Posts Tagged: Free

Dilly! Dilly! Is Giving Away Free Beer so Silly?

Every beer drinking football fan in Cleveland knows by now that there will be magic beer fridges stationed throughout Cleveland that will miraculously open to produce bottles of free Bud Light if the football gods see fit to allow the Browns to win a football game this year.

At first glance, I pictured the regulatory referees throwing yellow flags across the field decreeing a penalty for violating beer promotion laws. But as a curious promotions lawyer, I thought it was worth a little investigation into trying to find out how a stunt akin to the Fumblerooski can be successfully pulled off. (more…)

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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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FTC 2017: Consumer Protection Year in Review (aka. If you do it, we’ll catch you)

The FTC put out its consumer protection year in review providing a comprehensive list of significant consumer protection developments in 2017.  Let us indulge you with a recap of a few illustrative actions affecting the promotion world.

“Free” Samples

In October 2017, the FTC charged A1 Janitorial Supply Corp. with deceptively calling businesses offering a “free” sample of its cleaning products and then billing them for the samples after shipping.  Hoping that one hand wouldn’t wash the other, the company shipped the goods to one employee (who received the telephone call) but then sent the invoice to another employee.  The FTC alleged that this practice violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 CFR Part 310 and the Unordered Merchandise Statute, 39 U.S.C. § 3009.  A TRO was entered and the case is still pending.

The lesson:  To stay squeaky clean, remember free means free even when it’s B2B. (more…)

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There’s No Such Thing as a “Free” Sample: FTC Provides Guidance on Advertising “Free” Samples Combined with Recurring Charges

On Tuesday (September 20, 2016), the FTC and Nutraclick entered into a consent order concerning Nutraclick’s online offer for “free” samples of supplements and beauty products. The FTC alleged that Nutraclick failed to clearly disclose to people who requested the samples that they would be enrolled in a membership program and billed up to $79.99 per month, unless they canceled within an 18-day trial period. While this promotional offer may have netted significant profits, its success was short-lived when at least 70,000 filed complaints prompting the FTC investigation.

The FTC alleged violations of the FTC Act’s prohibition against unfair or deceptive acts or practices (15 U.S.C. §45(a)) and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act, which pertains to selling online through a negative option feature, i.e., where a consumer’s silence is interpreted as an acceptance of the offer. 15 U.S.C. §8403.

The Promotion (According to the FTC Complaint): (more…)

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10 Things You May Not Have Known About Promotion Marketing

1. Practically every type of promotional activity is regulated in some way:
a. Sweepstakes and contests
b. User generated content on websites and social media;
c. Coupons, gift cards and money-back guarantees;
d. Charitable solicitations;
e. Celebrity endorsements or other testimonials;
f. Marketing to children; and
g. Even trying to give something away for “free”

2. You need official rules for every sweepstakes and contest you conduct. They form a binding contract with the entrants that will help protect you in the event of a dispute.

EXAMPLE: When Kraft mistakenly produced too many winning game pieces for its “Ready to Roll” sweepstakes, they were protected by having a clause in the rules stating they were not liable for printing or production errors. (more…)

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