The coffee shop company Tim Hortons has attracted considerable attention for its latest promotional campaign where consumers can win prizes — including cars — by rolling up the rims of their paper coffee cups, but CBC News was curious to know what the odds were for winning a substantial prize in Saskatchewan.

What are the odds?

The chance of winning a car in a Tim Hortons coffee contest is 1 in 7 million.

So how does that compare to other low-probability events? Here are a few examples:

  • Winning at least $15 million in Lotto Max: 1 in 29 million.
  • Be killed in a terrorist attack while travelling (1 in 650,000).
  • Die - during an average lifetime - of flesh-eating disease (1 in one million).
  • Be killed by lightning (1 in 56,439).

Source: CBC News research

CBC producer Anna-May Zeviar, a prize-savvy consumer who enjoys coffee, did some checking and learned more about the distribution of prizes across the country.

According to Tim Hortons, Saskatchewan is part of a region with Alberta, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunuvut where 46,571,280 cups are expected to be available for purchase. Many of those cups will simply invite people to try again. And many will have prizes of coffee or donuts.

The cups will also have the following major prizes:

  • 6 Toyota Corollas.
  • 17 prepaid Visa Cards with $5,000 on them.
  • 4,000 Gift card for Tim Hortons of $100 each.

According to the company, the odds of winning a car (in all regions where Tim Hortons operates) is one in seven million.

The contest even provides a method for consumers who do coffee runs for a group of people to fill in a form to settle any disputes about who "wins" a prize and who "bought" the coffee. The company calls the form a pre-cup, as a play on a pre-nup agreement.

With files from CBC's Anna-May Zeviar