Running an online sweepstakes or contest is an effective tool to engage consumers and elevate your brand or company. There are many things to consider when including a sweepstakes such as budget, run dates, eligibility, and prizing. The most important and often overlooked items are the legal parameters of a campaign. If not addressed in advance, it could derail all your efforts. Below are 5 ways to avoid legal issues when running a sweepstakes.
Official Rules and Abbreviated Rules
Think of this as your sweepstakes’ user manual. The official rules should be a blueprint of your campaign and should clearly outline eligibility, campaign run dates, how and where to enter, prizing and the total ARV. It’s also important to include when and how a potential winner will be notified. Entrants should have a clear understanding of how the sweepstakes works and there should be no surprises. Abbreviated rules are a shortened version of the full rules that should give entrants a direct link to the full set of rules. Here is a helpful article of what should be included in the rules.
Bonding and Registration
Did you know that certain states require you to bond and register your promotion? Usually, it’s dependent on the total ARV of a campaign, but it varies by state. Neglecting to bond and register and not adhering to the timing deadlines for when you can submit your registration and bonding could amount to hefty penalties. Here are links to New York, Florida and Rhode Island that specifically addresses their requirements.
Legal Review of Marketing Materials
You may have your official rules buttoned up, but did you know there are legal disclaimers that should appear on your marketing materials such as emails, POP and social media posts? Also, your marketing materials must not be misleading to entrants. A full-service sweepstakes agency can guide you on what is required to keep your promotion legally compliant.
Social Media Restrictions
Social media campaigns are fun and inexpensive, but they do come with legal requirements which are constantly changing. Each platform has their own guidelines that you must following in order to run a campaign. Guidelines change quite frequently so it is a good idea to consult with a legal professional who is up-to-date on all of the changes. If you can’t get outside help, it’s a good idea to go to each platform. Here are links to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s policy pages.
Privacy and Collecting PII
Consumer privacy is a very hot-button item. There are many rules and regulations about collecting and storing personal identifying information (PII). Consulting the laws for each participating state and country if international is essential before running a campaign. For example, here is a helpful article about the CCPA law that affects promotions running in California.
While many companies opt to use inexpensive sweepstakes software to build and manage their campaigns, they often overlook the legal elements. It may be less expensive, but in the long run, you may end up paying heavily in fines and even have your promotion shut down mid campaign. Now that you know the 5 ways to avoid legal issues when running a sweepstakes, consider using a full-service agency like Sync to manage your campaign.