From $1 Million in 1988 to $1 Million A Year for Life in 2011

Re-visiting the $1 Million PCH sweepstakes winners who gave birth to the Prize Patrol

If you’ve been around for over two decades I don’t have to tell you that a lot of things can change over the years. Back in the late 1980’s you probably didn’t have a computer, the internet as we know it didn’t exist, and no one had even imagined a “blog.”

Much has changed at Publishers Clearing House too. We used to be known mainly for selling magazine subscriptions by direct mail. Now we also sell all kinds of merchandise — on the internet too. Of course, PCH shoppers know that we’ve always stood for unbeatable values and customer satisfaction — guaranteed. Our sweepstakes, which started fourteen years after the company’s 1953 founding, remains immensely popular, but now offers more prizes and ways to “play and win” than ever before.

One major change in our sweepstakes occurred in 1988 — when we changed the way we notify winners. Previously we would phone our winners to tell them they’d won. Todd Sloane, now a PCH Senior VP, came to me one day and suggested that delivering Big $1 Million Checks, unannounced and video-taped, to winners’ homes might be more fun and make good TV advertising. I thought it was a fine idea but hard to pull off logistically. Nonetheless, I said OK for Todd and his associate from the Advertising department, Hank, to go to Texas and surprise John Yancy, a man who had just emerged in a drawing as a $1 Million Dollar SuperPrize winner. So off they went — with the Big Check and an amateur home-style video camera.

Well, the results were awesome. You can view the unedited results of our initial foray into “reality TV advertising” on this YouTube clip:

While the camera-work is shaky and non-professional, you can see the drama and joyful emotion that was captured by Todd’s mini-cam. We decided then and there that our old-fashioned way of filming winners ads — weeks later, on a sound stage, with a script — just wouldn’t do. The prize delivery team known as the PCH Prize Patrol was born. Our “actual winning moment” TV advertising is now iconic and has been imitated by the likes of Saturday Night Live and, most recently, by celebrities like Conan O’Brien, in his Prize Patrol spoof TV commercial.

All these years later, John Yancy (a post-grad student back in 1988) and his wife Julie (just home from work in that old video) have seen many changes too. His successful career has taken them from Texas to foreign lands and back again. The then-newlyweds now have three grown children [shown in this smiling family portrait] who are mighty glad that good ol’ Dad was smart enough to enter the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.

John entered the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes by mail. That’s still possible these days. But why not make it easy on yourself? Just click here on this link to and ENTER. It’s simple, and you can enter every day. AND if you enter by the February 15 deadline you could win what could be the biggest SuperPrize in PCH history: $1 Million A Year … for Life!

So hurry, and good luck!
Dave Sayer Prize Patrol Ambassador

57 thoughts on “From $1 Million in 1988 to $1 Million A Year for Life in 2011”

  1. John Powell says:

    The person who wins should look into there heart & soul try to contact the others on this site, who despretly need help. If you are blessed.

  2. maria estrella baccay platecki says:

    when i saw this video my tears is falling down cause of joy and happinness but the first winner that happened and 1988 ill be not here yet i live in the so excired to see the prize patrol,i wish i could be very proud on your company cause you make my dreams come true.god bless you all here

  3. Good after, Well I am just starting my Homemade Potato Sald, & then I will do my homemade Macaroni Salad. I really hope that the PCH Prize Patrol People do stop by tomorrow on the 4TH of July, 2011. It would be such a great Honor to Finally meet them. I also hope that I will Finally be ABLE TO ACHIEVE MY DREAM, GOAL, & PLAN, THAT i HAVE BEEN DREAMING OF FOR SO LONG, FOR OUR LIVES. HAPPY 4TH OF JULY EVERYONE. IF YOU DO FIREWORKS, PLEASE BE SAFE & CAREFUL. THANKYOU, FROM YOUR BIG FAN & FRIEND marilynhadey28

  4. Jc says:

    I read these and there is a lot of hurting people out there in the world. broke lossing there homes and everthing they have worked for. PCH is nothing but a dream that comes true to very very few people odds are so greatly against you…. you have better odds playing you state lottery.

  5. Shanita Bryant says:

    I have dreamed of winning so much I evening cry when I see others that have there dreams come true. To have me and my little babies open the door to no more money problems, or hard living conditions, poor transpotation would be a pure miracle from God. I do believe the lord has a blessing for me and my small family one day as long as I keep the Faith. So PCH help me keep the faith.

  6. Rebecca Minner says:

    If only they coould come here and help us. We need this money so bad we just had our frist baby a girl on 1-10-2011. This would help so much neithr of us can find jobs in this lil town of scott city, missouri its so hard, and embrassing to be on foodstamps and having our own family being in my parnets house in there little house with my younger brothr. Hopefully i keep praying, and one day god helps us out. Even if not now cause someone else needs it more, i pray and dream of seeing you one day at our door. Thanks for the chance PCH keep on what your doing.

  7. maryanne sakihara says:

    Hi! i am supporting 2 family members in nursing 75,000 a year it is little wonder that i sold my house on kentwood and i moved into an apartment.i am happy, because, i was able to do this for them,and i like my apartment very much.good luck to everyone….myself as well

  8. Cindy Sims says:

    I am praying everyday for a huge miracle to enter our life, it couldn’t come at a better time, we are in forclosure, my husband had a traumatic brain injury in January and hasn’t been to work since the time of the accident, yesterday the Doctor says it may be 6 mo, he is a diabetic who had a grand mal seizure from the accident, he is unable to drive for 3 mo, I am doing all the driving..we have 4 kids, one who has autism and a seizure disorder, another who was hooked on drugs and is trying to get his life together, I will find work as soon as I don’t have to take my husband to therapies and Doc appts 4 times a week..Sorry for the long story but I we are in soo much need for some financial help…God Bless everyone…I hope were the winner!!!


    dreams can come true if you believe…..






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