Posts Tagged: Contests

You Can’t Do That (Strange But True Illegal Contests)

We all know that promotions involving such things as dairy, gasoline, and cigarettes are illegal in some states, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll learn that a red flag should go off if, for instance, a sponsor wants to run a dance marathon/kissing contest next Valentine’s Day.  Below is a list of (mostly) useless, but I hope, amusing state laws restricting certain contests.

California:  No frog-jumping contests.  Calif. Fish & Game Code, §6883.  Actually, frog-jumping contests are o.k., as long as Kermit isn’t eaten if he dies during the competition.  (I’m serious.)  To be safe, I’d recommend the conservative approach and simply avoid this contest in California, because you just never know. (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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With A Nod to May Day, Let’s Look at Beauty “Contests”

Beauty pageants have been around since the Middle Ages when during the English May Day celebrations a May Queen was crowned.  But unlike our current pageant winners who go on to work toward advanced degrees and to advanced popular causes, folklore has it that our early May Queens’ reign was more short-lived, literally; since they were put to death once the May Day festivities were over.

Beauty pageants are contests and are subject to contest laws.  What do you need to have a legitimate skill contest?  1.  An actual skill that can be assessed.  2.  Winners selected based upon exhibiting that skill.  3.  Qualified judges who have the expertise to judge that skill.

Is “beauty” a skill?  We may remember our mom saying she had to “put on her face” before going out, but unless you want to judge on how adept or fast someone is at putting on makeup, etc., it’s tough to say that “beauty” is, in itself, a true skill. (more…)

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Tapping Into a New Method of Cause Marketing

What do you do when your esteemed institution of higher learning has an alma mater which, in the words of one professor, could be interpreted as being “complicit with racism”?  You do the right thing and engage the community to fix the injustice.

This is exactly what Harvard University is doing.  It’s running a contest to change the last line of its college song, Fair Harvard, written in 1836, which concludes with the promise to: “Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love, Till the stock of the Puritans die.”

Apparently, after 181 years, the “Harvard of the Northeast” recognized that it could run out of students with ancestors who came over on the Mayflower.  So, to this, I say, “Yay! Harvard.”  (Mind you, only for this reason do I say, “Yay! Harvard” – no offense to anyone who proudly dons the Harvard Crimson, but I’ve always been preferential to another school that decided to create its own color). (more…)

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