Promotions - Why do we play these things?

Why does anyone with an ounce of rationale play a sweepstakes, instant win game or other promotion? I can show you statistics that say 8 out of 10 people play promotions and that our company has created promotions that drive millions of registrants… But that doesn’t answer the question of “Why”? People are naturally risk averse – so why with such a low probability of success would anyone take a moment out of their day to experience the high probability of failure? There are some people who will play a single promotion over 10 times! Fool me once, fool me twice….fool me 10 times? That can only be termed as masochistic behavior. So why do it? The answer came from an unlikely place – high school. In high school, how many of us wanted to ask the prettiest, most popular girl out on a date? It was extraordinarily unlikely that she would say “yes” but part of each of us dreamed “maybe”…there’s a chance. She might be a “10”, I might be a “5” but there’s a chance. Now realistically many (or most) of us didn’t take that chance. Why? Because we fear rejection. We fear humiliation. We fear failure. But if you could ask her with complete anonymity and very little adverse impact on your life, would you take that one in a million chance? Of course you would! Which brings us back to promotions….there’s no penalty for failure but there is a chance to dream. Even if the odds of winning a sports car or a million dollars are slim, we like to dream that we could be the ONE – the WINNER. Maybe just this one time the pretty girl will say “yes”. And that’s not masochism. That’s optimism. And that’s why people play promotions.

Published On
Thursday, August 9, 2007