Taco Bell’s Feel The Force Contest: The Hummer and My Prize

Feel-The-Force-t-shirt_Taco-Bell-contest

The late 1990s were a great time to be a Star Wars fan. During the release of the Star Wars Special Editions I was over the moon with excitement for Star Wars. Not only would I get to finally see the Star Wars trilogy on the big screen (I had only seen Empire and Jedi and I was so young I barely remember it), but there was going to be all this new stuff in the films!

Okay, so it didn’t all turned out exactly as I’d hoped, but it was still a great time to be a fan. Here I loved Star Wars for years and there was barely anything new available. And then BAM tons of new merchandise hit stores and the movies were on the big screen again. It was at this time that Taco Bell ran a huge promotion called Feel the Force.

The featured prize was a Star Wars themed Humvee (aka Hummer) seen in the commercial. That Hummer is for sale right now on eBay and the owner wants a pretty penny for it (76 grand is the starting bid).

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This is a real Hummer. Not one of the pretend H2s or H3s.

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Dat Vader

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Comes with autographed sun visor?

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…and some Feel the Force swag.

I didn’t want the Hummer even though I was old enough to drive. I wasn’t a big ostentatious truck guy. Plus, I was still in the stage where I was pretty ashamed of my nerdhood. A giant Hummer with Star Wars logos didn’t really speak to me for someone who didn’t want attention. No, I wanted one of their many other prizes. There was tons of amazing Star Wars stuff up for grabs in Feel the Force. There were life size Darth Vaders and Stormtroopers, the life size Han Solo in Carbonite, and a Star Wars pinball machine! I think I wanted the Star Wars Trilogy pinball machine or Han Solo in carbonite most of all.

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Neato.

There were two ways you could enter, the first was getting the feel the force peel off thingies that came with your food. They revealed if you were a winner or not via your body heat aka Force, supposedly. I don’t remember if they worked.

Feel-The-Force-Entry_Taco-Bell-contest

I had about 200 of these.

The other way was to go into Taco Bell and get these slips that you could fill out and mail in for free, one a day. I basically took the entire pad of slips at my local Taco Bell and mailed them for about a month. And I won!

This is what I won from the Taco Bell Feel the Force contest, a Darth Vader mug:

Darth-Vader-Mug_Applause_Taco-Bell-contest

Now it’s not exactly the kind of prize I had hoped for, but I’m proud of it nonetheless. A couple years later my Mom bought me a Boba Fett mug from the same company, so I have the coolest pair of pencil holders ever.

Still… it would have been nice to have a pinball machine.

Thanks to: Yoda’s News for the link

  • Lamar the Revenger

    That’s awesome. Only movie related item I won was an ID4 poster from whatever beer company that was doing a promotion. I didn’t drink (that much) but I even forgot the big prize & when I put in the contest slip.

  • darth__frodo

    I won 2 sets of walkie talkies from the peel and reveal game! Plus lots of free food.

  • Congrats fellow winner!

  • I wasn’t old enough to drink beer when that came out!

  • disqus_xDZGj9mW8r

    Thanks for posting this! I was just now regaling my coworkers about how I won the grand prize of the Taco Bell sweepstakes: the life-size Darth Vader statue. With a retail cost of $7,500 (if my memory is correct), I wound up with an income tax increase of $3,000. So I wound up selling it to a comics/toy store for $3,000 cash and $1,000 in merchandise. I, too, entered the sweepstakes hoping to win the pinball machine! Would you have kept Vader for $3,000 in taxes?

  • Thanks for replying, specially if you’re not pulling my leg.

    Um, I don’t know. That’s a tough call. I guess it would depend on how much money I make. Now it would be hard to justify keeping it. Back then I was in high school and didn’t have a job, so I would have had to sell it.

  • Marty McFry

    I’m definitely not doing any leg-pulling! I came home one day and saw a FedEx envelope waiting for me. I had to agree to accept Vader, arrange delivery, and pay taxes on it. I talked to one of the representatives and was told I could not trade down for the pinball machine because each winner is assigned a specific prize. I had the option of rejecting the prize. I might have had to get my signature notarized—I can’t remember now.
    I’m not sure what would have happened had you won it while you were in high school—the sweepstakes form doesn’t state a minimum age. Maybe you would have had to pay less taxes on it! How much taxes—federal and state—would someone making $7,500/year have to pay in 1997?