My Coke Rewards

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Many years ago, I was sorting through things that my sister had left behind and came across an envelope full of “Blue Horse” trademarks – essentially a proof of purchase.  These were printed on wrappers or cover sheets sold with loose leaf paper made by the Montag paper company. 



Depending on the size of the pack, the emblem had various values and were intended to be cut out and later traded in for prizes.   If I had the internet then, I’m certain I would have gotten a good number of them; she had collected many of them.  As I have the internet now, I can at least link to the history.  A surprise was to find out that the company was headquartered here in Atlanta.

More in my era were S&H Green Stamps and Top Value Stamps, which were offered by grocery stores, sometimes on “double stamp days.”  Top Value had a store in town where I could trade booklets of the stamps in for prizes.  It was rather shocking to find out I had to pay taxes and beg my mom for some loose change.



As a young adult, arriving in Atlanta, a similar reward was waiting at Turtle’s record stores, offering $5 for a completed book.  I completed quite a number of these.


Today, through frequent whatever cards, digital check-ins, hotel rewards programs, etc., the idea still works in the marketing world for developing brand loyalty.  And though I’m much more seasoned, the notion of getting something for nothing still resonates with me...  Hmm.  Maybe these programs were the true beginnings of the Welfare State.

In any case, my family consumes our share of Coca-Cola products.  And Coke, through, makes it possible for me to get something for nothing, or, something for money already spent, anyway. 

That is a qualified “nothing,” however.  There was a fair bit of time invested in licking and placing those stamps appropriately, never mind the research into potential prizes.  And in the effort required, Coke has upped the ante.  You’ve seen the codes...


Time for some math.  Each code has 14 digits, randomly altering numbers and letters.  The caps are worth 3 points each.  A 12 pack carton is worth 10 points.  Let’s say I average 4 points per entry.  So, if a T-shirt is 500 points (sometimes less for less popular sizes), then 500/4 = 125.  Multiplied by 14 = 1750 almost illegible digits to be typed.  But, dang it, it’s for free stuff!


Lighting and eyesight is a factor when entering the codes.  On the other hand, if you make a game of it, you can try to memorize the codes before typing.  I can’t do all 14, but each row of 7 is no problem.

I had intended last year to get shirts for the family for Christmas.  Somehow, I apparently activated a $20 reward from GameStop, which I don’t recall clicking and never received.  That consumed far more points than it was worth even had I received the reward.  So, Christmas didn’t happen.  But, at least I was able to score a shirt for my wife, which is rightfully hers as she is the primary contributor to the abundance of digits to be entered.

And, further down the road, should ingredient x, y, or z prove to have long term health hazards, we’re on record for being regular consumers.  There’s always that “hope” for a big score.  Um, hopefully not.

1 comment :

  1. I still remember licking those green stamps for my Mom in the 70's , and the way the sticky glue tasted.....