Free Music

Well, you may have seen the sort-of okay ad that Apple and Pepsi (but mostly Pepsi) aired during the Super Bowl. I didn’t watch the game because this was the only ad I really wanted to see, and I had already seen it, but the announcement is significant. Free music! One in three bottles wins. Not a bad deal. You could get a fair amount of music this way. I found this funny little clip in the official rules posted online:

To receive one free game piece and a copy of Official Rules, while supplies last, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope postmarked on or before 3/31/04 to: Pepsi iTunes Game Piece, P.O. Box 9205, Young America, MN 55558-9205. Residents of the state of VT may omit return postage. Limit one free game piece per request per stamped outer envelope.

The only problem is that postage costs $0.37 per envelope. If it was $0.33, you would statistically break even, and run a chance of actually coming out ahead (or falling behind) but you don’t get the soda (for extra money). If you can find a way to get it to them for less than a stamp somehow… you might make out well. I mean, $0.99 is already cheap for a song, but hey, if you can get the same quality of service, etc. for less than that, it’s worth a shot!

Unfortunately there’s probably no way to do it. Oh well. It was fun to think about.

11 thoughts on “Free Music

  1. Josh, I’m confused. Wouldn’t it only cost $.74, for a stamp there and the one on the return envelope and then a few cents for the two envelopes? So wouldn’t you save?

    Another question: where the blimey is Young America, MN? Did Pepsi create their own city or is this a real place?

  2. I think you were talking about “1 in 3” right? In that case, you didn’t factor in the return stamp (unless you were planning on moving to Vermont).

  3. Well, it turns out I read the rules incorrectly. I thought that you could have one big envelope that held as many smaller internal envelopes as you wanted, thus reducing the cost of the outer envelope to near-zero as you stuff more and more inner envelopes inside it (is that Big-O or Big-Theta?) and having each try cost close to $0.37 (the price of the return envelope). But it sounds like they only allow one request per outer envelope, which must mean that you can only get one try per $0.74, which then means that you’d win after about $2.22 worth of stamps.

    Still, the soda bottles cost $0.75 apiece in most places, so you still come out one cent ahead. Hehehe…

  4. Young America does exist, sorta central Minnesota. Too bad having to pay for the return postage (I wonder if a business return envelope would be accepted if you could get those rates) means still not being worth it if you drive and drop it off.

  5. This really has me thinking. There are legal reasons they have to offer free game pieces. Probably so that the contest can’t be considered a lottery or something, in which case they would have to adhere to a whole new set of rules, or be a casino or a non-profit organization, or something like that.

    So they offer these things. And yet the US Postal System is the thing that keeps this from possibly being a really beautiful deal for a clever music lover. It doesn’t help Pepsi out at all that we have to give the USPS $0.37. But maybe Pepsi is hiding behind that, so they don’t have to give too many game caps away for free? I mean, if you could just walk into their headquarters at Young America and ask for 300 of these things, and tell them that you would take delivery personally so you could save yourself the postage, they would undoubtedly turn you down because there has to be some kind of penalty keeping you from simply getting free music on Pepsi’s tab. (Pepsi’s tab? Get it?)

    Crazy stuff. All I need is a loophole, people.

  6. Young America is a sort of rebate and free prize clearing house. If you pay attention, a lot of free prize and rebate type things are sent to Young America. I’m guessing there’s at least one, if not multiple fullfilment companies in Young America.

    And Josh, where are you buying your 20 oz. Pepsi for 75 cents? I routinely pay $1.09 around here, maybe 99 cents if I’m lucky. Is Pepsi somehow cheaper in California? Would that make it the only thing that’s cheaper in California? (Well, the cost of living sucks, but the Pepsi’s cheaper)

  7. Here you go Josh (but it’d take dishonest means):

    Address the letter to yourself and make the return address out to Pepsi in Y.A., MN. Put it in the mail without a stamp and even put “return to sender” on it to ensure it isn’t sent to you. Pepsi will recieve the letter(s) and possibly open them to find a return envelope addressed to VT. Before this whole spiel, though, you make friends with someone in VT saying you’ll split the goods with them if you can borrow their address. They recieve the code, or whatever, they can email you the info needed to redeem your music. It would all cost the price of the envelopes, time to develop a meaningless friendship, and a little of your soul.

  8. The McDonald’s Monopoly pieces were available in much the same way from Young America. But in the case of Monopoly, you were guaranteed at least a $1 gift certificate for Best Buy, so you were guaranteed profit on submissions. However, they required that all envelopes be hand-written in (I think) blue ink, so it would get a little tedious to write up very many. I had a grand scheme to set up a PO box in Vermont, then drive out to Young America and drop of 1000 or so envelopes, then have them bulk-mailed back from VT. At the very least I thought I could send out a few hundred for my 26% discount at Best Buy (less envelope costs).

    I never did it, though. I’m a little disappointed in myself.

  9. That’s not a bad idea, Eddie. Although it really is a bad idea, if you get my meaning. 🙂

    These things all sound like the scene(s) in Punch Drunk Love (with Adam Sandler) where he discovers a promotion in which the deal people are getting is actually much, much better than even the promoter realizes, and he totally cashes in on it.

    Interesting movie. Interesting topics. Maybe I’ll real Official Rules more often from now on.

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