Posts Tagged: Sweepstakes

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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The Super (oops) “Big Game” Sweepstakes Are Starting – Watch What You Say

“Game Time Gold”, “Ultimate Football Experience”, The “Big Game” Sweepstakes, the “Special Teams” Sweepstakes, and the “Big Game Giveaway” are just a few of the sweepstakes offered this football season to win a trip to Super Bowl 50, as well as the latest installment of the exercise in – how can I say Super Bowl without saying SUPER BOWL®.

Almost everyone knows that the NFL® holds the rights to, among other things, the NFL® team names, emblems, helmet designs, the NFL® shield, and the terms SUPER BOWL® and SUPER SUNDAY®. (In fact, the NFL® owns more than 100 registered trademarks and 9 that specifically include the term SUPER.) Does this mean that advertisers have to tenderfoot around the term SUPER BOWL® like a split end trying to stay inbounds on the way to the end zone? The legal answer may be no. (more…)

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Cause Marketing Can be a Force for Change

Today (Dec. 18) is the official release date for the long-awaited next installment in the Star Wars saga – The Force Awakens. Disney and the Star Wars group have already been been engaged in an over one-year long cause marketing campaign that has been out of this world. For example, in mid-2014, the “Force for Change” campaign kicked off with a collaboration with UNICEF with a sweepstakes to win a once-in-a-lifetime walk-on role in the film, which raised over $4.2 million. In early 2015, programs were created to support UNICEF Kid Power such as an “Art Awakens” campaign to auction off Star Wars-themed works of art by contemporary artists. In late 2015, a new Force for Change-themed sweepstakes in support of 15 causes across the globe was announced with over $2 million raised. Throughout the campaign, different “Force for Change” merchandise has been sold with proceeds going to charity; these include: t-shirts, a collectible Hot Wheels hot rod car, and a power band. Also, specially-made items were auctioned off, such as an outfit made by famous designers that pays homage to the characters in the movie, original movie-inspired art pieces, and a gold and diamond BB-8 collectible. Full details are available at: http://forceforchange.starwars.com/

Star Wars – The Force Awakens has already broken pre-opening ticket sales and is expected to make over $1 billion. The specific impact of its cause marketing efforts has yet to be quantified, but it is clear that cause marketing helps trigger sales while at the same time helping people throughout the globe. Good for you Disney and Star Wars!

Full disclosure: The author of this post, Rob Laplaca, worked on part of this cause marketing campaign.

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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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