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Financial security expert Pat McEvilly joined Valassis Communications in 1986 as director of its new Promotion Watch unit, developing systems to protect marketers from promotion fraud and counterfeiting. The unit's revenues are increasing 10% to 15% annually as clients including Kellogg Co. and Anheuser-Busch add more protection for escalating instant-win promotions.

Age: 43.

Insight: Instant-win promotions are the fastest growing category because consumers are hooked on instant gratification and marketers like promotions with quick turnarounds.

Trade secret: A field group of more than 600 law enforcement and FBI people guarantee that random instant-win caps, labels and scratch-off tickets are indeed randomly distributed.

Tip: Sweat the small stuff. One tiny mistake in a key-chain giveaway can cost a marketer millions.

Watch for: More promotions awarding vintage items; marketing materials using computer chips; promotions centering on the millennium.

Surprising fact: Major marketers use us to do background checks on contest winners and even celebrities presenting prizes so there are no surprises during the post-promotion publicity.

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