Throwback Thursday: Prize Patrol Then And Now
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since we switched from notifying big Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes winners by telephone to (tah dah!) in-person visits from the Prize Patrol.
In some ways our first surprise delivery of $1 Million to John and Julie Yancy of Austin, TX seems like yesterday. And when we look at the old video, don’t Todd Sloane and I look exactly the same? Oh maybe a few pounds heavier and an “age line” here and there. But we are still fleet of foot. We can still run up to a winner’s door with flowers, balloons and Big Checks as fast as ever.
And yet, some things have changed. In 1988 when we’d drive our Prize Patrol van into a winner’s town, we’d have to buy a local road atlas to find our way to the winner’s address. Nowadays we consult Google Maps before we leave home so we can see exactly where we are going. Google Earth even lets us look at some winners’ front doors.
Early on we would pick up almost any bouquet of wild flowers to bring to the winner. Then we discovered that long-stemmed American Beauty roses generated more tears and more dramatic video footage for you TV viewers to enjoy in our commercials. So roses it’s been ever since.
Air travel is more difficult than in 1988. Gone are the days when we could arrive at the airport 10 minutes before departure. Now, when things don’t go as smoothly as planned, changing flight reservations is a real hassle – and fraught with extra fees. And a meal on the plane is now a bag you buy before boarding. Finally, while smart phones are a great convenience for today’s traveler, trying to get a live person’s help can be a real challenge.
But we are not complaining. We still love knocking on doors and knocking people’s socks off as we announce “You are a winner in the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes!” In recent years we have made a lot more people PCH Millionaires than we did back in the late 1980’s. Some have even won “Lifetime Prizes” like $5,000 A Week “Forever”. And I’m sure you’ve heard about the amazing prize we’re offering now – our largest weekly lifetime prize ever — $7,000 A Week for Life. That could be worth many millions of dollars to some lucky entrant – maybe YOU!
Yep, Todd and I have traveled a lot of roads together – with a thrilling “winning moment” at each destination. Thanks go to the many PCH employees who have memorably performed Prize Patrol duties with us over the years — like Gina, Bruce, Carroll, Marc, Dorothy, Jen, John, Stacy, JuJu, Jamie, Scott, Eve, Liz, Danielle B, Laura and Danielle L. – not to mention our veteran cameraman Jeff and hundreds of his colleagues.
Here’s to many more years of “winning moments,” and may the next one be yours. Cheers!
Prize Patrol Ambassador