Grumpy Editor thought a glimmering bonanza had been struck. From out of the blue came an eye-popping e-mail message. It read, “Exciting news! The Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol could visit your home to award you a $1O,OOO,OOO.OO SuperPrize from Giveaway No. 1170...”
The magic word is “could.”
Then it, along with all the capitalization, continued, “Just follow any of these special links and you will immediately receive a $1O,OOO,OOO.OO Online Entry Registration Form. Submit your Entry Registration Form by the deadline and you'll be in the running for this SuperPrize that our Prize Patrol guarantees to deliver.”
Although it would brighten up the day, those nine zeroes fall short of a whopping $1 billion. With the decimal point, they add up to just $10 million. And, interestingly, clicking on “any of these special links,” mentioned high up in the pitch, sends each of the six links to the same page --- the order form.
Indicating where the appeal lies, the lengthy form is topped by cover illustrations of six magazines, all geared toward women readers. Publications in that and other categories, including sports and travel, can be ordered via four payments.
But looking closely at the bottom of the form, just above the submit button, are the lines: “No purchase necessary to enter” and “A purchase won’t improve an individual’s chance of winning.” A “no purchase necessary” phrase also appears atop the order form at the end of a paragraph that starts, “An order is appreciated.”
The PCH folks hope readers don’t note those clarifying lines in small type.
Mention is made that if “the SuperPrize number assigned to you in this bulletin matches the winning number drawn,” the $10 million will be awarded.
Hopes were dashed, however, when the assigned number couldn't be found in the e-mail pitch.