Topic: Advertising/PR

Contest Rules

Posted by tiSHOPPE on 500 Points
A retailer client of ours is going to be having a contest and giving away a GPS valued at over $250 for Father's Day. The contest runs from May to June 8 approximately. Other than the specifics of rules for entry are there any "legal-eze" copy we should include in marketing materials to avoid any legal problems (least likely) or hard feelings by contestants (more likely). We are anticipating only 200 to 300 entries and we are having only one winner.

We hope to collect between 150 and 250 email addresses and increase store traffic 10%. Would love to hear from anyone who has done this type of promotion before.

Any thoughts on the legal implications/ cover our behinds angle?

Thank your for your considered responses.
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  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    Here's some "fine print" to use:

    Basically: you want a general release and your choice of winner to be final/binding (if they meet your eligibility requirements)
  • Posted by Levon on Member
    You will need a Privacy Policy and a Terms of Service next to the email and name form on your page where you are collecting this information. Your company should only be using these email addresses for your own company's communication purposes unless you want to get blacklisted from all the major email providers and be labelled a Spammer. Make sure you adhere to this or this contest will do your company more harm than good.
  • Posted by tiSHOPPE on Author
    Great comments and advice thanks! I am tripping over how to incorporate the "Email Use" either into the "Official Rules" or how to handle separately - but all the information you have provided here sure helps.
  • Posted by clpsf on Accepted
    You should check your state (where your company is domiciled) to see if the statutes require any specific disclosures. In California, Business & Professions Code ("BPC") Sections 17539 to 17539.3 and 17539.35 contain the rules for contests. A contest exists when you give away a prize of any value in exchange for the participants performing (or not performing) some specific action. That's not the official description, but it gives you an idea that no matter what the value of the prize and no matter how many people participate, it's still considered a contest and you must abide by the law.

    California BPC Section 17537.1 relates to advertising the contest. [Disclaimer: I'm not an attorney.]

    California's Web site for consumers at is a good source of information in laymen's terms.

    If you're in another state, do a search for (substitute your State for New York):
    contests sweepstakes New York statute

    This should bring up the URL for the actual statute, but if it doesn't, there will be a number of sites that can lead you to it.

    For language, do a search for:

    contest official rules

    This should give you a number of official rules used by other companies that you can use as a template. Just be sure that all of your state's requirements are covered. You might want to go through them first to see if any was produced by a company domiciled in your company's state.

    Be sure that the Official Rules contain good Disclaimer and Release provisions to protect your company, the contest sponsor, and each of your agents, etc. These would say that your company is not liable for mistakes, etc. and that by entering the contest, the participant releases and holds your company, its agents, etc. free from any liability for injury, and so on. This same paragraph can contain a declaration that by participating, the participant permits your company to use his/her likeness for advertising purposes, unless prohibited by law.

    You should start by searching for the statute. It will guide you to just how much information you must provide concerning the purpose of the contest (i.e., your use of the participants' information).

    I would also be sure to have rules about what happens if a person commits fraud or violates rules, who's responsible for taxes if any required by law, how disputes will be handled (including jurisdiction and governing law), and what you will do in case of a tie. There are a number of other things that must go in the official rules, such as how the contest works, the time period (start and end) of the contest, etc. Each of the paragraphs for these are written as briefly as possible.

    Good luck,


  • Posted by clpsf on Member
    Your question goes deeper than just finding a developer. You're really asking for three related, but different fields of expertise. To put this into context, you can be a phenomenal, one-of-a-kind marketer, but only an adequate, good enough copywriter. This works across other fields as well. Your developer may be a great designer, good enough with the back-end, but have little to no experience with copywriting and lead generation (which for all intents and purposes is a cross between marketing / sales / business development). This is only natural as nobody's equally expert or skilled in everything they do.

    Clearly, an independent, sole operator will be limited as to what (s)he can provide, and this is not a put-down for there are some very talented sole proprietors out there. If you want to get value for your money, you need to go to a company that specializes not in Web development -- that's just the tool to fulfill your goals -- but with proven expertise in brand strategy and using design techniques and skills to develop optimum brand positioning. This means expertise in visual design, information architecture, user experience design (UX), and interaction design (IxD) in order to fulfill your request for "understanding the business of a professional services firm." The use of these specializations is to understand who your audience is, to develop not only a mental model, but a persona that represents your target client, and use these to get a complete understanding of how that target client thinks, her expectations, what appeals to him, what she likes and doesn't like, what pushes his buttons, etc.

    This is combined with development of a brand strategy for positioning your company and its services against your competitors and in light of your industry's environment. The criteria you and your developer company put together are then realized through skilled design and development of your Web site. This creates an optimum foundation for successful marketing and leads generation efforts. Copywriting is highly important and the right copywriter, one who can work well with the developer and with you -- because you're involved in all phases -- is critical. A good design company has these resources.

    The company that gives you all of this this and more is Kizmo (, a San Francisco based visual design company (where I work in office administration). What I've described here is only a fraction of what Kizmo does for you. For example, Kizmo designed a Web site for a client about five months ago and the company was acquired last month by Samsung, headquartered in Korea. Clearly the client's product had something to do with it - okay, a lot. :-) - but the Web site was the first point of contact for Samsung's people worldwide.

    You deserve world-class services for your money and for your aspirations. If you need the best, then I recommend you contact either Michael Lisboa, Kizmo's Creative Director, or his partner, Tony Thomson, Kizmo's Director of Program Management at (415) 398-1220. They work with companies all over the U.S., from Fortune 500 companies to well-funded startups. They do great work, but they don't do it for free. What they will give you is a lot for the dollar and the potential for optimum ROI.

  • Posted by tiSHOPPE on Author
    Thank you for all your great responses. I appreciate all your help and feel confident in our planned execution.


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