A Consolation Prize after 20 Years

A Consolation Prize after 20 Years


"Comper" is the term for people who make a job of entering contests and competitions. Nowadays, there are a wealth of online portals that make it easy for these "fortune hunters" to indulge in their hobby. It wasn’t always like that.

Text Gunnar von der Geest

According to statements made by compers themselves, the most diligent among them enter several hundred contests a week, racking up prizes valued in the five digits every year. Vincent Bartscher, a 25-year-old student of business and sales engineering from the town of Schwerte, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has neither the time nor the “hunter’s instinct” needed for this. Bartscher holds an unusual record in the history of tesa sweepstakes, which have been a part of the marketing mix for many years. He’s the one who missed the deadline for entries by almost two decades – and got a consolation prize anyway. It’s quite a tale!

Vincent Bartscher
Vincent Bartscher back when his grandmother missed out on filling out and submitting the entry card for the tesa poster strips sweepstakes. Almost 20 years on, he’s traded in his chocolate mustache for a real one.

1999 prize draw

In 1999, about three years after tesa introduced poster strips, Germany's consumer marketing team organized a prize drawing by postcard. The question was: When removed, how long are tesa poster strips? Bartscher's grandmother, who had seen a thing or two in her day, would have known the answer ("At least 10 cm"), but the rewards advertised didn't hold enough appeal for her to enter the contest.
One of the prizes, for example, was a trip for four, including accommodations, VIP passes, and backstage action, for the concert "The Dome." Germany's biggest music event for teens and young adults. The TV show version of The Dome drew audiences of millions. The concert featured many of the hottest teen idols from 20 years back, people whose names have now largely faded from memory except for nostalgia. Only the band Scooter is still intoning their hit "Hyper Hyper" at high volume on international stages these days.

Unexpected prize

In 2017, when Bartscher helped his grandmother move, he found the sweepstakes entry card. He filled it out for fun and sent it to tesa Customer Service. A fan of pop music, Bartscher's grandmother, had packed a CD with hits by No Angels and Modern Talking into his backpack when he started school. He wrote in "Worth a try!" after the deadline – October 31, 1999.

Janine Blum, tesa Corporate Communications, got in touch with the very tardy entrant. She sent him a selection of current tesa products. She also learned that he plans to go pro once he finished his degree in May 2019. But not as a comper – instead, he will be competing as a triathlete. "I've already completed two long-distance races, and I want to qualify for the Ironman in Hawaii," he says. Bartscher is sure to have a "hit" or two to tell his grandchildren about one day.

In the 1999 competition for tesa Poster-Strips, three dream parties worth 5,000 Marks each were among the prizes offered. Vincent Bartscher would have chosen "The Dome". This music event filled large halls from 1997 to 2012. In November 2018 it experienced a revival.