Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coca-Cola Team Tracks Down Big Promotion Winner

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coca-Cola Team Tracks Down Big Promotion Winner

Article excerpt

Byline: Debra W. Buehn, County Line correspondent

When Peter Rubin's daughter grabbed a can of Coke from the refrigerator and sat down to dinner with her family in Argyle recently, she thought something was terribly wrong with her drink.

It didn't look like a regular can of Coca-Cola, it didn't feel like a regular can. Worst of all, it didn't even have any Coke inside of it.

"She said, 'Hey, what is this? We got gypped,' " recalls her dad.

Luckily, Rubin suspected that the can was a special one -- one that could win the Orange Park family some major prizes -- and a lot of attention. So his response to his daughter's questioning was, "Let me see that."

"As soon as I saw it, I knew," Rubin said Wednesday afternoon, standing in the middle of the pass and decal parking lot at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, surrounded by a bevy of reporters and officials from Coca-Cola and Publix (Rubin purchased the Coke from a Publix). The group had been tracking Rubin for more than an hour in an effort to deliver his prizes and record his response.

It's all part of a nationwide summer promotion being put on by Coca-Cola, and Rubin is one of approximately 100 winners.

The promotion, dubbed the "Unexpected Summer," involves using some high-tech devices to chase winners around and deliver their prizes (including everything from vacation packages to SUVs to cash), all with their permission, of course.

The plan involves putting a GPS -- global positioning system -- transponder and a cell phone into specially designed Coke cans, said Jason Smith, Coca-Cola's Southeast region field representative for the promotion. The cans feature special graphics and a recessed panel with buttons on it. When the buttons are pushed, they activate the GPS and cell phone.

The first time a winner pushes the buttons, it is to tell Coca-Cola the can has been found. The person is then asked if he or she wants to participate in the promotion, and if that answer is "yes," the can is activated. Winners are asked to keep the cans with them at all times, and told that within the next few weeks, the Unexpected Summer team will find them -- wherever they are and whatever they are doing -- and deliver their prizes. …

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