Posts by: Robert Laplaca

Pandamonium Over a Promotion: What to do When Your Promotion is Too Popular

Over the years there have been a number of promotions that just exploded beyond a brand’s expectations.  In 2009, Oprah decided to treat the whole Internet to two pieces of KFC’s new Kentucky Grilled Chicken by promoting a coupon redeemable at participating restaurants.  Lines snaked out the doors and cars lines up at drive-thru windows.  Some customers waited two hours for their chicken and some were turned away with only coupons.

Not to be outdone, on July 12, Build-A-Bear ran a one-day sale where customers could get a stuffed bear for the price of their child’s age.  As POPPA BEAR said to MAMA BEAR, if we truly love our BABY BEAR that is a deal we just can’t BEAR to miss.  Build-A-Bear could not just grin and BEAR it when the lines got unBEARable.  So Build-A-Bear published a notice on social media stating that it had to limit the number of people for safety concerns. (more…)

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Does That Avatar Really Like That Brand? The FTC Endorsement Guidelines in the New Age of Virtual Influencers

Meet Lil’ Miquela.

She has 1.2 million Instagram followers: She’s modeled such famous brands as Diesel, Versace, Fendi and Chanel.  In March, she appeared in a fashion spread in V Magazine as “The Face of New Age Logomania.”  Last month she talked her audience through the latest GIF sets from Prada in Milan. (more…)

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Don’t Tax My Bobblehead! Sales Tax on Promotional Items

Bobblehead: “A figurine with a disproportionately large head mounted on a spring so that it bobs up and down, often made as a caricature of a famous person.”

Giveaway: “A thing that is given free, especially for promotional purposes.”

Sales tax: “The portion of the purchase price typically forgotten about.  Generally seen in price advertising as ‘+ tax’.”

On June 13, 2018, the Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case, Cincinnati Reds, LLC v. Testa, Ohio, No. 2017-854.  The issue: Should the Reds incur sales tax on the bobbleheads they give away at a ballgame?  Two things are certain in life: baseball and taxes.  While the bobblehead may be particular to sports figures, the implications of this Ohio case could affect the budgeting figures for any company that gives away trinkets for promotional purposes. (more…)

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Things That Make You Go Hmmmm

Commercial Co-Ventures and Sweepstakes Promotions

Remember that song in the ‘90s from the C+C Music Factory called “Things That Make You Go Hmmm….”  I guess I did when I came across some recent promotions.  Perhaps these practice tips will stay with you longer than C+C’s 15 minutes of fame.

Bar Exam Sweepstakes

The set up:  Most young lawyers-to-be are weighed down with tremendous debt after three years of law school, but they have the hope that by shelling out another $250 they’ll get that big Wall Street job to wash away their money problems while creating new emotional ones.  This summer, a personal injury law firm (which I won’t name) currently has a sweepstakes running where a new law grad can enter to win his/her bar exam fee. (more…)

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Take That Down: Recent Lawsuit on Negative Reviews

“Beer: The cause and solution to all of life’s problems.”

Mr. Homer J. Simpson would love the recent case of a Massachusetts craft beer company that has been trying in federal court to get the employment website Glassdoor to turn the taps off and take down negative reviews about the company.  Craft Beer Stellar filed an amended complaint in the District of Massachusetts, which is now subject to a motion to dismiss filed on May 11.  The claims, defenses and legal issues raised are exactly what you would expect in a fight over negative online reviews.

For a refresher, we have previously addressed the issue of negative online reviews here and here. (more…)

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Daily Fantasy Sports is a Skill Game, We Have a Study to Prove It

As the esteemed Secretary of Defense under two presidents has said:

Reports that say something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know.  We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we don’t know.  But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

I don’t know what category to put DFS in.  Maybe we know that it’s a game of skill.  Maybe we know that we don’t know that it’s a game of skill.  And maybe we don’t know that we don’t know it’s a game of skill.  While Donald Rumsfeld has made it clear as mud how we can consider this known/unknown conundrum, two industrial engineers sought out to know just what we know and don’t know, and as a result, now we know, in case it was previously unknown, that DFS is a game of skill. (more…)

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