The April issue of MediaPost's Media Magazine has an article (free reg.) about a contest by Ace Hardware with a prize that's as unusual as it is exciting: a one million dollar hardware store in Houston, TX:
"In an effort to make an impact with an advertising budget far smaller than what the big-box retailers spend, Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware execs created a “once in a lifetime” contest linked to the company’s entrepreneurial philosophy. “[Dream Ace] is for all those who have always wanted to own their own business, but life always seemed to get in the way,” says Paula Erickson, director of advertising and brand development."
The winner Gower Talley with "The Apprentice I" winner Bill Rancic.
Check out the official contest rules: the participants had to write three short essays, take a "sales aptitude test", go to a bootcamp, submit a marketing plan, among other things. Pretty serious stuff.