North Carolina native and lifelong football fan Tony Carter has a good reason for rooting for the Cowboys and Steelers instead of the Panthers when he was a kid. His beloved team didn’t yet exist.
But since the Carolina Panthers’ inaugural NFL season in 1995, Carter has made a religious pilgrimage every Sunday to any TV available. As a career soldier, most of those games were enjoyed on U.S. Army bases spanning from Kentucky to Germany. Seeing the Panthers in person never really was an option.
“I’m pure Carolina. I love the UNC Tar Heels and I love the Panthers,” says Carter, now retired. “Even when I’ve been overseas, I’ve stuck with them. Game Day always means being with friends, family and fellow soldiers.”
Thanks to a chance encounter with a case of Pepsi at his local Wal-Mart, Carter will be spending his next Game Day — Sunday, November 11th — at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium to watch the Panthers take on the Denver Broncos. Through December 9, Pepsi is giving away four tickets to each of the remaining home games in its Carolina Panthers Snap It/Send It Sweepstakes.
“You know, I’m going to be 49 years old soon and this will be my first actual chance to go to an NFL Stadium. I’m really excited!” says Carter, who plans to bring his nephews Mark and Aaron along with a yet-to-be determined family member. “Even though the team is only 2-6 right now, I’m still optimistic. If the Panthers can play like they did last Sunday (a 21-13 victory over the Redskins), I think they have a chance to make the playoffs.”
To enter the Carolina Panthers Snap It/Send It Sweepstakes, fans need to photograph the Pepsi and Panthers logos together on specially marked 18-packs of Pepsi and email or picture-text the photo to Panthers@Pongr.com. The promotion is being powered by Pongr, a mobile photo marketing company that turns consumer packaging and in-store displays into immediate direct-response opportunities for shoppers.
In addition to activating CPGs, other Pongr mobile promotions reward fans for taking pics of brand media spotted in stores/restaurants, television commercials/programs, movies, print advertising, bus kiosks and billboards. Pongr’s image recognition platform also automatically distinguishes multiple brand logos in the same photo, instantly sending back winning codes or encouraging “try again” messages for correct and incorrect entries.
At the game, Carter plans to keep his eye trained on wide receiver Steve Smith, a “die-hard team player who always makes incredible plays.”
“Smith always seems to pull off the impossible. I’m always wondering ‘Wow, how did he leap up and catch the ball with one hand?” he says.
Carter adds that he had no idea about the contest until he saw the Pepsi display at Wal-Mart.
“All I did was take a picture of my Pepsi and I got a phone call a few days later. I had forgotten all about it,” he says. “I’ve been in all kinds of contests but have never heard a thing back. I once won 50 bucks on a lottery scratch ticket and bought myself a tank of gas. But I’ve never won anything as cool as this!”
(Are you a Carolina Panthers fan interested in a chance to win tickets to the Nov. 18 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Click here for more details).