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Crack the Pepsi iTunes Promo Code 594

An anonymous reader writes "Someone posted a technique to find a winner in the iTunes Pepsi promo giveaway." Next step: a Pepsi/iTMS winning number generator!
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Crack the Pepsi iTunes Promo Code

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  • by NewWaveNet ( 584716 ) <> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:50PM (#8320805) Homepage Journal
    Oops, there went that debt free memo []! ;)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:00PM (#8320934)
      AFAIK Pepsi buys the tunes from Apple for the standard $0.99... so it's Pepsi's problem, not Apples.
      • by letdownjournals ( 737635 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:32PM (#8321244)
        AFAIK Pepsi buys the tunes from Apple for the standard $0.99... so it's Pepsi's problem, not Apples.

        I have no idea how the profits break down... But I seriously doubt that Pepsi is paying full price per song. I also have the feeling the record labels are getting paid all or near their usual fees. So I guess it boils down to who you want to screw over-- Pepsi and Apple by scamming the contest, or the RIAA by going back to Kazaa.

        But the real question is, don't most of us have enough music yet? How many times have you listened to 99% of those 20, 40, even 100gb+ songs on your hard drive?
        • by lavaface ( 685630 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:34AM (#8323392) Homepage
          Let's be realistic. You are not scamming the contest by looking under the cap (without opening the bottle.) I wonder what percentage of bottles made are winners. 1 in 5? Who knows. When you consider that many people don't look at the cap or won't bother to claim (Pepsi expects only 1/3 to make claims) the few who know how to "cheat" will make nary a dent in the outcome.

          Pepsi's ad budget is ~$250 million a year.

          Also, consider they war with Coca-Cola over "turf" in school districts across the country. Money for nothing for cash-strapped schools.

          Also remember we're talking about flavored sugar water. Who's scamming whom?

          • by andcal ( 196136 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @09:27AM (#8325363)
            Also remember we're talking about flavored sugar water. Who's scamming whom?

            Yeah, but it also contains caffeine, the melange of the real world. No, I am not trying to claim that there is only one source of caffeine in the world. The reason compare it to the Spice of Arrakis is because, like how melange allows the guild pilots of Dune to fold space and travel between the stars, caffeine makes certain, critical work in the real world possible, which would otherwise not be done. Imagine all the code that would have never been written, were it not for caffeine!
        • by atrader42 ( 687933 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:39AM (#8323421)
          "How many times have you listened to 99% of those 20, 40, even 100gb+ songs on your hard drive?"

          Well, since that 100 gb song is 71 days long, I don't get too many opportunities to listen to the whole thing. I do, however, enjoy sections of it.
    • by ryanw ( 131814 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:03PM (#8320970)
      Well, you still have to "open" the bottle to win. Pepsi/Apple is still ahead on this one.
      • by NewWaveNet ( 584716 ) <> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:19PM (#8321119) Homepage Journal
        Well, you still have to "open" the bottle to win. Pepsi/Apple is still ahead on this one.
        They're not ahead because they whole point of this promotion is to get people to sometimes become an expense when they generate revenue for the company in hopes of that customer repeating thier decision in lack of a possible iTunes reward. When people simply abuse the game by only selecting bottles with an iTunes code, the purpose has been defeated. Also, if this were to get large mainstream press, the public will loose the, "hey...maybe I can win," attitude which, once again, defeats the purpose.
        • by Cylix ( 55374 ) * on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:35AM (#8323742) Homepage Journal
          Oh I did this with coke contests a long time back.

          I sifted through the gas stations 1:6 winners til I bought all my friends a free coke. we were kids and half the fun was just biking to the gas station. As long as you get some minimumwage employee... no one seems to mind.

          Then I discovered the real fun in contests. At the time you could call in an 800 number and punch in your numbers to see if you won a real prize. So, I read the rules and nothing said I oculdn't enter as many times as I liked.

          At that point I setup all my little memory dial buttons to enter the sequences for entering. I even played around with it and found certain numbers gave a spanish version.

          After school I would sit down and enter a few hundred times a day and even my brother got in on the fun. This went on for a month or so.

          In the end we only won a game gear... which was quite expensive and only 500 game gears were available nation wide.

          Since then I have never seen coke do such a contest or at least allow the kind of entry I was performing.
    • by bonch ( 38532 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:38PM (#8321285)
      "Would you rather sell sugar water to kids for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?"

      Steve Jobs to that guy from Pepsi. It's on somewhere. The Bouncing Pepsis story, I believe.
      • by l3prador ( 700532 ) < minus city> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:07PM (#8321559) Homepage
        that guy from Pepsi. John Sculley, who subsequently joined Apple, kicked out Steve Jobs and let Bill Gates use Mac features in Windows 1.0. Change the world, he did. :(
        • by rixstep ( 611236 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:58PM (#8322485) Homepage
          Famous Steve Jobs quote on Pepsi guy:

          John Sculley ruined Apple, and he ruined it by bringing a set of values to the top of Apple which were corrupt and corrupted some of the top people who were there, drove out some of the ones who were not corruptible, and brought in more corrupt ones and paid themselves collectively tens of millions of dollars and cared more about their own glory and wealth than they did about what built Apple in the first place - which was making great computers for people to use.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:17PM (#8322619)
            Sculley is the only CEO in Apple history who both managed to both keep Apple profitable and increase Mac sales year-to-year every year. None of the other three Mac-era CEOs -- Jobs, Spindler, or Amelio -- managed the trick.

            So, yeah, Sculley ruined Apple: he made it profitable and expanded the Mac user base. Such horrible crimes. Real Apple fans know the goal is to become an ever-shrinking demographic until the Mac is sitting on the same shelf as the Amiga, clung to in irrelevancy by rabid fans.
            • by rixstep ( 611236 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:26PM (#8322669) Homepage
              Jobs didn't say profits. He said making good products. Sculley didn't do squat, and that was Jobs's objection: from 1984 until jobs's return, Apple had one product, from all the way back in 1984: the Macintosh.

              Jonathan Ive was more or less put on ice until Jobs discovered him working there. Jobs has otherwise done quite a job himself in turning the company around.

              Besides - and this is the clincher - what if Sculley had been good for Apple? Just think how much better he would have been if he and his cohorts hadn't pocketed all that money Jobs speaks of? Just think how much better off Apple would have been!

            • Sculley: FEH. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:00AM (#8323136)

              Just out of high school, I worked for apple as a phone jockey/dope in the thick of the Sculley era. Every single day my job consisted of taking desperate (to the point of suicidal) calls from these poor, pathetic bureaucrats in the purchasing departments at school districts who had sent their entire computer hardware budget to Apple some six, eight, 12, 18 months ago, and they had still not received their orders.

              We were told explicitly and with great threat that we were never to reveal this to the customer, and were in fact to continue to feed them the "Real Soon Now" line of bullshit ("Next week, I promise... It's shipping tomorrow... It already shipped..."), when the blunt reality was that they would not be receiving their orders the next week, month, four months, six months, EVER - eventual refunds were assumed, amounting to a zero-interest loan from the school districts to Apple - because Apple had in fact shipped every one of their orders overseas, to be sold at a higher markup in foreign retail. They had sold their standing inventory at least twice, and probably several times more, and only actually delivered it to the highest bidder. It was pathetic.

              Mind you, "profitability" of Apple aside, this was the height of the "MacInTrash" era, when every government department in the United States, outside of the toniest school districts, was replacing their entire IT infrastructure of Apples with cheap first-generation beige boxes running some godawful proof-of-concept "Windows." I vividly recall watching newscasts showing dumpsters overflowing with discarded Apple machines and thinking to myself, "this company is fucked."

              Sculley made Apple "profitable" for the X many months it took him to ruin its reputation and forever doom it to the statistically irrelevant fringe market.

  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:50PM (#8320811) Homepage
    The big secret: "tip the bottle and see if you can see 'again' under the cap." Sheer genius.

    No, really--this would never have occurred to me.

    I mean, really--the tipping of the bottle I could probably get to, but then to look through the clear plastic--inspired, my friend, inspired. And differentiating between 'again' and a random string of numbers? This guy has to be into hardcore pattern recognition. NSA, are you seeing this?


    There exist elegant solutions to truly vexing problems that, once discovered, are striking in their simplicity. There also exist people who try to pass off the painfully obvious as an elegant solution to a truly vexing problem.

    A free iTunes code to the person who can guess which category this falls into...

  • a crack? hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tedtimmons ( 97599 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:51PM (#8320818) Homepage
    This is a crack? I mean, if you count the cap'n crunch [] as a crack, sure. But I don't consider tilting a bottle of soda a crack. It seems more like social engineering.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:14PM (#8321070)
      It seems more like social engineering.

      If your only friend is a bottle of Pepsi.

    • by John Harrison ( 223649 ) <johnharrison@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:23PM (#8321152) Homepage Journal
      This doesn't even qualify as social engineering. Social engineering would involve asking someone for their winning bottle cap. Here is my crack:

      Stand outside 7-Eleven and ask people for their bottle caps.

      For example, I was in Brazil in 1994 and Coke ran a promo for the World Cup. Each bottle cap had three teams on it in order. If you ended up with the top three teams in the correct order you won a bunch of money. Bartenders became very adept at cracking open your bottle open and pocketing the cap.

      Anyhow, this is certainly a simple cheat rather than a clever hack.

  • by gambit3 ( 463693 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:52PM (#8320825) Homepage Journal


    Now I'll have to play fairly and by the rules!

    That just ain't fair!
  • by qw(name) ( 718245 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:53PM (#8320846) Journal

    As long as the "crack" can be placed in a secret decoder ring I'll be happy.
  • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:53PM (#8320847) Journal
    The American Dental Association, for the sudden increase in work coming their way. A Mr Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. will be presented with the award - a special enamel yellow I-Pod - at the next 'Fillings Across America' convention.
  • Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by furiousgeorge ( 30912 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:54PM (#8320856)
    Cool - a guaranteed way to pick a winner!

    Now i'm off to buy many $1.20 bottles of sugar water so I get get a free $0.99 song!!!! I can't lose!

    oh wait............

    Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers.

    • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AdamBLang ( 674002 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:12PM (#8321054)
      If you're a regular Pepsi drinker, you're buying your normal beverage of choice at your normal price and getting a song to boot.

      If you're a regular iTunes Music Store user, you're spending 21 on a Pepsi.

      If you're an iTMS user and a Pepsi drinker, this whole thing is saving you 99 off your regular Pepsi/iTMS purchases.

      If you're a cola drinker but not a Pepsi drinker, buying a Coke is really costing you $1.20 + 99 (99 for lost opportunity cost).

      You really can't lose!

      Never underestimate the stupidity of people in small numbers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:54PM (#8320865)
    ...Just one iTune, and Pepsi wouldn't give it to me!
  • wtf? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:55PM (#8320878) Journal

    That's pretty amusing but did the editors actually read this story before posting it? "Next step: a Pepsi/iTMS winning number generator!" WTF? Stuff that matters indeed.

    Of course before I criticize them too much don't think I'm not going to try this the next time I go to the store. I don't drink soda (evil substance) but I can resell it to friends that don't use iTMS for the purchase price and pocket the songs ;)

    1) Buy evil sugar water that's bad for you with winning code.
    2) Resell said sugar water to friends who don't use iTMS.
    3) Download songs legally while simultaneously screwing Pepsi and RIAA.
    4) ???
    5) Profit!

    (I'm not trolling for karma. Feel free to mod this funny to avoid giving me any overrated if you disagree).

  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) * <> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:56PM (#8320891)
    The way my kids drink soda, I could go broke "saving" money with free songs this way. We'll stick to the 2 Litre bottles when they are on sale and they can listen to their favorite music on the radio. Though, it would be fun to win just once or twice....

    Happy Trails!


  • Here are the images (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonknee ( 522188 ) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:57PM (#8320895) Homepage
    Hey guys, someone submitted when we were already at the top of our load. So while the host works things out, here [] are the images used in the story.
  • Mirror (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alcimedes ( 398213 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:58PM (#8320912)
    Since it's already slashdotted i'll paraphrase.

    Tip the damn bottle.

    If it constains the word "song" you won.

    Buy that bottle.

    The end.
  • by pantycrickets ( 694774 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:59PM (#8320923)
    iTunes Sweepstakes (c) Apple
    SUPPLIER ...: Team ORiON
    CRACKER ....: Team ORiON
    PACKAGER ...: Team ORiON
    RELEASED ...: 02.18.04
    TYPE .......: Keygen
    DISKS ......: XX/01
  • A bit of info (Score:5, Informative)

    by read-only ( 35561 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:00PM (#8320929)
    The server linked to was slashdotted, so I found this via Google. Not all that impressive...

    No, I don't have algorithm to generate winning numbers. (I would have to assume that they are randomly generated anyways) But, after my 5th winning pepsi top in a row, I'm pretty confident in my ability to pick a winner by examining the bottle. Assuming that the intial bottles really are only 1 in 3 winners and are evenly distributed (which isn't a given) then 5 in a row is good, but not conclusive.

    Anyways, on the bottles I've seen, you can actually see under the cap you down the kneck of the bottle. If the lighting is sufficient, you'll be able to make out at least a couple of letters. If you see a number then you have a winner. You'll look like a fool staring down bottles to find a surefire winner, but being a cheapskate isn't glamorous work.

    I don't know any method to win with the 7-11 Big Gulp cups where the code is on the rim of the winning cup. I've gotten 2 of 3 winners using my patented "pick the first cup" algorithm. The only strategy I've heard of to increase your odds is the "double cup". Some people claim that the stores don't mind if you do it, but to me it's crossing over from legitimate "selection optimization" to "theft".

  • by elflet ( 570757 ) * <elflet AT nextquestion DOT net> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:02PM (#8320956)
    ...but unfortunately this bottle cap is too small to hold it. - Fermat
  • by boinger ( 4618 ) <boinger@fuck[ ] ['-yo' in gap]> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:03PM (#8320968) Homepage
    ...of the same crack that me and me l337 hacker bros worked out back in the BBS days to crack a very similar Mountain Dew promotion.

    Good thing we released it GPL. Now those Apache commies [] can't use it, either!

    Free Tibet!

  • Check around (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andyring ( 100627 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:04PM (#8320978) Homepage
    I was working cleanup at a stadium over the weekend, as part of a church fundraiser (I'm an adult advisor for the youth group). Just by picking up empty bottles, I snagged 19 winning caps.
  • Quick & Dirty Mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by Str8Dog ( 240982 ) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:04PM (#8320979) Homepage Journal
    Here is a mirror of the relevant content.
  • by Str8Dog ( 240982 ) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:06PM (#8320997) Homepage Journal
    Here is a quick and dirty mirror [].
  • by fembots ( 753724 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:08PM (#8321016) Homepage
    I am not sure if this only happens to Coke. Anyway, in one of a similar promotion (i.e. you win something if the cap says "Winner", otherwise "Again"), the message is in some sort of semi-transparent rubbery sheet, which is pushed into the cap, reversed.

    So normally you cannot see anything thru this rubbery sheet, and the message is on the other side (i.e. facing the cap).

    I wonder why Pepsi didn't use a better solution.
  • by Ron Bennett ( 14590 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:11PM (#8321040) Homepage
    It's not truly a crack in my view, since one still has to buy the bottle to obtain the complete, usable code; I bet Pepsi really doesn't care since they're still moving product.

  • The Random Odds (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBraynard ( 653724 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:12PM (#8321046) Journal
    Pepsi is giving away 100 million songs, so I was thinking that there was a good possibility of people trying to hack it by guessing the codes to get the free song.

    I got a winning cap and did some math. Unless the codes are not random, this isn't going to happen.

    There are 8 digits in the code, and they appear to use alphas and digits. Presuming they aren't using zero so it's not confused with the letter "O," this means there are 1.0E+35 possibilities. With 100 million winners, that means one in every 1.0E+27 is a winner. Spelt out, that is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

    However, given that it is not random, I guess the odds are much better.

    • by Otto ( 17870 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:38PM (#8321814) Homepage Journal
      Actually, it's 10 digits, not 8. And yes, they use both zero (0) and the letter O. The zero's are more elongated vertically, and the O's are actually slightly elongated horizontally. Therefore there's about 10^36 possible codes.

      Winning caps look like this (fake number, obviously):


      ONE FREE

      Centered. The blank line is actually about half a line.

      Losers look like this:



      Simple enough. If you hold it up so that the yellow cap is facing the light, yes, you can peer down the side and make out enough to tell which is which, especially on the Sierra Mist bottles. The Pepsi bottles are harder, but since that foul stuff is undrinkable anyway, stick to the clear drinks.

      Note, I have not tried this in a store. I have, however, won a few songs on Sierra Mist bottles.
  • by greymond ( 539980 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:22PM (#8321131) Homepage Journal
    I'd just like to point out again for the record that NO ONE has been arrested/sued by the RIAA for DOWNLOADING music. They have been sued for SHARING their music files. Yes I know the News and Magazines keep saying "Music Downloaders" and "Downloading Music" but thats just so people will be afraid to use P2P softare for legitemate uses, such as Downloading the mp3s to the Bjork CD I own that is scratched and unplayable...

    With that said, I understand this is somewhat news, but honestly your not really scamming or solving anything here. People are buying songs from itunes - good for them, people are downloading songs from itunes for free - GREAT you just made the powers that be "right" that music "Downloaders" are "teh d3v1l".

  • by happyslinky ( 545469 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:28PM (#8321205)
    for the next front page writeup at slashdot we have:
    "WATER H4X0R3D... found to be wet" and

  • Didn't work (Score:5, Funny)

    by rixstep ( 611236 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:35PM (#8321258) Homepage
    This didn't work for me.

    I took the Pepsi bottle cap, inserted it into my PC CD drive, and could read nothing.

    But I forgot to hold down Shift - that may be why.

    I just wish people would document these hacks properly before publishing them. I'm pretty computer-savvy, so I don't think it was a mistake on my part.

  • by emkman ( 467368 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:43PM (#8321325)
    The best part of this amusing if lame article, is without a doubt the Mountain Dew eBay link [].
  • Fatal flaw (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <stonent@sto[ ]t. ... t ['nen' in gap]> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:44PM (#8321339) Journal
    You actually have to buy the pepsi! It costs $1.09-$1.29. Even worse if you accidentally drink the pepsi!
  • Best promotion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hobobo ( 231526 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:47PM (#8321370)
    This promotion is probably the best I've seen in a while. Three benefits:
    1. To Pepsi - increased sales
    2. To Apple - more people use and know about iTunes
    3. To RIAA - people consider free music downloads a prize rather than taken for granted
    Also, because it is so unique it recieves much more publicity than other promotions (such as this article).
  • by returnoftheyeti ( 678724 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:58PM (#8321464)
    I got hooked on Dew back in 99 or so when you could win a free pop (soda) in the cap. I worked in a gas station and had nothing to do but go through the stock room and tilt the bottles to look under the cap and see WINNER. Then I would just open the bottle, drink and turn in the cap when I was done. I had like 5 cases that were exclusivly winners that never made it on to the regular sales floor.
  • by bfg9000 ( 726447 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:27PM (#8322214) Homepage Journal
    ...that this hard-hitting piece of "journalism" made Slashdot's *front page*. I mean, I understand -- slow news day and all, and, well, Slashdot's front page was never a real "exclusive club" in the first place.... "Try to read the cap and see if you've won before you buy the Pepsi." That's it. THAT made the front page. He even put pictures for the, shall we say, "less intellectually fortunate" among the Mac faithful. What's next, "shake your Christmas present and maybe you can tell what's inside?" How about "Check your fruit for bruises BEFORE you buy it to avoid getting bruised fruit!"? GENIUS, I tell you, SHEER GENIUS. Yes, Bobby, "Genius" as in "Genius Bar". I bet Apple's already looking for this Einstein's number as we speak. But they'll have to beat NASA to him! He's like the guy off Phenomenon, I wonder if he can learn Spanish in a half hour. Frickin' Brilliant. I hope he uses his powers for Good, not Evil. Hey, I'm not kidding. He managed to make Slashdot's FRONT PAGE. The FreeBSD guys could cure cancer with their ass and they wouldn't make the front page.

    Why do the Editors even *bother* with when something this fundamentally NON-earth-shakingly important (ie remember that credo "Stuff that Matters"?) makes the front page? SLASHDOT is now Get it? Slashdot = Apple. Everything NON-Apple seems secondary. Linux stories are tolerated. Books are ignored. YRO is buried. Games are irrelevant.

    You know, I used to think the guys who say "the Slashdot Editors are on Apple's payroll" and that "Apple is astroturfing here" were crazy. Now, I'm starting to believe it. Or has the definition of "stuff that matters" changed fundamentally since Apple is involved?

    Either the editors are slipping or they have an agenda. Take your pick. I like cheating as much as the next guy, but this doesn't deserve front page coverage. I guess that's why I'm not an editor. I'd be fair, I speak in full sentences, and my spelling is adequate. Hell, right there my chances are shot.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle