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HP millionaire competition fails to live up to its name

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The prize for being the channel's Chris Tarrant wannabe went to Hewlett-Packard this weekend. Since August, the vendor had been running its HP MillionAIR competition, taunting the nation's smaller reseller community with the chance to win a million pounds before Christmas. The final round of the promotion took place at the weekend. But months of hope and hype came to nothing, as no one walked away with a cool million in their back pocket. Friday night saw 59 dealers attend a glitzy dinner in London's Park Lane Hotel. All had answered scratchcard questions and come up with winning slogans along the lines of "I love selling HP kit because..." At the bash, where Abba's "Money, Money, Money" was played relentlessly, the finalists had to answer one more question. How many printers did HP sell in the UK and Ireland last year? Gerard O'Connor, from Cork-based reseller PC Pro, got closest to the correct figure of 1.4 million. On Saturday the assembled resellers were then whisked off to fly on Concorde, where O'Connor face the three questions that would determine if he was going home loaded. The three multiple choice questions were:

  • Who was offered the Indiana Jones role before Harrison Ford?
  • Which sea was called the Euxinus Sea by the Ancient Greeks?
  • In which First World War battle were tanks first used? According to those on the flight*, O'Connor was nervous but answered the first two questions correctly. Unfortunately, he then guessed incorrectly that Tannenberg saw the first tank in action, and went home with the consolation prize of 80,000 Airmiles. Let's recap. First prize -- £1 million; consolation prize - 80,00 Airmiles. Hmmm. * "Those on the flight" -- well, that didn't include The Register. In fact, HP didn't invite us to report on the grand final of its MillionsofAIRmiles promotion at all. There were other members of the press there, but they were from those magazines that HP had advertised its competition in. We used the black art of journalism to gain entry to the Friday night bash. Of course, this is hardly the place to bitch about the fact that HP's advertising department now seems to be in charge of press relations too. So we shan't. For those of you interested, here are the answers to the questions listed above: Tom Selleck; the Black Sea; Cambrae. ® Related stories: HP plays channel lottery

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