging to finding a gold token within the product itself.

As with all mechanics, Instant Win promotions have their pro’s and con’s. Read on to understand how this mechanism can work hard for you, and whether an Instant Win mechanic is suitable for your brand and promotion.

Benefits of Instant Win promotions

  • Winning ‘tokens’ can come in almost any shape and format, from the standard codes and symbols on product packaging to something a little more fun such as gold tickets, peel-off tags, or money actually hidden in the product! With a little creativity, the token itself can speak volumes about your brand and be just as engaging as the prizes.
  • Instant Win promotions add an element of drama and anticipation to the consumer journey, with each purchase adding a new chance to be a winner.
  • Whilst winners may have to wait for a physical prize to be redeemed, the gratification of being a winner is felt straight away. For those winning an offer, such as BOGOF, ‘try me free’ or the ability to swap the winning token for low-value products such as a portion of chips, the instant gratification is even bigger as their prize is available straight away!
  • This mechanism makes it easy to manage your budget by producing only the number of winning tokens to fit that budget.
  • Ensuring your promotion doesn’t over redeem can be covered off by simply using an experienced sales promotion agency who will insure you against such risk no matter how many customers actually win.
  • It’s easy to adapt Instant Win promotions to create an online version or to add an online redemption stage, to appeal to a broader generational market whilst providing an opportunity to collect additional valuable information.
  • Prizes can be tiered to ensure that a promotion running for three months, for example, has a number of prizes on offer, to ensure excitement lasts the duration of the period even if the headline prize is won within the first week.

Things you need to think carefully about

  • If your budget is split into several prizes, don’t imply the total value of your promotion can be won by one individual. In addition, don’t expect winners to incur costs to claim their prizes.
  • Redemption claims accompanied by a proof of purchase helps ensure your winners are true customers of your business and provides an added element of security.
  • The ‘seeding’ process, in which winning tickets are added to product packages, needs to be carried our securely especially for tickets that are visually obvious such as golden tickets. Working with a secure production, printing and fulfilment company, will manage the process of ensuring winning tokens are out of sight of the main production line.
  • Even geographical distribution helps ensure the promotion is fair and open to all.
  • Is using scratch cards to create instant winners, check check and check again. Once they are printed they can’t be changed. Partnering with an agency that has all the right processes in place and experience of creating scratch cards will provide you with that layer of security & ensure you don’t go over budget!
  • Whilst tokens need to be positioned to make them visible, you will also need to ensure they remain secure hence why tokens are generally positioned inside packages, whilst using eye-catching marketing on the packaging. This will drive actual purchase as the token can’t be retracted until the package has been sold.


Case Studies


South African food brand, Lucky Star, wanted to give their consumers a taste of the ‘Super Life by winning a super prize – a share of R1,000,000.

The promotion, ‘100 days of Super’ encouraged customers to check under the label of their colourful food cans to see if they had a winning barcode that would result in a R100,000 cash prize. Those consumers without a winning barcode were given a second chance to text the last 4 barcode digits to win R1,000 in instant cash.

To drive the excitement even further, a trade incentive was run at the same time with prizes of store makeovers worth R25,000 available to those stores stocking 10 or more Lucky Star shrink wrapped cases.

Mando provided promotional consultation, developed the promotional mechanics for all prize segments, and a fixed fee service to cover the cost of all redemptions to eliminate potential risk.



Food brand Beacon wanted to offer an eye-catching headline to drive purchase volume and brand engagement levels.

The brand required inspiration and advice on how to make a campaign stand out whilst ensuring costs would not spiral.

The ‘Egg-Stravaganza’ was launched, hiding Golden Egg stickers within multipacks of their signature milk chocolate marshmallow eggs. For those consumers lucky enough to find these stickers, they were prompted to enter the URN number followed by the unique code hidden behind the sticker on to a bespoke competition microsite for a chance to win a share of R1,000,000 or a family holiday worth R20,000.

The prize allocation algorithm was ‘refreshed’ each week to ensure prizes were spread evenly across the promotional period, giving consumers a fresh chance to win and the temptation to buy another multipack, driving sales over the promotion.

Mando supported Beacon through promotional consultation to provide a headline grabbing promotion that could be managed within their budget, and provided a fixed fee service to cover all variable costs to eliminate any potential risk.