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Did Pepsi Rig Its Rock Band Contest?

| 17 Sep 2009 21:29
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Pepsi's Rock Band contest, which handed out free DLC songs to seemingly everyone who entered, was a real jackpot - that is at least until it suspiciously stopped giving out songs and instant winners became instant losers.

Even if you're the kind of person who loves Coke and hates Pepsi, or just hates soda altogether, there was a lot to love about Pepsi's Rock Band contest this summer. The company was giving away 5,000 Rock Band DLC songs a day in addition to other prizes. All you had to do was punch in an entry code from the bottom of a Pepsi bottle cap, get entry points and you could win. You did win. According to this report on Rock Band / Guitar Hero resource site 5Frets, people had nearly 100% win rates.

Considering a Rock Band song costs roughly $2.00 and a bottle of Pepsi about $1.45 give or take, these were substantial savings. Rot your teeth and get free playable tunes? Sweet deal, right? And people took to it, with members of communities on the Rock Band site and Cheap Ass Gamer enjoying the promotion, and an "underground market" in Pepsi caps even forming for Wii owners, who would receive 200 Wii Points (spendable on anything) for their less-than-two-bucks Pepsis.

The Summer of Rock Band Songs came to an abrupt halt, however, in the last two days of the contest.

Last Saturday, on the second-to-last day of the contest, the contest website apparently stopped handing out winners, with the last report of a winner being around midnight. The site was still deducting game points, it just wasn't returning any wins - "No points available for instant win" was the error message that would appear. According to Pepsi, there was some sort of incident on Saturday and "site maintenance" would have taken care of it.

On Sunday, things got more suspicious. Players reported that the site was behaving mysteriously. When a code was entered the site would immediately go to the "you lose" screen. Some players speculated that the suspiciously immediate "you lose" indicated that the site wasn't even checking to see if your code was a winner any more.

Making matters worse, Pepsi's contest rules stated that if there weren't 5000 codes given away on a single day, those leftovers would all be given away on Sunday, the last day of the contest. Players expecting a massive amount of wins on Sunday, then, were sorely disappointed. Said one of those players:

"There go 240 codes down the drain. **** YOU PEPSI, **** YOU."

It all seems pretty fishy. Maybe there was some problem with the site, maybe not. I don't understand why Pepsi would let the contest run the way it did all summer and then just decide to pull the plug at the very last minute. Did any of you guys try out this contest and get screwed by it or otherwise? And do you have any leftover Pepsi you don't want anymore?

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