Posts Tagged: Sweepstakes

Pinterest Revises Promotion Guidelines

Recently and without fanfare, Pinterest revised its Promotion Guidelines in a few significant ways.

The old Guidelines said you cannot “run a sweepstakes where each Pin, board, like, or follow represents an entry;” you cannot require people “to Pin from a selection;” and you cannot “require a minimum number of Pins.”

These restrictions are gone.  The new Guidelines now expressly prohibit three things:

  1. Requiring entrants to post a specific image. Pinterest says: “Give Pinners the ability to choose Pins based on their tastes and preferences, even if it’s from a selection or a given website.”
  2. Allowing more than 1 entry per person. Pinterest says that multiple entries are “less authentic and can negatively impact other Pinners.”
  3. Suggesting that Pinterest sponsors or endorses the promotion.

Requiring a pin to enter, pinning from a selection, and having a minimum number of pins to enter are now all apparently permissible.

Yay Pinterest! Let the kids play.

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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.

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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Why is That in the Official Rules? What to Know When You Copy and Paste

According to Wikipedia, the term “copy-and-paste” refers to the popular, simple method of reproducing text from a source to a destination. We all do it. You may even do it to draft your Official Rules for a sweepstakes or contest. No need to re-create the wheel, right? But, to continue this metaphor, if you are creating a wheel and want it to hold up your new car, you don’t want to just take someone else’s word that the wheel works without knowing how or why it works.

Here are some commonly copied Official Rules provisions, along with an explanation of why they’re in there:

  • “NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.” Required by many states, including that it must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed. Hence, it is typically at the beginning of the Rules and in capital letters.
  • “PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING.” This phrase is required under Federal Deceptive Mailing and Enforcement Act for direct mail promotions.
  • “Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C.” Saying just “residents of the United States” could conceivably be interpreted as including residents of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. Nothing wrong with opening the sweeps to these residents, but at least do it intentionally.
  • “You must be physically present in the 50 United States or D.C. when entering.” This is often used in combination with the requirement that the entrant be a US resident to try to ensure that U.S. law will apply to any disputes.
  • “Entrants must be 13 or older.” This is used for online promotions to avoid having to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act which applies to online promotions directed to children under 13.
  • “Entrants must be 18 or older.” – Many court decisions have held that the Official Rules form a binding contract between the sponsor and the entrant. The age of consent to enter into a binding contract is 18 in most states, except Mississippi – 21 and Alabama and Nebraska – 19.
  • “Employees of Sponsor and anyone associated with this promotion, as well as their family and householder members are not eligible.” This is included to try to ensure that there is no appearance of, or actual, impropriety in the administration of the promotion and selection of winners.
  • “Approximate retail value (ARV) of prize is …” This is required under the laws of many states.
  • “By participating, you grant Sponsor permission to use your name, photograph, voice, any other likeness, or comments for publicity purposes, in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.” The phrase “unless prohibited by law” is added because you cannot require a person from Tennessee to provide a publicity release.
  • “Winner will be required to sign a prize release.” While the Official Rules form a binding contract, the laws of some states such as MA, NY, RI, VT, VA and WI require releases to be in writing and signed by the releasor.
  • “An IRS Form 1099 will be issued to winner.” Under IRS regulations, the sponsor must send an IRS Form 1099 to winners of prizes of $600 or more.
  • “If due to a printing, production or other error, more prizes are claimed than are intended to be awarded for any prize level, the intended prizes will be awarded in a random drawing from among all verified and validated prize claims received for that prize level. In no event will more than the stated number of prizes be awarded.” The Kraft clause. In 1989 lawsuits were brought against Kraft in its “Ready to Roll” promotion where due to printing errors at least 10,000 entrants had valid claims to the one grand prize and as a result Kraft end up paying millions of dollars to settle these claims. Subsequently, companies inserted this “Kraft clause” in the rules for seeded games and it has been upheld a number of times, most notably in lawsuits involving the NY Daily News where seeding mistakes occurred. See, Sargent v. NY Daily News, 42 A.D.3d 491 (NY 2d Dep’t 2007).
  • “To obtain a list of the winners, send a SASE to …” The availability of a winners’ list is required under the laws of FL, MD, MA, NY, RI, TN (and MI and WI for in pack games).

There are, of course, many other provisions that should be included in the Official Rules, but at least now after you’re finished copying and pasting, and you are asked, “why is that in the Rules”, you will have a spiffy answer.

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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

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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