Monday, June 02, 2003

Cola War Turns Stupid

I'm a Pepsi person. Mountain Dew is a Pepsi product, I prefer Pepsi over Coke, and historically Pepsi has better Superbowl commercials. But their new promotion is just stupid.

Pepsi is sponsoring a "Billion-Dollar-Give-Away". It's a contest where someone may win (insert Dr. Evil accent) ONE BILLION DOLLARS on live TV in September. Sounds cool, right? Wrong. Here's how the contest works: 1000 potential winners will pick a 6-digit number. A random 6-digit number will be generated, and who ever is closest to that number wins $1 million. Not bad, but nothing spectacular. Now if somebody hits the EXACT same 6-digit number then they win (insert Dr. Evil accent) ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

1000 numbers from 0-999,999 means that the odds of someone winning the (insert Dr. Evil accent) ONE BILLION DOLLARS are 1 in 1000. Or in other words, there is a 99.9% chance that the prize will NOT be given out. So it's hardly a big risk for Pepsi. But let's assume some lucky S.O.B. does get it. The payout is over 40 years. You "only" get $5 million a year for the first 20 years, $10 million the next 19 years, then one helluva ballon payment of $710 million the final year. So basically there's a good chance the winnner would be dead before he saw the billion. A lump-sum payment option is available, where the winner gets $250 million. You'd have to be a freakin' moron not to choose the lump-sum.

$250 million is nothing to sneeze at. But it's basically the same scale as a large Super-Lotto drawing. And at least with Lotto, you know that SOMEBODY is going to win it. Pepsi is coming up flat trying to pretend it's a real drawing for (insert Dr. Evil accent) ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

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