The people on TV are not actors, but are real employees, Dave Sayer, Todd Sloane
and Eve Fish, all of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in the halls where I work every day.
Over the years, Todd Sloane
and yours truly have both seen a lot of Madison Avenue - the legendary birthplace of thousands of TV ad campaigns.
But we are not literally "mad" men, and we didn't come up with the Prize Patrol idea in bustling New York City but in the calmer suburban town of Port Washington where PCH
was founded in 1953 and is still based.
Until 1989, PCH Sweepstakes winners were notified by phone that they had won big cash prizes.
thought an in-person surprise visit with the good news would generate extremely watchable TV commercial footage, and - boy! - was he
Just over twenty years ago, Todd Sloane, an assistant in the PCH advertising department, came to me and said, "I have an idea."
The idea seemed a bit outrageous; but Todd
volunteered to experiment with his
amateur camcorder; so we flew to the winner's home in Texas to give it a try.
Todd and I founded the PCH Prize Patrol to personally deliver roses, balloons and Big Checks - which since 1989 have numbered nearly a thousand!
That's a lot of miles - and over $221 million in prize money!
(P.S.: By the way, Todd
continued to come up with bright ideas at PCH
and is now one of our top executives.)