Posts Tagged: Sweepstakes

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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Sweepers – Trying to Clean Up with Sweepstakes Prizes

By rough estimate there are over 20,000 people out there who devote their livelihood to extreme “sweepstaking.” These dedicated denizens of the promotion world scour the Internet and newsletters in search of fame and fortune. They go by monikers such as “Mr. Sweepy” and “Grand Master Sweeper.” Statistics show that your average “sweeper” is a middle-aged Caucasian woman, with no kids and no college education. (Insert comment here.) They can submit hundreds of entries per day and they are personal friends with the postman (because they spend thousands of dollars on postage). Some limit entries to useful or valuable prizes (like the “four C’s – cars, cruises, computers and cash), while others are just happy to win a lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg, à la A Christmas Story. But despite their tenacity, they only have a winning rate of much less than 1%.

Sweepers are good for the sweepstakes industry. Sweepers read and follow the rules. Sweepers can drive traffic to your website – against their self-interest, they typically let their sweeper friends know about good promotions. And sweepers may actually end up buying your product. (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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Show Me the Money – When Taxes Can Turn Your Dream Home Into a Nightmare

It’s that time of year again, the 20th annual HGTV Dream Home 2016 Sweepstakes began December 29th. As the sponsor of this promotion has recognized, winning a mansion could put you in the dog house when you are socked with a hefty tax bill. I’ve written about this issue of the tax consequences of giving away expensive prizes in an article published in the Connecticut Post.

To avoid cooking Ramen noodles and mac and cheese on your brand-new Thermador® 36 inch Professional Series Pro Harmony standard depth dual fuel range (i.e., “oven”), you have the option of taking $900,000 instead so that your dream home doesn’t become a financial nightmare. (more…)

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You Are a Winner – Sweepstakes Scams Are Still Popular

Recently, an affluent and intelligent businessman received a letter on Publishers Clearinghouse letterhead complete with the PCH logo and signed by its CFO informing him – by name – that he was selected as the second place winner in the 100 Million Dollars Super Cash Giveaway Promotion sponsored by Reader’s Digest, Mega Millions and Multi-State Lottery Association. (bold in original) He “won” $1.5 million. The letter instructed him to contact the claims manager at a real phone number and provide him with the “Security Code” identified in the letter. The letter even advised him that pursuant to Federal and State law, this Security Code must be kept confidential “which means, you are precluded from discussing your win with third parties.” As a very nice courtesy, the letter came with a check for $8,500 “to cover insurance and attorneys fees.” (more…)

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