Archives: April 2016

This is My Blog and I Can Rant if I Want To…The Law is a Ass

First, on an unrelated technical point. I am not a bumbling illiterate idiot. The quote above is verbatim from Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist. (Why Dickens did not use “an” I don’t know.) Now, on with the show.

My rant has nothing to do with promotions law, but it does have to do with the law (the aforementioned ass). Specifically, constitutional law. And statutory construction. And the right to practice law. I’m talking about the recent decision by the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Schoenefeld v. Schneiderman. (more…)

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The Cow Chip Raffle OR How to Turn Poop Into Loot: An Analysis of a Raffle Law

Imagine a football field roped off and sectioned into 500 marked squares. Imagine further a cow roaming free on this football field trying to find the perfect spot to leave a cow pie (that’s farmer for poop). Imagine even further a lucky contestant who placed her money on the exact square where old Bessy decided to messy. That’s a Cow Chip Raffle.

The marketing fun is endless. News outlets love this stuff. Kids can’t believe it. And adults ponder over guessing exactly how far a bovine can go before the bovine has to go. So, what are you waiting for?

Oddly enough, to be filed under “You gotta be kidding me,” Connecticut has a specific statute dedicated to the Cow Chip Raffle. (Conn. Reg. §7-185-11b – look it up!) According to the law, you must be a non-profit and obtain a permit. You also have to file a plot plan. Your land area must be “suitably enclosed” to make sure the cow doesn’t get out (and a winner can be determined). You have to sell tickets with removal stubs entitling the holder to “temporary possession of a plot of land.” You have to “conspicuously post on an information board” the numbered plots. And no cheating, “No person may feed, lead or handle any animal utilized in a cow-chip raffle once the animal has entered into the enclosed area.” And off you (or at least the cow) go! (more…)

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Is It “Au Naturale” or “Oh, Not Natural?”: FTC Comes Down on 100% Natural Claims

You can buy almost any product that is “all natural” — skin cream, soap, shampoo, cleaners, grass seed, bug repellent, pet spray, even hair loss treatment. These products go by monikers such as “Pure Naked”, “Lush”, “ONO”, “Nature’s Miracle” and many “Dr. so-and-so’s”. Natural products are certainly not new – early civilizations used makeup made from such things as gemstones, castor oil, and beeswax. But eventually, post-war consumers were wowed with better living through chemistry. Now, “all natural” is de rigueur.

On April 12, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release identifying a proposed settlement with four different manufacturers charging that they falsely claimed that their products are “all natural” or “100% natural”, despite the fact that they contain synthetic ingredients. http://1.usa.gov/1UZa76p The products included hand and body lotion, shampoo, sunscreen, as well as an elixir and a “face stick”. (No, the NHL was not involved in the settlement.) (more…)

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Having Fun with the Yankees (Or at Their Expense): Opening Day Edition

Marketing is supposed to be fun. And by golly, the folks at HBO are circling the bases by taking on sport’s most esteemed franchise, the New York Yankees. I’m talking about Comedian John Oliver’s “I Have Never Sat In A Premium Location” contest. If you haven’t heard about it, check out this clip from his recent show at http://nydn.us/1S1WP2k

Apparently, Yankees COO Lonn Trost recently said on a radio show that the Yankees were not accepting printed tickets from StubHub for premium seats at the Stadium. For us bushleagers, the premium seats are in the prime location right off the field of play and come with not only a great view but access to the Legends Club, where you can get a waiter-delivered gourmet meal and an unpronounceable brand of beer rather than an over-boiled hot dog and watered-down Bud being passed fire bucket-style down your row. (more…)

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Sweepers – Trying to Clean Up with Sweepstakes Prizes

By rough estimate there are over 20,000 people out there who devote their livelihood to extreme “sweepstaking.” These dedicated denizens of the promotion world scour the Internet and newsletters in search of fame and fortune. They go by monikers such as “Mr. Sweepy” and “Grand Master Sweeper.” Statistics show that your average “sweeper” is a middle-aged Caucasian woman, with no kids and no college education. (Insert comment here.) They can submit hundreds of entries per day and they are personal friends with the postman (because they spend thousands of dollars on postage). Some limit entries to useful or valuable prizes (like the “four C’s – cars, cruises, computers and cash), while others are just happy to win a lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg, à la A Christmas Story. But despite their tenacity, they only have a winning rate of much less than 1%.

Sweepers are good for the sweepstakes industry. Sweepers read and follow the rules. Sweepers can drive traffic to your website – against their self-interest, they typically let their sweeper friends know about good promotions. And sweepers may actually end up buying your product. (more…)

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