Posts Tagged: Prizes

2016: The Year in Review

In case you missed it, here are some notable items from 2016 concerning sweepstakes, contests, and related promotional matters:

Influencers, Native Advertising, and Endorsements

2016 kicked off with reaction to the FTC’s new Native Advertising Rules which seek more transparency in sponsored stories/advertising.

In March, in its first enforcement action, the FTC cracked down on Lord & Taylor for paying “influencers” to attract social media attention to its Paisley Asymmetrical Dress.  The FTC issued a number of directives, including making the influencers aware of their participation, and making disclosure of the relationship unavoidable.

In May, the National Advertising Division (NAD), a self-regulatory industry, issued a decision concerning native advertising appearing in People.com under the “Stuff We Love” section.  The NAD determined that disclosure of the sponsorship must be made before you get to the stuff page.

In July, the FTC charged Warner Bros. with making inadequate disclosures in videos of influencers playing a new video game.  The FTC didn’t like that the sponsorship disclosure was in a collapsed box below the video and needed to be in a place where consumers will find it.

In October, in an effort to comply with the FTC Rule, YouTube introduced a new feature allowing visible text on a video for the first few seconds with the label stating “Includes paid promotion”

The take:  Consumers and the FTC don’t particularly like “influencers” or hidden ads, so be conspicuous. (more…)

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U.S.A! U.S.A.! – House Votes to Eliminate the “Victory Tax” on Olympic Prizes

Olympic prize awards are generally taxed like other prizes. Some lawmakers have seen this practice of taxing our Olympians as a “victory tax.” On Thursday (Sept. 22, 2016), the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill exempting U.S. medal winners from paying taxes on the money they receive from the U.S. Olympic Committee when they earn a medal. U.S. Olympians are paid $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. A similar bill passed the Senate in July, and President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. (Just so the bill doesn’t sound too favorable to big-time athletes, winners who earn more than $1 million per year can’t take advantage of the tax break.)

Where does this leave the average Joe or Jane prize winner? “Win a New Car” and you could end up paying a hefty tax before you get behind the wheel. (And no, it’s not a “gift” exempt from taxes.) There are plenty of instances where prize winners simply decline a valuable prize or donate it to charity to avoid paying taxes. “Taxes are responsibility of winners” is rightly in Official Rules, but who really thinks of that when they enter a sweepstakes for a trip of a lifetime? (more…)

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In Honor of the Olympics We Give You the International Sweepstakes Edition

In a twist that would make Alanis Morrisette sing, “Isn’t It Ironic”, last week the New York Times reported that a survivor of an Emirates airline crash landing in Dubai learned days later that he had won $1,000,000 in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Sweepstakes. http://nyti.ms/2bhMxkK

For this Sweepstakes, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, each passenger that goes through Dubai International Airport can purchase a $278 ticket with a chance to win a $1 million prize. The odds are an incredible 5,000 to 1. (For a state of reference, the odds of winning $1 million in the McDonald’s Money Monopoly Game are roughly 1 in 513,591,720.)

Dubai Duty Free’s “pay to play” sweepstakes seems as foreign to Americans as the Olympic events found only on an Internet feed. Perhaps you didn’t know that goggles are optional in synchronized swimming or that Greco-Roman wrestling forbids holds below the waist or even that it’s “badminton” and not “badmitton”. Whenever you “go global” you need to brush up on international rules, and this is no less important when running a sweepstakes. Therefore, I give you some unusual sweepstakes quirks throughout the world: (more…)

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Enter to Win a Scholarship: Paying for College Through Games of Chance

For many young adults, college classes will be starting soon. For many anxious parents, college costs will be accumulating soon. Thank goodness you can try to bankroll tuition by entering the many available sweepstakes awarding “scholarship” money. For a student, college scholarship sweepstakes offer a simple alternative to actually hitting the books.  For sponsors, college scholarships offer a popular form of promotion to a captive audience and engender goodwill with the community.

While not as difficult as quantum physics, running an effective scholarship sweepstakes does require some pencil sharpening. Here are a few tips: (more…)

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You Might Not Be a Winner

I came across an article in the Dallas Morning News the other day titled “Campus carry group may offer ‘cash prizes’ to UT students who call out anti-gun professors.” Whoa!

The regional director of the group Students for Concealed Carry is quoted as saying “One of the proposals we’re considering is the offering of a cash prize to the student who documents the most verifiable cases of faculty or staff prohibiting licensed concealed carry in offices.” Whoa!

For some background, beginning Aug. 1, licensed gun owners will be able to carry concealed handguns into most buildings at Texas’ public four-year colleges and universities under the state’s new campus carry law. UT-Austin wants to exempt professors from the law and allow them to decide whether young John and Jane Waynes can mosey on in during office hours while packing heat.

No matter what you may think about allowing Billy the (College) Kid to conceal carry, I’m really not sure that awarding a prize for rounding up the most rascals is a sound marketing strategy. We all know that having a catchy “CTA” (call to action) is a great way to engage people and encourage them to enter your sweepstakes. Spin the wheel! Text a friend! Post a Review! – good.  Find the hoplophile hater – bad.

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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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