Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sweepstakes mania

The Readers Digest sweepstakes has come to Ukraine. We received a sweepstakes letter yesterday stating that soon we will receive another letter with information on how to enter the sweepstakes. It is one of the first pieces of junk-mail we have received. I am not even certain that Reader Digest, the magazine not the sweepstakes, is even available in Ukraine. Any sweepstakes or promotional contest has a major hurdle in Ukraine. This has been a number of pyramid schemes promoted in Kyiv. All have been just that, schemes to defraud the general public. In many ways, they looked professional, promoted by professional looking people, and targeted at the emerging middle class, much like the promotions of Readers Digest. I am certain that the Reader Digest sweepstakes is legitimate and is honest but I have a lifetime experience of seeing it promoted in the US, most Ukrainians do not have this built in knowledge.  Just remember, the major TV advertiser for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Russia was MMM, the great Russian pyramid scheme of the 1990s. People still remember.

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