Did You Start Entering Contests too Late to Notice the Changes to the Hobby

The Contest Hobby Has Changed & Not for the Better


After 15 years of entering contests and winning prizes I am seeing numerous large changes in the contest hobby. 

If you are just getting into the hobby it's probably not too noticeable. But for us seasoned contest lovers we see the change, oh boy do we will see it. 

What has changed with Contests?

  1. Less prizes from contests from large brands
  2. More cheaters than ever
  3. Smaller prizes than years before
  4. Less appealing prizes 
  5. More sponsors not honouring the no purchase needed entry law within Canada
  6. More pick up your own prize giveaways
  7. Less contests all together
  8. Stricter rules (Some make no sense)
  9. Not honouring prizes
  10. More purchase needed contests
Lets touch on each one a little bit. Before you say, "Well inflation blah blah blah" Remember brands are making more during inflation, and over pricing us for well, everything. 

1. Less Prizes from Large Brands

A few years ago large brands had some of the most amazing contests. Prizes were great and often there were between 500- 1000 prizes per contest. This of course was drawing in more people to enter and giving their brand some wonderful advertising. 

Now large brands are offering printable couples and only a handful of prizes to their large country wide consumers. 

2. More Cheaters than Ever

As a contest lover and FB group admin, I see the number of cheaters growing so fast! Between making fake social media accounts and entering from a million emails the cheaters are multiplying. You can usually spot them a mile away. 

When visiting other contest forums and reading the comments you can actually see people don't even hide their cheating anymore. They brag on public forums about how to get around contest rules and help others cheat the system too. Another reason I avoid large aggregate websites. There are only 2 I ever visit and 1 of those 2 has cheaters teaching others how to cheat. 

Just know cheaters, we see you! Trust me we see you. 

TIP: Don't believe the comments you read on the free forums, and definitely  don't take the advice of every comment you see. 

3. Smaller Prizes

When it comes to sizes of prizes much like quantity they are getting smaller and smaller by the year. Looking at General Mills contests and the previous years contest the prizes now aren't even worth the purchase of the product to enter. And mark my words General Mills is not feeling the financial hurt that us the consumer are feeling. 

Purchasing a $7 box of cereal to win a $3 coupon... Not worth it. 

4. Less Appealing Prizes

As a long time contester I have won hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of amazing prizes. Now I am hard pressed to find a contest that has prizes that appeal to me. And I am not the only one. I guess when you have won some high value amazing prizes over the years, a water bottle and t-shirt just don't have the appeal they once had. They are seen as clutter prizes. 

5. No Purchase Needed Entry Not Being Honoured

This issue is almost always with large brands who think they are untouchable and no one will complain. But we do complain, oh how we complain!  

There are certain contests now run by brands such as Labatt, that I just won't waste my time entering. They do everything in their power to not honour the no purchase needed entry option. Even to the point of changing the rules mid contest to avoid answering the email essays they set forth in the rules from the start of the contest. 

In the previous years contests actually honoured their no purchase needed entry option, not so much anymore for a select few. 

6. Pick Up Your Own Prize

As shipping costs soar, more and more prizes given away in giveaways are Pick Up Your Prize giveaways. These were not as prevalent a few years ago, and prizes were shipped right to you. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I am an instant gratification lover, so I actually prefer to pick up prizes vs waiting on snail mail. 

The issue comes with giveaways that don't disclose that the prizes have to be picked up, in hopes to gain more followers and then let people down at the end. 

7. Less Contests All Together 

There used to be so many yearly fun contests that have just faded away. Tic Tac used to have super fun instant win contests and they just completely stopped having them. I won quite a few prizes in their yearly contests including an ice cream maker which I still use 4 years later.

If you have been enjoying this hobby for many years like me I'm sure you have noticed the decline in the amount of contests running. 

8. Stricter Rules and Odd Ones

Rules and regulations are something that any contest running in Canada has to have. But some are getting super strict and weird. 

Rules now have clauses like you can't be a sweeper to enter which is insanity. I don't know where their marketing team learned this way of running a contest, but it only hurts their clients brand. It's ONLY contest lovers who are entering so once you eliminate them, you have a dead and boring contest no one partakes in.

Years ago everyone in your home that was an adult could enter a contest to win a prize. Many contests now only allow one person in your home to win a prize from their contest. 

The Cadbury Snacktion contest that I won one of the grand prizes with last month, had super strict rules. Many people disqualified themselves without even realising it. Only ONE person in a household or address could enter the contest. If more than one person entered at the same address they wouldn't be in the running for a grand prize win. 

9. Not Honouring Prizes

In the last 2 years for the first time ever in all the years I have been entering contests I have had to fight to get prizes I rightfully won. This was never an issue in previous years. I never had to chase down a prize or send constant emails asking for my prizes. Now it's the norm and especially with large brand contests.  Many of the ones I have had to chase down are being run in partnership with the Raptors Basketball team. You would think the Raptors legal team wouldn't be pleased with real fans being mistreated, but shockingly they keep using the same marketing team that doesn't honour prizes until legal threats are made. 

The Starting Line Up contest which has been a yearly contest is one of those contests you better be ready to fight to get the prizes you win. 

10.  More Purchase Needed Contests

This can be a pro or a con depending on your contest hobby. Personally I love purchase needed contests and have won most of my high value prizes with them. I do use the no purchase needed entry options but only rarely. I love supporting a brand and then winning a prize for doing so. 

I am seeing way more receipt contests than even before. So for me this is a great bonus. I will even buy the product if I don't use it. I give the product away as a gift or I donate it to someone in need. 

The contest hobby is a fun one! But it sure has changed in the last few years. If you are just starting out in entering contests you may be coming to the party late.  Learning how to enter giveaways (different than a contest) is probably your best bet to increase the amount of prizes you can win. 

Learning how to use social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram is the best way to do that. Long gone are the days of hundreds of websites with contest entry forms. 

Happy contest entering, and good luck in everything you enter! 🍀

Wishing You Good Luck!