Posts Tagged: Rules

Sweepstakes Rules: How Much Is Too Much?

William J. Shakespeare recognized over more than 400 years ago in As You Like It that, “Excess may do you harm.”  This may still hold true today for sweepstakes and contest Official Rules.

The internet has allowed Official Rules to be as long as a lawyer’s imagination.  But don’t shoot yourself in the foot when you try to bulletproof your rules.   Boilerplate language, “take it or leave” contracts and heavy-handed, one-sided provisions could be unconscionable and unenforceable.  According to the New York Court of Appeals, “unconscionability … requires some showing of ‘an absence of meaningful choice on the part of one of the parties together with contract terms which are unreasonably favorable to the other party.’” State v. Avco Fin. Servs. of N.Y., 50 N.Y.2d 383 (1980).  Sounds like Official Rules.

Context is important. (more…)

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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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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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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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