Back in 2003, M&M offered a chance to win $5000 every summer for life, but if you looked more carefully, the offer actually read, “Win $5000 Every Summer For Life*”, and the asterisk at the bottom read, “Maximum 50 years”. That fine print was filled with strange stuff. For example,
3. Sponsor responsible only for delivery of prize; not responsible for prize utility, quality or otherwise.
10. Sponsor: M&M/Mars, High Street, Hackettstown, NJ 07840.
One of the prizes was approximately ten pounds of M&Ms. The logical conclusion: “M&M is not responsible for the quality of M&Ms.”
I was reminded of this by the recent flap over how hard it was for one person to cancel his AOL account. There was an AOL contest some years back that offered a chance to “Win free AOL dial-up service for life!”, and it too had limited your life to 50 years in the fine print. That one would actually be fun, though. Imagine, in the year 2052, AOL will still have to keep one modem up and running just for this contest winner.