A Win-teresting Pastime

A guide to the wonderful world of comping

Win With Lynne

Lynne Suzanne's prize winning tour of South Africa

Lynne's prize winning tour of South Africa

In pursuit of prizes

A new leisure pursuit is sweeping Britain - comping. Ordinary people of all ages and all walks of life are winning cruises, cash, cars and cuddly toys. Yes, comping is so widespread, the word has now made a dictionary appearance. Comping - entering competitions.

It's an exciting, challenging and stimulating hobby. So if you love completing crosswords, rearranging anagrams and solving puzzles, you can join the winners.

”Compers” are jetting to exotic locations and driving gleaming new cars, all for the price of a postcard and stamp. And you can have a share of the action.

“Oh, I enter lots and never win a thing”, is a common cry. Well now you can increase your chances of success. Have a flutter on the National Lottery and you've an approximate 14 million to one chance of winning the jackpot. Enter a national supermarket prize draw and your chances increase to several thousands to one. Submit entries to local competitions and success looms nearer.

It's all down to luck. Should your numbers come up or your entry be "first drawn from the hat" you're a lucky winner. But now you can increase your chances of success even more. By entering those competitions where skill is involved. You may have seen them. Entrants are asked to answer a few simple questions, then complete a tiebreaker sentence, for example: “I buy product at store because...”

Like any other hobby, there's a knack to writing winning tiebreakers. You can learn this skill. Since then, I've won two cars, holidays half way round the world, had my home professionally decorated and shopped in supermarkets at their expense. Just think, you can be rewarded with a gleaming new car, all for writing a tiebreaker in less than a specific number of words.

You can learn how to win your dream prizes, too. Motor -vated? Read on.

To win prizes you need to say in a given word limit, for example, ten, twelve or fifteen words, what benefits you receive when you buy and use the promoters product.

Let's imagine your local DIY store has a reputation for good quality products and is currently promoting shelving with a tiebreaker competition. You could write: "They are packed with shelf confidence!"

Have a look through magazines and newspapers and read the headlines. Note how many use short eye-catching or play on words to get their message across. Here’s a few ideas:

“Garden gives shear delight”

"Tree-mendous value at every branch!”

If a headline grabs you, then you read on. If not, you skip the paragraph and read something else. You need then, to apply this principle when writing your tiebreaker slogans.

For a competition offering a prize-winning holiday to Paris, via the Channel Tunnel, you could follow the lead-in line: ”I would love to visit Paris because...”

“Eiffel in love with (product) at the end of the Tunnel”

One idea can lead to another.

The word love may make you think of the phrase – love at first sight.

"Eiffel in love at first sight – with (product)!”

When the product is something edible, then simply adapt it to: ”Eiffel in love at first bite!”

And if the prize is a computer, then how about: ”Eiffel in love at first byte!"

Winning competition prize draws is based on the "luck of the draw". Simply answer a few questions, add your name and address and post it one its way. Should you be the lucky winner, that gleaming new car or exotic holiday is yours.

You can up your odds by entering those competitions where you are asked to complete a tiebreaker sentence for example: “I'd like to win a gleaming new car because...”

Pen poised, like thousands of other people, you may wonder where to begin. Like any other hobby, there’s a knack to it. It’s easy to learn and great fun too.

The secret is in the word play. Here’s how.

To gain inspiration start by writing down as many words as you can think apt to the prize-winning car, for example: stylish, sleek, powerful, driving, motor, clutch, distributor, gear, bumper.

When you've written about twenty words, look through these and underline those with double meanings which will lend themselves to word play, for instance: clutch, distributor, gear, bumper.

Toy with short phrases such as:

A "clutch" of advantages

A leading motor "distributor"

In the right "gear"

A "bumper" selection.

You will need, in most cases, to purchase a product and enclose your till receipt to qualify to enter the competition. These POPs or proof of purchases are often usually referred to as qualifiers or quallies for short.

Build some of your ideas into a tiebreaker sentence as in: ”I'd like to win a gleaming new car because... then I'd have a `clutch' of advantages from a leading motor `distributor'.”

Or how about: “then I'd always be in the right `gear' with a stylish `clutch' of advantages.”

It's surprising once you get started, how other ideas spring into mind. You suddenly think of the car boot.

Your tiebreaker could then become: "I'd like to win a gleaming new car because... then I'd always be in the right `gear' with a `clutch' of advantages and stylish good looks to 'boot'!”

Look back through your list for other words for example: motor. You could adapt this to motor - vated, for example: “I'd like to win a gleaming new car because... I'm motor-vated by its sleek performance and stylish good looks.”

Holiday prizes are popular with compers and here's some ideas you may like to cruise through.

You can increase your chances of winning by entering those competitions where you are asked to complete a tiebreaker sentence for example: “I'd like to win a holiday because...”

Gain inspiration by writing down as many apt and relevant words as you can think of, for example: plane, flying, clouds, wings, cruise ships, islands, exotic, palm trees, sun, sandy beaches.

You may find a dictionary or thesaurus useful for ideas.

Underline any words which have double meaning and can lend themselves to word play for instance: plane, as in: “It's 'plane' when seeking sunshine and leisure, they provide my passport to holiday pleasure.”

Travelling by ferry and what better to say than: ”Winning this prize is a ferry tale come true!”

Make your tiebreakers eye-catching by adapting words to suit the promoter's product. For Italian pasta you could say: “It's `plane' when seeking sunshine and leisure, they provide my `pasta - port' to holiday pleasure.”

To ensure you catch the judge's eye, always emphasize your word play with inverted commas.

Try writing your tiebreakers with a touch of humour for instance: "I’d like to win this holiday because… then I'd get away with words!”

When the holiday is to a specific location make a list of related words for instance: Amsterdam, clogs, tulips, windmills, Netherlands.

Use ideas in your tiebreakers for example: ”I'd like to eat product in Amsterdam because... I’d Nether-land a better brand."

Use the word capital and you could adapt your tiebreaker to suit most capital cities, as in: ”Paris is a capital place to be!”

Like any other hobby the more you practice the easier it becomes.

And there I rest my case!

Wow! That would make a great tiebreaker for a travel contest!

This feature was written by Lynne Suzanne in 2002.

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Lynne's latest ebooks:

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Lynne has helped many people to win fantastic prizes through her newspaper columns and books, and herself has won thousands of pounds worth of prizes including two cars and worldwide holidays. Lynne shares her secrets of success in her latest books: Win Cars Holidays and Prizes is packed full of prize winning advice and anecdotes, whilst Punch Lines has over 4,000 puns and word play, ideal for journalists and advertisers to create catchy taglines, headlines and copywriting.