Bonnie’s Bargains: Sweepstakes vs. Instant Win Games

  • Both promotional formats can be a great source of fun and value
  • Sweepstakes cater to those who prefer prolonged suspense (in particular cash sweepstakes!)
  • Instant Win Games give participants immediate results

Since Sweepstakes and Instant Win Games are the only topics I’ll be covering here at Bonnie’s Bargains, I thought it would be a good idea give my readers a bit of an introduction.  So without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into this lucrative world of non-stop action (no scuba gear needed).

First, it’s important to distinguish how prizes are awarded in both formats.  Sweepstakes typically award prizes by a random drawing at the END of the promotion once all entries are in.  The odds of winning a prize is a simple matter of mathematics:  the number of total prizes by the number of eligible entries.  Meanwhile, Instant Win Games do just what the name promises:  award prizes instantly!  In order to make this happen, the games usually use a computer system to manually generate “winning times”.  If you’re lucky enough to play the game during one of these “winning times” you will instantly receive a prize.

Things to Look for in a Sweepstakes

  • The featured prize is the “Grand Prize”  (usually only 1 but sometimes there are multiple)
  • Many Sweepstakes offer additional prizes (First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and so on)
  • Keep an eye out for multiple entries (many allow participants to enter once each day!)
  • A good example of a current sweepstakes is the Tic Tac Shake the Music Sweepstakes

While Sweepstakes are certainly more widespread, many would argue that Instant Win Games are more exciting.  For example, only the Instant Win Game format allows you to feel that unmistakable rush associated with the possibility of a sweet prize on the immediate horizon.  That said, let’s find out how to spot one.

Telltale Signs of an Instant Win Game

  • Look for a promotion that asks you to enter a code (these are often IWGs)
  • Promotions that allow you to interact with and/or  “play” something
  • Most of the time the “Instant Win Game” wording is included in the title
  • A current example is the Juicy Juice Instant Win Game 

By the way, sometimes a promotion is bold enough to combine both a Sweepstakes AND Instant Win Game.  These allow you to experience the best of both worlds by providing an entry to a prize drawing, while at the same time allowing you a shot at an instant prize.  This unique promotional “one – two punch” is one of the most sought after experiences in the bargain industry (and one I’ll be reporting on often!).

In conclusion, while Sweepstakes and Instant Win Games vary in style and substance, one important factor will forever link the two:  they’re both boatloads of fun!  So while you may not win them all (or even one a year for that matter), keep in mind it’s the journey that counts!

Cheers from Bonnie’s Bargains!




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