By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: When the Allan’s Electrics Betta Electrical store in Bankstown set out to give away a $16,000 Proton Savvy last night, it looked as if the whole promotion was about to go horribly wrong.

With 50 customers drawn out of a barrel to pick a set of keys, in the hope that they would be the one to open the door of the new car, proprietor Allan Drane became nervous when 35 had tried without success.

“We were starting to get worried that maybe someone had not turned their key properly and we would have to do it all again,” said Drane.

“But that only added to the excitement.”

The 37th contestant proved successful, a local woman from Panania in Sydney’s south west, winning the car and capping off what Drane said was a highly successful promotion for the store.

On top of the car giveaway, up to 500 shoppers who attended the after hours event were lured in-store by bargains due to the cost-plus-$10 sale on all products.

“A lot of people took advantage of the sale, but most people were in it for the car. It was the number one attraction,” he said.

Drane highlighted the presence of local NRL Bulldogs stars Hazam El Masri and Daniel Holdsworth to sign autographs and draw names out of the barrel as a big bonus.

For the 49 contestants who missed out on the Proton Savvy, Drane offered consolation prizes including store credit vouchers, dinners for two and other entertainment passes.

The promotion was supported by retailers including Electrolux, Mitsubishi, LG and Daewoo, while Breville representatives served pies and coffee prepared with their own appliances.

“We really couldn’t have done it without the suppliers,” Drane said.

LCD TVs at cost-plus-$10 were very popular with shoppers, while others bought whitegoods and other big ticket items at heavily discounted prices.

The event wrapped up at 7:45pm, leaving the proprietor eager for the next big promotion.

“After such a good success, we’ll definitely run it again. We’ve got to think of one to beat it though, which will be tough,” said Drane.