Posts by: Robert Laplaca

Vacation Sweepstakes Edition (The More You Give, The Less You May Get)

It’s summer vacation time and what better way to spend it then basking in the sun after winning that all-expense-paid prize trip.  Or is it?

Sponsors want to create buzz for their sweepstakes.  And vacation prizes over the summer months may do just that.  In my unofficial count, there are about 150 vacation sweepstakes currently running by major brands for trips to Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Disney World, Miami, Las Vegas, NYC and even Cincinnati.  But Caveat Sponsus, awarding a dream vacation could be a nightmare.

Issues and solutions when offering vacation prizes: (more…)

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Where’s the Beef? Selling Internet Time Could Get You Time (The Sweepstakes Legitimate Product Requirement)

In 1984, Clara Peller, when opening a bun and finding only a tiny burger, first asked the famous line, “Where’s the beef?” This question is still relevant today in sweepstakes world. Even if you have an AMOE, when you provide entries for purchasing a product, it better be a hamburger and not just the aroma.

This week an attorney was reinstated to the Florida Bar after four years and having been convicted (which was later overturned and remanded) of various crimes for advising a client on the legality of running a “sweepstakes” involving internet cafés selling “internet time” to its customers who then received entries which simulated popular casino-style games to reveal whether the customer won a prize.  (more…)

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Commercial Co-Ventures What a Charity Needs to Know

Yay!  Big brand wants to team up and donate part of the purchase price of its sales to your charity.  Do you just have to sit back and watch the money come pouring in?

Procedurally, no; substantively, (mostly) yes.  Even though the “work” in a commercial co-venture may be done primarily by the commercial company in terms of registrations and actual product selling, a charity has a number of its own obligations that cannot be ignored.

A short primer:  Buy this + we donate that = commercial co-venture.  Simple. (more…)

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Liability For Inherently Dangerous Contests (How Many Nathan’s Famous Are Too Many)

It’s fun to watch Joey Chestnut race to scarf down 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes on the 4th of July, isn’t it?  At least the thousands of fans who packed the Coney Island boardwalk and over 1 million television viewers think so.  To a person, weren’t we all thinking, isn’t that dangerous?  Contest promoters may have been thinking, can we do something like this?  Just remember, fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Very, very unfortunately, people die or get seriously injured from dangerous activity encouraged by skill contests.  Just this year a student at Sacred Heart University died a few days after participating in a charity pie eating contest and days later a man died during a donut eating contest.  And the list goes on. (more…)

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How About Some Updates?

You may or may not have heard of some recent developments in the promotion world.  If you haven’t, great, let me be the first to tell you.  If you have, my update is better.

Endorsements/Influencers

Back in the 1940s, a sociologist named Paul Lazerfield introduced the psychology behind the efficacy of influencers with his theory called “two-step flow of communication,” finding that ideas flow from mass media to “opinion leaders” who distill and pass along information to “opinion followers” with more limited knowledge. Today, this two-step “flow” of communication has become a deluge.  As a result, the FTC and social media sites are taking pains to corral it.

Instagram posted in June a “Why Transparency Matters” blog introducing its upcoming “Paid partnership with” tag for posts and stories.  Is it required?  We don’t know.  Instagram promises to release an official policy on enforcement “in the upcoming months.” (more…)

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Some Common Sweepstakes and Contests Questions Answered

Our teachers have told us that there’s no such thing as a bad question.  In that light, I’ve come up with 11 common (simple) questions about running a sweepstakes or contest.  And to prove that there are no bad questions, I’ve also gone ahead and answered them.  Enjoy!

Social Media

Q:        Can we require an entrant to share the sweepstakes on a friend’s timeline to get additional entries?

A:        No.  Stay away from personal timelines on Facebook.

Practice tip: You can ask an entrant to share the sweepstakes link with a friend to allow the friend to enter separately.

Q:        Can we ask an entrant to tweet, retweet, follow a Twitter user, or post an update? (more…)

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