What do Jay Bush of Bush's beans fame, Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing of The Love Boat), and Trista Sutter, the married Bachelorette, have in common?
They all know the Roberts family of Lexington.
Parents Phil and Lisa; Ashley, 8; and triplets Benjamin, Casey and Danielle, 5, have made a name for themselves as frequent — make that regular — winners of online video contests.
They met Bush and his dog, Duke, shortly before the triplets were born by convincing judges that they were the biggest fans of Bush's Baked Beans. The prize? A year's supply and a cookout for 25, hosted by Bush and Duke.
The Bachelorette and the Captain? Well, Phil Roberts won a Princess cruise for two with a film about how he had created a beach in his inland Ohio apartment to propose to his wife. They went on the cruise, and the marketing folks liked them so much that they asked Phil to officiate as a pastor for the cruise line's next promotion — an onboard wedding. The wedding party included MacLeod and Trista and Ryan Sutter. This time, daughter Ashley, who helped narrate the first winning video, got to come along.
But that's really just a sample of what they've won.
As Bob Barker used to say, let's take a look at these fabulous prizes:
■ There's $10,000 from Carefree, the feminine hygiene folks, for Lisa Roberts to have a "fresh start," including a new wardrobe.
■ A room makeover from Pledge, along with a year's supply of cleaning products.
■ A family trip to the beach, sponsored by a Florida chamber of commerce.
■ A digital home makeover from Microsoft that included four techies flying in from Seattle to make sure everything was wired correctly.
■ A $15,000 check that went toward buying a new family van from an online billing company that sponsored a contest about online shopping gone wrong.
"We enter a lot more than we win," Phil Roberts said humbly. But the cuddly juggernaut that is the Roberts clan — their triplets and daughter Ashley are often featured in the videos — has gained momentum as Phil hones his video skills.
"It's been a pretty good 18 months," said Phil, whose family won that $10,000 from Carefree just a few weeks ago.
It all began about five years ago, when Phil, a pastor at Hill 'n' Dale Christian Church, saw an online essay-writing contest asking for 10 sermon outlines. He came in second.
He won $5,000.
The family — at the time Lisa and daughter Ashley — celebrated with lunch at Subway.
The family's winning ways were slowed with the premature birth of quadruplets and the death of daughter Emily. Initially strong, Emily survived a week and a half before contracting an infection. Lisa also was in intensive care.
The Robertses have found a way to honor their daughter and help other families with premature babies. They created a charity, Project Sea Horse. They donate 10 percent of any cash prizes to the charity and often refer to their work in their winning videos.
And there have been lots of winning videos. Although Lisa Roberts keeps a strict accounting of all winnings for tax purposes, she and her husband have a hard time remembering every win off the top of their heads.
And even when they don't win the big prize, there often is a gift for entering. Thus the arrival recently of a gardening kit from Heinz Ketchup that included seeds to grow Heinz tomatoes, and the presence in the household of a chip 'n' dip bowl shaped like a football helmet, and something called a decorative fire bowl.
It's gotten to the point that the kids are disappointed when the doorbell rings and it's not a delivery guy.
Phil Roberts said there are some keys to a standout video: Read contest directions carefully, and if there is a theme, capitalize on it in your work. If you can create a story or a little skit, all the better.
It doesn't hurt that Phil has a beautiful wife and adorable kids.
But the real key might be Phil Roberts' affable charm and his willingness to act a little goofy. For example, to win a contest as the biggest fan of the Huddle House, he pretended to run through the rain along New Circle Road in order to fetch take-out for the fam.
There was a cordial encounter with the police, but he won a 42-inch flat-screen TV.
Plus, Phil Roberts admits, there are some contests that aren't that competitive. One Florida town was intent on giving away multiple trips to their fair city. There were fewer entries than prizes offered.
Guess what? The family won.
Still, Phil Roberts takes his pastime seriously.
"I don't watch TV. I don't know what killed Michael Jackson or the name of his doctor," he said. Time that others devote to The Biggest Loser or the Real Housewives of New Jers-lanta-York, he's investing in contest entries. He has bought a green screen so he can do special effects (although it lives in the spare room, so it can't be used when company is visiting).
He has invested in some quality lighting and, of course, he has won a video camera.
Although winning big prizes is becoming more commonplace, the family is grateful for what comes their way.
For the kids, universally, the most-praised prize is the back-yard playground. For mom Lisa, the cash is more flexible and easier to use than a year's supply of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce.
Yet, Dad has one over-arching unrealized goal — even the holder of multiple marketing titles has dreams.
Tickets to the Super Bowl.