By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk
Some of you may be familiar with the TLC network's show, Extreme Couponing, which they say has become very popular. It features everyday people who save hundreds of dollars in a single trip to the store. While I'm sure we've all clipped some coupons in our days, these people are the ultimate bargain shoppers who have mastered the art of saving!
TLC hopes they have found the next similar fun show and will be introducing viewers to the most passionate sweepstakes participants on the planet. HIGH STAKES SWEEPERS, their new one-hour pilot, will be premiering August 14th at 10 pm.
My friend, Carolyn Wilman, aka the "Contest Queen", is one of the five "sweepers" who is featured in the pilot. I met Carolyn several years ago, a fellow blogger who writes the blog "From the Contest Queen", who contacted me after reading my blog. She sent me a copy of her recently published book, You Can't Win if You Don't Enter, which focuses on teaching people on how they can win and also guides companies on how to create and manage better sweepstakes. Carolyn featured me as her first guest speaker on her Blog Talk Radio show The Contest Queen...all things sweepstaking, contesting, lucky and fun, back in April of 2008.
Since I am on the marketing side of assisting brands and companies with launching sweepstakes and contests, I never liked these "Sweepers" as they call them. These are the people that enter hundreds of thousands of promotions and don't appear to have any loyalty or interest in the brand. They use software programs that automatically fill in their personal info online and they set up separate email addresses just for entering sweepstakes. I can spot a sweeper many times when looking at the entries just from their email address.
Amy Winter, General Manager at TLC said in their press release, "with HIGH STAKES SWEEPERS, TLC continues to tap into our viewers fascination with and desire for highly entertaining ‘found money’ programming. The special showcases the strategy and surprising winnings of these everyday people who do everything they can to win big”.
Their press release goes on to state that according to the Direct Marketing Association, 55 million Americans per year enter sweepstakes, and around 15 million enter 4 or more a year. HIGH STAKES SWEEPERS tells the stories of die-hard “sweepers,” who spend up to 60 hours per week searching for forms, buying products, and testing their luck in thousands of contests in the hopes of winning anything from a tube of toothpaste to a trip to Italy. Viewers will enter their world to see how sweeping has affected their lives, check out the thousands of things they’ve won, and be there when the doorbell rings for the next big prize.
Besides Carolyn, the are four other sweepers profiled in the show. Ron Miller is working to save money and trying to win everything for his daughter’s upcoming wedding, from the honeymoon to the garter belt. Sweeping Sisters Barbara and Patricia are both registered nurses and live across the street from one another. They have a bit of a sisterly competition going on to see who can win more then the other. Robert has brought the entire family into his obsession, using his two young kids to help decorate envelopes in the hopes of improving their chances. Ret has won over 1.2 million dollars of prizes and will show us how she does it!
Ron has created this Facebook event page for the pilot in which he invites people to join the fun and fellow sweepers at this virtual show party. Ron posted a video on the page that he used for the casting call. He also has a website he manages called PowerSweepstaking.com.
We'll just have to see how the pilot does and if TLC will bring it back in the fall. My best wishes to Carolyn and the rest of the sweepers. I especially hope this works out for Carolyn because I know that personally she has had a very difficult year. Hey, maybe she can get me on a future show to talk about the marketing side of the industry. So everyone tune in, or set your DVR's for next Sunday night, August 14, at at 10 pm.