Prize, or just a Discount? Stories

The first ever competition I ever put together was for Cougar Bourbon, way back in 1991. Competitions in the liquor industry (and later in my days in Coke) required lots and lots of tiny little prizes as 'fillers', especially when the competition was run at a major venue, or promotion.

My tactic seemed a good idea at the time, $5 discount vouchers on a purchase of Cougar in the bottle shop. It seemed to make sense, people were drinking the brand at the promotion, so it made sense that a voucher equating to around 25% (in those days) of the full price would be well received.

The problem was that the 'punters' didn't see things the same way. A voucher win would be met with a loud grown, and at the end of the night the floor was littered with never-to-be-used vouchers. They were rarely if ever used - conclusion - vouchers don't make good prizes!

Nothing in 21 years has changed my mind on this, but the message doesn't always get through. But, let's be clear first, what is the difference between a genuine voucher and a discount.

My definition is this: "A voucher is a prize when it allows the winner to purchase something in full, with no cost to themselves. A voucher is a discount, when it will only partially pay for a purchase"

I raise this, because I've seen some examples in the past 12 months in which thousands of runner up prizes were for $5 discounts. These are the time of %off discounts that you could get simply from visiting the site and joining their newsletter.

On the other hand. I have also seen $50 vouchers being given as a prize for a top-end homewares online store. But, to me, this did rank as a prize simply because the winners could at least go to the site and buy something in full - even if it's just something simple.

What about you? Have you ever 'won' a prize that you ended up having to hand over cash for? How did it make you feel? Should promoters be allowed to offer discount vouchers as prizes, are are they a good idea?

Love to know your thoughts.

Yours Comp-letely,

Craig Seitam 25/10/12


Day one using the competitions I am full of hope that I might win a coles/woolworths voucher...yeah... I would love that...Bren
Brenda evans (Member Number: 195954)
Like to win
I never won anything in my whole intire life.. Would love to win something in this site.. To see if this site is bogus or not !
Jucil (Member Number: 182305)
would love to win somthing.:)
i have won a photo shot last year which was supposed to be free but after the photo shot i ended up paying 150 bucks for half the pictures.
Apart from that i have never had any lucks. on any australian comps. A shopping voucher would be awesome.
Roslyn (Member Number: 171370)
Like to win please lol
Never ever win on any australian comp ever in my life, so hope 2013 will give me a little luck on this comps :)
Kristina (Member Number: 108291)
Fake photoshoot!
Oh yes. I'm happy to win anything really but I 'won' a free photoshoot a while ago when I entered a competition through my local butcher. They called to tell me that I'd won and I excitedly went down and got my make up done in a hot, sweaty function room, after an hour or so the fun was wearing off and the make up was started to run and then they announced that the photoshoot was free, but the photographs were not. The cheapest going for $150 for average quality. What a waste of time. I found quite recently and love the varied competition options that you have on here. Hopefully I can win something now.
Amber (Member Number: 166032)
entering competions
ive been a member of competitions guide for a few years now and i must admit i have not had to spend a thing for the last three christmases because of them, and i still have heaps left over which i am going to dontate to the CFA to give out over christmas, i send my daughter a handbag for christmas and she burst into tears as i had forgot to take the tag off the bag was worth $350 i told her it was from a competition i had won and now she is starting to do them as well. but everything aside from my family to everyones family on competitons guide we would like to wish you all a safe and happy new year
Hellen (Member Number: 7112)
Mobile phone groans
When my hubbie and I were much younger (and still together) we went to a restaurant who had a competition to win a mobile phone. I wondered at the time why the entry form asked if you had a mobile phone already but we both entered. My hubbie didn't have a phone and guess what? He was the lucky winner to a phone on a plan that he had to pay for. Needless to say, he didn't come home with his prize.
Stacey (Member Number: 171389)
fingers crossed
Hi I have just joined this amazing site and if I win even a postage stamp I will be over the moon
Jennifer (Member Number: 171000)
try try again they say
gift cards no, prizes of any sort no, have not a clue as to what I am doing wrong but I still keep on trying praying that one day my numbers or name will come up if it looks good and sounds good you can bet that I am in it So maybe one day I will be able to tell you all what its like to finally win a prize well here's to hopeing all fingers crossed
(Member Number: 9367)
Me never win :(
Over my life i have entered and entered comps and just seem to never win. i used to do all the thats lifes and take 5's puzzles but never won anything, just wasted my money on buying the issues. The only competition i can honestly remember winning outside out sport was when i was in year 7 and all our teachers door were pinned up with a clue and we had to guess whos they were. I won and got a $5 canteen voucher :):):):) i was so happy
Tyson (Member Number: 165381)
Love them
They always come in handy especially when they are for groceries and are a welcome surprise if you win them. Have not won any so far but a girl can hope!! The only ones I have used were gifts.
Andrea (Member Number: 145908)
I love vouchers
I love winning or being given vouchers, even if I have to add extra money I end up buying something I was not expecting to afford.Last week I won a voucher for $1000 cannot believe how lucky I was! will have the best time spending it for Christmas!
Tony (Member Number: 6362)
Discounts or prizes - sitting on the fence
Ultimately it is about promotion of product and cost of the promotion to the business . I am a happy little bunny if I win or save a few $$$. Like my granny used to say "look after the pence and the pounds will look after themselves." Every little discount helps ... Especially if it is a fave product or store.
Louise (Member Number: 162671)
Not generally keen on vouchers
Unless I could purchase an item in full with it, I'm not keen on vouchers or discounts. Don't enter many comps that give them as prizes, my time is limited so I go for items I really want or need.
Jane (Member Number: 126830)
depends on the store
I don't mind discounts or vouchers for stores I am likely to purchase something from and ones that have items that can be purchased within the limit of the voucher without having to spend extra but it is annoying if you get a $50 voucher but then have to pay anther $200 to get something at the store.
Fatima (Member Number: 155513)
vouchers are great
They are just like money and who doesn't like money we all need sum..
Leonie (Member Number: 105444)
I avoid vouchers and discounts
I really only enter competitions that have goods I want to win. Vouchers and discounts don't suit me, especially as they often involve online purchases ... I don't put my financial details online so the voucher tends to expire without use. Sometimes, I can pass the voucher on to someone, but usually that's not the case. As others have said, Supermarket gift cards are different, but I don't classify them as vouchers. Free tickets to the movies are also "vouchers" but they pay for the goods in total. I hate the "Buy one get one free" vouchers. You end up spending more than you would if you just bought on sale or went to the movies on a cheap day. Overall, I avoid competitions with vouchers and discounts as prizes.
Simone (Member Number: 2251)
I don't mind discounts!
If it is from a shop I would normally purchase from anyway, then I am always more than happy to receive a 'discount' voucher because it means that I am saving money!!!!
Emma (Member Number: 158597)
Totally agree!
Vouchers really drive me bonkers! I see so many people entering comps to try and win a "voucher" which really just ends up being a discount, and as such in my mind is worthless!
I received as a gift a $30- voucher for a day spa a few years ago. Now, this cost my sister in law $30-, but but the time I chipped in at least another $30- of my own for even a basic treatment it was hardly worth it!
(Member Number: 5781)
Clever marketing to increase consumer base!
Vouchers are used to promote the store and its reputation. The store is getting a win win by offering a competition it is promoting its product and by offering a voucher for their store you have to buy from them and hopefully get an impulsive person to buy additional products too. It's all about getting you in the door!
Sharon (Member Number: 14263)
Vouching for Vouchers
I recently won a voucher for a high end online Lingerie store. I managed to buy two items but had to pay $30 extra to cover postage and because I went over the voucher amount. From a marketing perspective it got me looking at and shopping at that site. However, I prefer to win something by post that doesn't cost me anything. My feeling was (perhaps ungratefully) that I ended up spending money just to use the voucher!
Fi (Member Number: 45472)
Prize: in full or part, that is the question!
In my view, a prize is something that, as a whole, is given. If a prize is given as a discount voucher it really is just a promotion with a bonus. I wouldn't enter that comp. I just had a win and transfers were part of the prize. BUT I had to pay for the transfers then wait for 6 weeks to be reimbursed. Definitely not happy. Competition prizes should not hamper financially on the recipient. Thanks for listening :)

Christine (Member Number: 5418)
Yay for comps
The way I see it, competitions are a great and fun way to boost your income. If you win it's a great feeling, no matter how big or small the prize is. It really makes you feel lucky and is a great feel good feeling :)
Rebekah (Member Number: 162041)
Vouchers vs Discounts
I always check out the Terms and Conditions with a fine tooth comb. If the prize is a discount then I don't bother. I don't consider that to be a prize. If it is a voucher with no strings attached and it is for somewhere that I am likely to find something for the value of the voucher then I will definitely enter.
So always check the fine print!
Kim (Member Number: 146938)
Sharing is caring
Food vouchers are great..! I have to buy it anyway, so any discount off normal shopping would be a bonus.. I am not a fan of win 5% off this site, when I don't really need something.. Coles or Woolies voucher would be fantastic, would help out the weekly budget
Kim (Member Number: 148688)
Baby Voucher
My son just recently won a baby contest online and we won a $100 voucher to use. Everything was $100 so we did have to put in money but was only a small amount. We were still greatfull for winning and did not mind having to put in extra. :)
Lauren (Member Number: 121355)
Share the winnings
Its great to Win something fantastic, but its even better to give it to a friend or your child as a gift and really change their day/week/month. I love giving and receiving.
Tanya (Member Number: 139093)
Smart businesses....
I've won vouchers and coupons where the cost of the items online costs more than what I've won, plus add to that P&H and sometimes it's just not worth it!
Having said that, if there's something you're really after and can win a voucher towards it, then that's a bonus really!
Either way its smart marketing by the businesses, more traffic through their sites and more people aware of their brands....
Fiona (Member Number: 2124)
If I can get something for FREE it's OK!
I recently won a $30 voucher to use at an online book store and I thought that was a great prize because I could easily purchase 6 books with this amount and it included FREE shipping. Today I've won a $100 Officeworks voucher and that will be good too as I'll have lots of things to choose from.

If I can get things for FREE with a voucher than they are good but if I have to put in half the money to buy something then I wouldn't bother entering and would think it was a lousy prize. I'd be happy to let someone else win it!
BUT a $100 Coles or Woolies voucher is a good voucher prize - I'd be happy to win one of those! ;)
Michelle (Member Number: 146187)
I like vouchers when I'm not left out of pocket and it is something I normally use.
Linda (Member Number: 2974)
Beauty deception
It's only a true prize if you don't have to spend anything additional. I reckon it's pretty cheeky to give discounts as prizes when it will mean you are significantly out of pocket to redeem it, especially if you have gone to a lot of effort in entering something. If its a no or minimal effort entry eg lucky door prize, that's ok though. I have 'won' discount vouchers plenty of times, most recently from a beautician. I felt pretty ripped off when I went in as not only did I have to fork out an extra $65 for a treatment I was then totally pressured afterwards to buy more products! Not a fun experience...
Miriam (Member Number: 109171)
a voucher for a full amount rather than a discount will always go better in a competition. getting $5 or 10% off an item that's worth $100 isn't going to be worthwhile for me to fork out the rest
Alison (Member Number: 2302)
love to win
I go into all competitions ,i think im addicted to them ,but i would love to win one,i just keep thinking the next one i will win,heres hopingi will
Judith (Member Number: 45690)
woolies voucher!
Yay id love to win! I enter heaps of comps and sadly never win lol. This is my fav supermarket so fingers crossed :))
Stephanie (Member Number: 133971)
I agree
I think the only time that a voucher is truly useful and can be considered a 'prize' is when you can purchase something in full with it. I recently won a $25 voucher for an online clothing store, sounds ok, except their cheapest item of clothing is $80! I don't really see that as a win, because if you did use it, you are still spending money you otherwise, ordinarily wouldn't have spent there!
Samantha (Member Number: 128450)
If it is a voucher (discount) for something I would usually buy or have wanted to buy, then I see it as a bonus/win/saving!
Kirsty (Member Number: 3676)
Vouchers and Discounts
I enter several competitions every month and usually win something. I try to use the vouchers and discounts that I receive, but do not always use them.
Virgil (Member Number: 83423)
shopping voucher
Hi, It's will be great to win a Coles/Woolies $100 voucher because the grocery shopping gets smaller now days
Gerard (Member Number: 156278)
I won a camera
yes, I had "won" a camera before, but reading the fine print first, it was pay $3 p&h and then $89.95 for the next three months! Free? no, the cost for the next three months was more then what the camera was worth. Definitely worth reading fine print these days! You don't get something for nothing
Lisa (Member Number: 144952)
voucher schmoucher
I was given a voucher for a free trial-size hair product, but the postage was $9. Definately a fail
Melinda (Member Number: 161680)
Voucher vs Discount
I do not believe promoters should be allowed to offer discount vouchers as prizes. I just feel ripped off and wouldn't use it.

When i win movies tickets i still have to pay for snacks which i end up spending approx $30.

Sonia (Member Number: 114637)
Never used
I have won many of these so called runner up prizes and have never used them. Anything that I have to fork out cash for is not a win in my eyes and promoters should change their wordings as it's misleading.
Lara (Member Number: 21)
Vouchers are the Bomb Diggity!
Winning a gift card or a voucher is plenty exciting! If I win cash, I feel obligated to save it, but when I win a gift card/voucher it feels like my Christmas has come all at once! It gives me a chance to buy things I could never afford before, it gives me a taste of what a shopping spree feels like. But in saying that, I never enter the competition if the gift card/voucher is only a small amount and won't cover what the store products have to offer. Winning is amazing!
Melissa (Member Number: 5286)
Voucher with conditions
I won a $200 cruise voucher and was very excited as I thought I could use it on a short 3 day cruise and would only pay another $100, but when the voucher arrived it could only be used on cruises of 7 days or more. So my $200 win was wasted as I wasn't going to fork out even more for something that was a luxury. A win should be an outright prize that doesn't cost you anything in addition, no hidden conditions!
Christine (Member Number: 2053)
No extra costs
If I win a prize, I want to win! I don't want to pay extra to receive it or get a small amount off the original price. If I have to pay, it is not a prize, it is a discount!
Merryl (Member Number: 56367)
Not Happy!
yes, I won a prize for a photo shoot, including credit towards the photos, only problem the photos were so expensive I had to put $100 towards to only recieve ONE photo in the smallest size! I was not happy!
Linda (Member Number: 77262)
A Win is a Win
Even if I don't use the discount voucher it was still a nice bonus that I would not have received otherwise. I usually can find someone who can use it.
Krishna (Member Number: 103190)
Deceptive prize
It annoys me when they call it a 'WIN'. I have never claimed any small voucher/discount. It feels like they are conning me into making a purchase.
Tina (Member Number: 136061)
Its not always great to win vouchers
All depends on the type of store and size of voucher and conditions placed on it.
The ones that peeve me off are minimum spend like $50 voucher but must spend $400 to redeem =yuck.
I’ve won a few restrictive vouchers as minor prizes I just pass them onto friends who are happy to use them as they were going to buy that item or I just bin them.

One comp I entered had several nice cameras as main prizes it also had heaps of free photo shoots vouchers as minor prizes. I won a photo shoot voucher, the photo shoot was free but the photos weren’t. I gave the voucher to a friend who had a ball getting done up but didn’t buy any of the photos as it would have cost $4000 - $6000 for them ouch.

Vouchers with fair or no conditions are great but restrictive or ones that give with one hand while taking back with the other, are just plain terrible.
David (Member Number: 75736)
Vouchers or discount
i dont mind either a voucher is a bonus but a discount can be handy too.
Krystal (Member Number: 121157)
Vouchers Yes Discounts No
I enter heaps of competitions and happily enter a comp if the prize is a voucher $20 or over, if I can buy something for $20 for free with a voucher it's a win, but I don't bother with discounts as prizes because if I have to pay extra it doesn't feel like a win to me. Companies offer discounts to loyal customers quite often and I've used them but I don't consider it a prize, more as a reward for loyalty.
Jeannine (Member Number: 11462)
Never Claimed
I have won little discount vouchers that I never acted upon because of the extra costs involved and I didn't really need the products. I have occasionally used little ones on things that I did need however - and considered myself as having a "win" because in those cases a saving was still good to have. So it depends a little on the circumstances.
Also I do love a good gift card with no strings attached that you can use anywhere - still waiting for one of those wins!
Elizabeth (Member Number: 111619)
Think First!
My hubby won a voucher, quite a while ago, for a discount on a was an ok discount and the stereo was good but he still had to pay a lot on top of the voucher... I think you need to ask yourself, if you didn't have the voucher, and the stereo or other item was marked down to that price on a sale, would you still buy it? Is it only the fact that you ‘won a voucher/discount’ that is enticing you spend money on an item you may not have bought otherwise?
Kathie (Member Number: 32805)
Persistence Pays!
I have been comping for about 8 months now. Instead of watching television I enter competitions for about 45 mins a day. This persistence has totally paid off (at least 1 prize a week). From small movie ticket prizes to my biggest a $1000 dollar Shopping Spree. Everything I win I photograph and share on my facebook to motivate others to keep at it. In my eyes a win is a win (voucher, discounts, anything) because its is something you did not have before and for that you should be grateful!
Louise (Member Number: 61888)
Check it out
Like others in this blog, I once won a voucher for a very expensive homewares site. The voucher expired without me using it & I felt so ripped off. So now if the comp prize is a voucher I check it out online, suss out if I like the products available & if the voucher will be enough to buy something outright etc. If not, I don't enter! It doesn't take too long & hopefully saves me from having a win that turns into a disappointment!
Vicky (Member Number: 6013)
Feeling Scammed.
I still have a $100 voucher I won to an online jewelry store whose cheapest items are over $300 so needless to say this one is not going to be used and a similar to a clothing store for $150 which had so many limitations on it like not being used for sale items or kids items etc that it was practically useless too as their items were around the $400 mark. You think you have this great prize but really it is just to make you buy their overpriced goods. I don't mind if its a large chain store voucher like Coles or Woolworths as you can get worthwhile goods for the value but the niche ones are worse than useless and end up leaving you feeling scammed which makes you dislike the company offering the prize and not wanting to deal with them in the future either.
Lesleigh (Member Number: 88523)
Voucher Yes, Discount No
A voucher is decent as you can choose whether to limit yourself to the amount or go over, but this is as long as the voucher can cover at least something in the store and not even pay for the cheapest item. A discount however I don't really think is a win, as you still have to spend money to utilise it. I think a discount however could be utilised if it's one of a lot of little instant prizes and you still go in a draw for a big prize, and as long as it is a decent discount.
Jessie (Member Number: 27679)
Same thing
I believe they are the same thing. A discount is a % off something you still have to buy. A voucher is to me the same thing. Money off an item or service that you probably don't really need but the feeling to get something for less is what makes us impulse buy.
Melinda (Member Number: 22721)
Half the winner. Sorta.
The latest prize I won was a $100 airline voucher. As you all know, this amount will not (at least not in this decade in Australia) fully cover a return ticket from Sydney to anywhere. I guess I just have to plan on hitchhike for my return trip!
Indra (Member Number: 60131)
I love vouchers and save any that I get so that I can use them at Christmas time which helps with the bank account.

I did once win an Ice Bucket that i had to pay postage and handling on. It was really more trouble then it was worth as I had to chase them for weeks to sort out how i could pay the postage and then they charged my credit card twice. It was finally sorted out but really wasnt worth the drama.
Annamaree (Member Number: 59730)
Whether a voucher is a good prize depends completely on the value and the business. I don't like discount vouchers for small amounts.. usually I wouldn't bother claiming them. However, this week I had a win of a $200 Virgin voucher. I was delighted with this prize because I can spend it as I like, either as part payment for a more expensive flight or complete payment of a cheaper one. And I have 12 months to use it. I would much rather have this voucher as a prize than, say, free airfares to Melbourne because it gives me more choice.
Anne (Member Number: 4483)
I won a 2 night hotel stay in Margaret River. We ended up having to pay for a tow truck to take us most of the way, as our car got stuck in mud trying to get to the hotel. It cost us more for the tow truck than it would have if we had paid for the hotel room ourselves! Does that count? If not, I won a $30 gift voucher from an online store who's lowest item was $49.95. And it didn't include P&P. Felt a little ripped off!
Yvette (Member Number: 34674)
Delivery Costs
I won a $500 voucher for a furniture site. I was very thankful as i do need a wardrobe and some other things. However, i enquired about delivery and it seems even though i am only 15 mins from the store it is going to be $92 to get the items delivered. Being a single mum with a small car i have no choice but to pay.So the true value of the prize was really only $400 not that i am complaining but these things need to be on the main page of the competitions not hidden in the fine print.
Lorraine (Member Number: 81107)
Glass half full?
I've won a few vouchers (stores, restaurants) & have ended up spending more than the voucher was for each time, but that was completely my choice. I could have limited myself to the voucher amount but viewed it as an opportunity to purchase something I wanted, without having to pay for the whole thing myself. As for a discount voucher for a particular item, I'm not convinced, but if it's a product you'll use, it may not be all bad.
Kathy (Member Number: 67348)
I'm a winner
I've been entering competitions for about 12yrs now, & I seem to be quiet lucky.There would be alot of things I would never have experienced if I'd "won" but i still had to pay for part of the cost.
Lesley (Member Number: 150127)
If the voucher was for a place that you could actually buy decent items that are useful and not add money, like Wish gift cards or Coles Myer.
As for high end places where you add more money than the actual prize it doesn't make it feel like a win, more a saving. Hmmm defeats the purpose really.
Sarah (Member Number: 23610)
I won a $50 voucher for home wares and everything was super expensive. I ended up getting 2 tea towels. :-)
Mandy (Member Number: 3297)
Interesting question.......
I'm happy to win anything really but now that I've thought about it, a % off voucher wouldn't cut it with me! If I won a $50 voucher, that is different because I can try to just spend the $50....
Larissa (Member Number: 120681)
yay first comment?!
Iv never actually won a prize that i can remember but i know im a really greatful person and beleive that everything happens for a reason, i`d definitly be feeling lucky and happy ofcoarse!
Rhina (Member Number: 160864)
I wonder
Vouchers are ok, especially where you can actually purchase an item from that store without handing over extra cash. If I win a prize, I want to feel like I have actually won it, you know what I mean? Not some cheap marketing idea to get people onto a site, if you want to have a competition, then give a worthy prize and watch people flock to you site.
Antonietta (Member Number: 68774)

Add your comment

Please log in to add a comment