Posts Tagged: Contests

Will The Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 Affect Contests and Sweepstakes? (Hint: Yes)

On December 14, 2016, the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 was passed to try to put an end to companies taking down nasty reviews about their products.

Congress’s way of telling companies: if you ask for it, you’re gonna get it.

The new law – effective March 14, 2017 – generally prohibits companies from imposing upon users a restriction for posting negative written, oral or pictorial reviews or similar performance assessments about the company’s goods or services.  The new law also prohibits mandating people to transfer their rights to their reviews or feedback to the company (a nonexclusive license is ok).

Could this new law have a dramatic and lasting impact on contests and sweepstakes as we know it?  I don’t think we’re quite at Chicken Little stage, but the reach of this new law could have a serious effect on contests and sweepstakes that seek reviews or feedback on a sponsor’s product.  That’s because the new law applies when the restrictions are contained in “form contracts,” defined as contracts with standardized terms that the other person doesn’t have any meaningful opportunity to negotiation.  Sounds like Official Rules.

“Tell us in 3 words or less how much fun you had on your last Sponsor To The Stars vacation” or “Post your favorite Sponsor Sandwich for a chance to win even more Sponsor sandwiches.” or “Tweet the 50 things you love about Sponsor Soap to #SponsorSoapSweeps.”  All potentially affected. (more…)

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Condemnation, Litigation, Regulation, Legislation, Congratulation – Are NFL Ratings Down because of The Daily Fantasy Sports Crackdown?

 

Sports Illustrated recently had an article listing their experts’ take on why NFL TV ratings are down an overall 11% from last year.  Number 7 on their top 10 list was the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) bans.  Should the past year of condemnation, litigation, regulation and legislation lead to congratulation to aggressive state attorneys general and legislators for this downturn?  Perhaps.  But to the delight of the NFL (and ESPN, CBS and NBC), most states are now saying “Give Peace A Chance.”

First, DFS were flying under the radar and gradually creating a buzz.  Then, DFS exploded last year spurring increased NFL interest and TV viewership.  Because of this popularity, many legislatures took an interest and decided they had to investigate this (new) phenomena.  A number of state attorneys general issued formal opinions condemning DFS and some filed lawsuits against DFS operators.  Now, the dust is starting to clear, and it appears that most states are recognizing that DFS is a form of legal contest. (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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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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Do I Need the Horse’s Permission to Take its Picture for a Contest?

The Guardian reported on February 2 that the owner of a horse who was in a winning contestant’s selfie claims that she should share in the contest prize because the winner did not get her permission to take her horse’s picture. Unknown if the horse gave permission, I can’t tell if he’s happy or upset in the winning photo. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/02/owner-photobomb-horse-demands-share-2000-selfie-prize “Horsefeathers” said the sponsor of the contest who awarded the prize only to the photographer.

We all know that a horse is a horse of course, of course and that a horse can’t grant permission to use its likeness in a contest. But must its owner? Sorry, Charlie, publicity rights have not been granted to animals. Although owners have tried. In New York a dog owner unsuccessfully sued a biscuit company that used Fido’s photo in an ad without the owner’s permission. In Missouri, a jury originally awarded a horse owner $5,000 for an alleged unauthorized use of the horse’s image in an ad. But the appellate court said “Whoa” and reversed.

But what if the horse took the photo? You may have seen that back in November PETA filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in California declaring Naruto the macaque the copyright owner of selfies he took from a person’s camera. http://www.peta.org/blog/monkey-selfie-case-animal-rights-focus/ As reported, the judge in the case wants to throw a monkey wrench into it and dismiss the claim.

The lesson: when having any type of contest or sweepstakes where entrants submit a photo make sure that you get rights to the photo from the photographer and all persons depicted in the photo (tiny paws have incredible difficulty holding a pen). You should include a grant of such rights in the rules and you should also require the winner to sign an assignment of rights during the validation process. Don’t monkey around with this.

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I Said Your Product was Great, Now Gimme a Prize: The FTC Enforces Its Endorsement Guidelines

Yesterday, the FTC settled a deceptive advertising lawsuit against the creators and marketers of the Lumosity “brain training” program. For those of you not smart enough to know, the “brain training” program claimed to not only boost your performance at work or school, but also slow down those pesky cognitive impairments we all seem to experience as we get older.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. As part of its marketing campaign, Lumosity ran an “Athlete Testimonial Contest” inviting entrants to share their story of how “Lumosity has helped them take their athletic abilities to the next level for the chance to win a Lifetime Subscription, the new iPad, and more!” (NB: Apple frowns upon giving away iPads.)

With this call to action, burgeoning athletes took time away from their snatch and jerks to post their stories online to gain entry into the (sic) “contest”. (more…)

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