How to Make Your Sweepstakes a Success: Simple Strategy #1

How is a failed promotion like a bad car crash? It's both fascinating and horrifying, and you feel lucky if you weren't involved. This blog won't feature sweepstakes smash-ups to gawk at, but it will help you keep your promotions from driving over a cliff.

Ready to learn more? Hop in and let's ride. We'll talk about how simple strategies can make your sweepstakes a success, not a smoldering heap at the side of the road.

Simple Strategy #1: Check your mirrors.

A quick 360° inspection is imperative at the outset.

Review the promotion basics—who, when, where, how, and why—to help with potential issue spotting, staffing needs and overall timeline before getting things rolling.


Who is your audience?

  • Kids present a number of special considerations (CARU Advertising Guidelines, data collection issues, contractual capacity).
  • Consumer promotions draw more regulatory scrutiny than B2B promotions.
  • Internal promotions such as employee incentives may trigger HR, labor, benefits and specific accounting issues.

Who is offering the promotion?

  • Depending on the industry, there may be specific restrictions or conditions for prize promotions (see also “Where”).
  • Co-sponsors can be your greatest allies or your worst nightmares if their roles are not nailed down early.
  • Prize suppliers or fulfillment companies also merit attention.


When will it launch?

  • If the promotion triggers registration requirements, you may have to have final set-in-stone rules on file with the relevant agency as much as 30 days prior to launch.
  • If the promotion is multi-zone or cross-border, you may need to allow time for foreign counsel to review and assist in compliance restrictions, translation requirements, etc.


Where will it be offered?

  • Certain states have quirky rules specific to promotions.
  • Other states have industry specific rules.
  • Still others address prize promotions in their consumer practices statutes or gambling chapters.
  • Offering the promotion outside the US will typically necessitate engagement of foreign counsel for review of local promotions and privacy regulations.


How will the promotion be administered?

  • Will the entry process require “consideration” (monetary or otherwise)?
  • How will the winners be selected (random drawing, judging, etc.)?
  • How will the entry materials and information be used?


What is the objective of the campaign?

  • While this is a business question, it provides guidance for legal to tailor the rules (including entry limits, alternate methods of entry if required) and disclosures (including substance, method and location).
  • It also provides practical considerations when evaluating risks.
    • Consider a photo contest and the unfortunately typical language: “All submissions become property of Sponsor.”
    • If the goal of the promotion is simply to drive web traffic, not to acquire content, including such overreaching (and likely unenforceable) language creates an issue where none needs to exist.

Answering the basic questions about a promotion in the conceptual stage allows you to anticipate the types of issues that may arise, the stakeholders you need to include, and the timeline for putting it all together. If you have questions about the “rules of the road” for promotions and sweepstakes, or simply want the security of having an inspection before the rubber meets the road, contact our law office to schedule a consultation.

Next up:

Simple Strategy #2: Great Pit Crew

How assembling your dream team early will steer you towards success.