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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

contests galore, and a secret to help you win

So, the entries are flooding in for the giveaways I posted last night (while I was celebrating Bruce Campbell Week into the wee hours with a marathon viewing of Jack of All Trades, which I’ll be talking about later today), and damn if it isn’t happening again. I make the rules of entry perfectly plain, and still it seems that huge numbers of people are unable or unwilling to read them. Which means that for contests that require simply an address, I still get entries with no address. Those entries get chucked, as the rules promise will happen. For contests that ask entrants to write a funny caption — like the new one for the McCallum DVD set — I get positively enormous numbers of entries with no caption. Those get chucked, too.

[UPDATE: I’d barely posted this when an entry came in with this message: “Sorry, it’s a Canadian mailing address” even though the rules state unequivocally and more than once that this particular contest the sender wished to enter is open only to those with U.S. mailing addresses. Sheesh. What is it with these people?]

[OKAY, ONE MORE UPDATE: Why are some contests limited to U.S. mailing addresses? Sometimes it’s a rule passed on to me by the companies offering the prizes; they are limited for some reason (probably legal mumbo-jumbo crap) from distributing prizes beyond U.S. borders. Sometimes it’s a rule I have to impose, because I’m the one mailing the prizes, spending the cash to mail this stuff from my own pocket, and I can’t afford to be shipping stuff all over the planet — postage prices jump dramatically once packages have to cross a border, even just into Canada, and plus then there’s the extra hassle of customs declarations for those packages. Someday, when I’m made of money, I’ll ship prizes to the Moon. Till then, it ain’t gonna happen. Sorry.]

So here’s the secret: Those caption contests are for the high-value or hard-to-find items, and most people who enter instantly disqualify themselves. And 95 percent of the people who do follow the rules send the first caption that springs to mind — you wouldn’t believe the percentage of entries in my Broken Trail contest that referenced Brokeback Mountain; none of those won because they lacked originality. So if you follow the rules, write an amusing and unobvious caption, and include your address, your chances of winning are pretty darn high because your competition is relatively light. (And that’s not gonna change just because I posted this info — if people aren’t reading the rules, they’re not gonna read this, either.)

Oh, and you’ll see, too, that I finally posted the winner of my Lake House contest. I’d been holding off because I imagined I was still going to get around to reviewing the film, but I don’t see how that’s gonna happen now — there’re too many new films coming down the pike, there’s too much else to do. If only I didn’t have to sleep, I could get so much more done.

And stay tuned for lots more contests coming very shortly. I’ve got a huge pile of cool stuff just sitting here waiting for good homes: tons of DVDs including Ren & Stimpy, Pinky & the Brain, and Animaniacs sets; goodies from Miami Vice and Snakes on a Plane (and I’ll have a SOAP announcement to make soon — it involves partying in NYC), and a lot more.

[07.24 UPDATE: Oops. Turns out I’ve only got sets of Pinky & the Brain and Animaniacs to review; none to give away. Sorry!]

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