After the sender writes the New Year's message, he or she selects a preferred gift from among those offered by sponsoring companies. The Hakuhodo service then assigns the e-mail a lottery number. Both the writer and the person who receives the e-mail will receive a prize if their number is chosen.
Sponsoring companies will pay from $90,000 to $180,000 to participate. In addition to product exposure, the companies will receive information about the senders of the e-mail such as age, sex and product ownership.
Copyright September 1996 Crain Communications Inc.