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17 jun

Sweepstakes and Contest Guidelines: Recent Changes That Could Affect Your Upcoming Sweepstakes or Contest

By: Jennifer French | In: Advertising, Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Sweepstakes

When running an online sweepstakes or contest that includes a social media element or endorsement feature, it’s very important to follow the most up-to-date sweepstakes and contest guidelines to make sure your company or client is on the right side of promotion law. For example, recently Facebook made a significant change to their guidelines with respect to sweepstakes and contests, and the FTC has updated a host of FAQs outlining their stance on several topics related to endorsements and social media sweepstakes and contests. Below are a few highlights, but to read the entire FTC FAQ list, click here.

FTC Recommendation for Social Media Sweepstakes or Contests
The FTC recommends that companies running a sweepstakes or contest require all entrants to make it clear that their post on their social media account was an entry into a sweepstakes or contest. They recommend including either “sweepstakes” or “contest” in the overall promotion hashtag required for entry into the promotion. Also noted is that the FTC does not feel using the word “sweeps” is clear enough as they feel that many people will not understand its meaning.

No More Facebook “Likes” for Entries
A recent change in Facebook policy prohibits earning additional sweepstakes entries by sharing on personal timelines or by using friend connections (i.e. asking entrants to share on their timeline to enter for a chance to win, or by sharing on a friend’s timeline in order to earn additional entries, and tagging your friends in a post to enter are no longer allowed). Additionally, all promotions must be administered on pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions. For a full list of Facebooks promotions guidelines, click here.

It is very important to know all of the facts before you begin planning your upcoming sweepstakes or contests. Consider hiring a sweepstakes administrator like Sync Marketing for your next promotion. Our legal team is constantly staying up-to-date on all of the many changes in the field and we will make sure that you are always informed and running legally compliant promotions. Please contact us at 323.596.7962 or email info@syncmarketing.net.


31 may

Sweepstakes and Contests: Handle Internally or Hire a Sweepstakes Administrator?

By: Sync Marketing | In: Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, User Generated Content

We may be a bit biased when it comes to whether or not you should handle a sweepstakes internally or hire an administrator, but we hope the following tips will lead you in the right direction. Whether you’re a marketing agency or an international corporation, these questions will help you determine if you’re equipped to handle a sweepstakes or contest, or if you need to call the experts.

1. Does your in-house legal counsel specialize in promotion law?

Promotion law is very specific. Just recently, Facebook changed its policy to no longer allow entrants to share on Facebook that they’ve entered a sweepstakes or contest in order to earn extra entries. Using a legal team who specializes in promotion law will allow you to stay up to speed on these types of changes so that you know you’re running legally-compliant promotions. You can read more about the policy change here.

2. Does your creative team know how to design mobile-optimized websites?

These days, a lot of consumers enter sweepstakes through their mobile devices and it’s important that your site is mobile optimized to provide the best consumer experience. More importantly, you must have a creative team that understands how to design for a mobile optimized site to ensure your site will run smoothly. It’s also important to know the difference between mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized and responsive sites, and determine which one is best to use for your sweepstakes or contests…but that’s for another post. 🙂

3. Does your ideation team know the difference between a sweepstakes and a contest?

It is not only imperative to know the difference between a sweepstakes, but it’s also important to know which one to run to achieve your goals. Are you looking to obtain user-generated content or are you looking for data capture? To learn more about the differences between a sweepstakes and contests and which one you should run, check out co-founder Julie Link’s article on the very subject, here.

4. Is your accounting team set up to handle winner paperwork and issue 1099’s at tax time?

Whenever the total ARV of your prize is over $600, you will need to obtain a W9 from your winner and then 1099 them during tax season. Your accounting team will need to gather this information during the year, submit the information to the IRS and answer all consumer calls that come after you send the 1099. Co-founder, Jennifer French, has a lot to say about this topic, here.

Hopefully we have helped make the decision of whether or not to handle a sweepstakes internally or not, a little easier. And if you have decided to hire an agency, please give Sync Marketing a call! 323.596.7962.


15 apr

Feeling Blue this Tax Season? – Enter these Tax Sweepstakes for a Chance to Win Cold Hard Cash Prizes

By: Sync Marketing | In: Contests, Sweepstakes

Happy Tax Day?  If you need a distraction from the reality of what Uncle Sam might be taking from your wallet this tax season, check out these online tax sweepstakes that offer winners cash money as prizing.

PACIFIC SEAFOOD “BLUE IS THE NEW GREEN” INSTANT WIN GAME

Pacific Seafood’s Blue is the New Green Instant-Win Sweepstakes is awarding daily prizes to winners. Enter and you could win some awesome prizes including Amazon gift cards, and cash prizes worth up to $10,000!

#IAMUNEEK PHOTO CONTEST 2015

Entrants are asked to take interesting and creative shots of UNEEK shoes for a chance to win weekly cash prizes in the Keen Footwear’s #IAMUNEEK Photo Contest. Plus, one lucky grand prize winner will be chosen to receive an additional $5,000!

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES™ $100,000” SWEEPSTAKES

Enter the NASCAR Xfinity Series $100,000 Sweepstakes, you could be one of four people to win a free trip to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Darlington Raceway Race. Plus, one of the final four will receive an extra grand prize of $100,000 in cash!

Alright, we might admit that entering a tax sweepstakes with the hopes of winning cash may not be enough to take the sting out of tax day, but it’s always worth a shot.  If you are a business planning to run a sweepstakes in 2015, check out our blog article with some helpful tips to ease your winners concerns this time next year.

 

 


01 apr

Fooled or Not? Steps to take if you have been told you won a sweepstakes or contest

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Sweepstakes

In honor of April Fool’s Day, I wanted to shed some insight on how to determine if you’re being “fooled” or not when you receive a call informing you that you’re a potential winner of a sweepstakes or contest. Many times when we call consumers to inform them that they have been selected as a potential prize winner, they’re often skeptical at first, which is completely understandable. Even though they took the time to enter, not many people really expect to actually win a prize.  At Sync, we take many steps on our end to make sure potential winners feel comfortable and do everything we can to assure them that the sweepstakes or contest is legit, but here are some things to consider if and when you receive this type of call.

1. Do you remember entering the sweepstakes or contest? If not, make sure that the caller tells you the exact name of the sweepstakes and the company running the promotion.  Once you have this information, look it up for yourself and see if it rings a bell.

2. Who is calling you? Is it the company that ran the sweepstakes or a marketing agency, like Sync Marketing, who was the administrator? If it is in fact an agency, be sure to look them up as well and ask for a link to or a copy of the Official Rules to be sure they are the administrator of the promotion.

3. If they are telling you that the prize you have won is $600 or more, expect to receive a W9 form. This isn’t a scam, but a requirement to report this to the IRS since you will be receiving prize winnings of $600 or more.

4. If you receive a W9 form, expect to also receive an Affidavit of Eligibility and Release Form that details your prize. Make sure that the details of the prize and total ARV match the prize description in the Official Rules.

In the age of identity theft, it is understandable that one should be cautious, but once you’ve taken the steps to look into the legitimacy of the sweepstakes or contest for yourself, you should be confident that you are not being fooled before you provide any information. 


11 mar

Are You Feeling the Luck of the Irish? – St. Patricks Day Sweepstakes

By: Sync Marketing | In: Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

Tis the time of year to once again break out your best Kelly green sweater and join in on the festivities of St. Patrick’s Day.  As the saying goes, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but these Ireland-based retailers are showing their Irish pride across the pond by hosting St. Patrick’s Day sweepstakes that offer American consumers the chance to win a trip for two to the Emerald Isle.  Check out these St. Patricks Day sweepstakes below, but only those 21 and older are eligible to enter to win.

Magners Irish Cider’s St. Patrick’s Day Win a Trip to Ireland Sweepstakes

Grand prize winner will win a five day/four night trip for two to Dublin, Ireland and will receive two tickets to the Forbidden Fruit Music Festival!  Winner will also receive $1,000 in spending money.

Jameson® St. Patrick’s Day Sweepstakes

This Facebook sweepstakes will award six grand prize trips for two to Dublin, Ireland for four days/three nights. Trip includes a tour of the Jameson Distillery. Each trip is valued at $5,500!

The Guiness Hooley Ultimate Irish Adventure Sweepstakes

Guiness Hooley is offering one lucky winner the chance to win a trip for two to Ireland valued at over $14,000.  The winner and their guest will visit different cities throughout Ireland, and will take cooking classes and enjoy planned guided tours on this nine day/eight night adventure.  Plus, 50 first-prize winners will receive an Irish cooking gift pack.

If you’re planning to run a holiday-themed sweepstakes or contest, don’t hesitate to reach out to Sync Marketing. Winning a sweepstakes takes a wee bit of luck, but if you don’t enter, you won’t win, and that’s no Blarney. Sláinte!


24 feb

What is the Difference Between a Sweepstakes and a Contest and Which One Should I Run?

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes, User Generated Content

What is the difference between a sweepstakes and a contest? This is one of the most common questions we’re asked when working with companies or agencies who are planning to run these types of promotions for the first time. Today I am going to break down the differences between sweepstakes and contests as well as discuss which one will work best for your next promotion.

First off, what is a sweepstakes? If you were to look up the actual definition you would find that the word has many different meanings, but the following is Sync Marketing’s definition: A sweepstakes is a game of chance in which consumers are asked to provide basic information about themselves to be entered into a prize drawing. Most importantly, potential winners are selected in a random drawing. After the names are drawn, they are notified and then verified before being announced an official winner. In a sweepstakes, there can be no consideration for entry and winner selection must be completely random.

Now, what is a contest? Sync Marketing’s definition is as follows: A contest is a game of skill, where entrants are asked to complete a measurable task that is judged and scored. For example, this could be anything from a video contest featuring consumers’ pets doing their best trick, an Instagram photo contest asking entrants to submit their favorite wedding planning moment, or a Pinterest contest requiring entrants to create a board of what they think would be their dream vacation.  In a contest, the judging criteria must be clearly defined for the entrants in the Official Rules. About.com also has a nice breakdown of the differences between a sweepstakes and a contests.

So how do you determine when you should run a sweepstakes vs. a contest?

Good question! You should run a sweepstakes when your goal is to reach and engage the masses with the purpose of promoting your product or service, gather email opt-ins, and collect basic consumer data. Of course, the number of entries you receive and the popularity of your promotion will be based on a few factors; how strongly it’s promoted, the ease of entry and the value of your prizes to the consumer. For more information on what types of prizes to give away see my post here. When you run a sweepstakes expect to receive a lot more entries than if you were to run a contest, and if you provide social share it has the possibility to spread like wildfire.

You should run a contest when your goal is to create PR buzz, gather user-generated content, and gain and reward consumers who are truly invested in your brand or service.  If you’re giving away an international trip to a grand opening of a new store, maybe consider running a contest in which entrants are asked to upload a video of why they deserve to be at the grand opening. To further reinforce consumer interaction, have the top 10 judged videos posted online for consumers to vote for their favorite. You can then ask for publicity releases from the top 10 entrants and use those videos on your website and social media accounts to continue to promote your brand. Also, by asking for entrants to take the time to create and submit a video as a condition of entry, you know you’re going to award the prize to someone who truly wants to go on the trip!

Regardless of whether you want to run a sweepstakes or contest, please consider calling Sync Marketing to help you plan and execute your next promotion. You can find a full list of our sweepstakes and contest services here.


13 feb

Love is in the prizes; Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes

By: Sync Marketing | In: Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

It’s the weekend of love. Whether people are out buying a dozen red roses, a box of chocolates or an engagement ring for their sweethearts, everyone seems to get in on the action of this Hallmark-created holiday. And why shouldn’t they? The world celebrates love. This holiday is a marketer’s dream; from the obvious travel sites, jewelry stores and candy shops to the often overlooked but viable options such as home improvement outlets and car dealerships, everyone can put Cupid’s spin on the products they sell and relate them to love. Below are a list of some extra lovey Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes.

Pick The Pick-Up Line Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes

Bahlsen is giving the customers the chance to shine, or should I say, sparkle in their Pick The Pick-Up Line Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes. The winner will receive a pendant adorned with sapphires and diamonds worth nearly $3,700.

Shower Her with Love Sweepstakes

A Macbook Air, a necklace, free flowers, who wouldn’t want that? From You Flowers is giving their consumers the chance to win from an assortment of fun prizes in their Shower Her with Love Sweepstakes.

Check-in to Romance Giveaway Sweepstakes

Want to get away with your Valentine? BedandBreakfast.com is giving their customers the chance to win a romantic vacation for two in the Check-in to Romance Giveaway Sweepstakes. The winner will receive a trip to a bed and breakfast of their choice, a subscription to The Bouqs, and some delicious chocolates to share with their love.

All Hearts on Deck Sweepstakes

All aboard! Onboard is giving away a romantic cruise for two in their All Hearts on Deck Sweepstakes. The grand prize winner will receive a $1500 cruise voucher.

Make sure to enter today because all of these sweepstakes end tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, just in time for you to spend time with the one or ones you love.

 


23 jan

Wedding Sweepstakes Are the Key!

By: Jennifer French | In: Advertising, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

It’s the beginning of wedding planning season due in part to a large number of couples that traditionally get engaged over the holidays, not to mention the Valentine’s Day proposals that will soon be on deck.  With their engagement haze still fresh, married couples-to-be are out in force seeking out a multitude of wedding-related services to help them plan their big day.  Retailers and vendors are showcasing everything from bridal registry services and wedding gowns to reception venues and of course, honeymoon destinations. A savvy marketer knows that one must go above and beyond to stand out in the crowd in the hopes of capturing these very enthusiastic and discerning consumers. Do you think running an online wedding sweepstakes or contest is a viable option for getting their attention?  These following marketers say “we do!”

Start Your Planning Engines:

Wedding Party App is running The Ultimate Wedding Starter Kit Sweepstakes.  Entrants will have the chance to win necessities for their big day including wedding stationary and a wedding gown.  This prize is valued at $2,400!

Location is Everything; Select Your Venue:

Are you dreaming of a wine country wedding? Then enter the Madrona Manor Dream Wedding Sweepstakes for your chance to win a dream wedding package valued at over $10,000, and that’s a lot of cannolis!

Oh, Great Another Blender; Definitely Register For Your Gifts:

Want to avoid receiving five blenders on your big day, than enter West Elm’s + Style Me Pretty’s Dream Registry Sweepstakes.  One lucky couple will walk away with a gift pack that includes a $2,000 West Elm shopping spree.

Ahhhh; The Honeymoon:

A very important part of saying “I Do” happens after the wedding.  The goal of a honeymoon is to relax, connect and soak in the happiness after all of the wedding craziness has come to a close.  DK is offering one happy couple just that in their Style Your Perfect Wedding Honeymoon Sweepstakes; a honeymoon trip of their choice, valued at $4,000.

If you are a brand that is considering running a wedding sweepstakes, then be sure that the prize is truly rewarding for these future brides and grooms to be. Perhaps a once in a lifetime honeymoon or a gift card so they can purchase the remaining items on their registry list. If you provide an unforgettable and/or useful prize, you will be sure to attract the perfect couples who will remain loyal to your brand or service. Contact Sync Marketing today at 323-596-7962 or inquiries@syncmarketing.net if you have any questions or want to run a wedding sweepstakes. 


16 jan

Sync Marketing’s Year in Review – 2014

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Instagram, Marketing, Sweepstakes, Twitter, User Generated Content

2014 was a fantastic year for Sync Marketing that seemed to come and go in a blink of an eye. Not only was it a year of change for Sync Marketing, but a year of growth. Here’s Sync Marketing’s year in review:

A lot of “new” for Sync Marketing

Not only did we design a new logo, we also launched a brand new website which showcases our services, work, and introduces our co-founders, Jennifer French and myself, Julie Link. We were also fortunate to work on some really fun and exciting campaigns for a variety of new clients. Click here to “meet” some of our new clients.

Sync Marketing is now an award-winning agency

We were honored to take home the Silver in the Best Use of Game, Contests and Sweepstakes at the Chief Marketer 2014 PRO Awards. The competition was definitely tough. Jennifer French and myself attended the annual awards last June in New York City, and were able to meet the Senior Editor and Promotions Awards Director of Chief Marketer and other amazing colleagues in the field.

Sync got Social with Claire’s

Social media sweepstakes were huge this year and Sync Marketing ran everything from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest sweepstakes. As CBI’s agency of record, Sync Marketing helped Claire’s stores increase their social media presence in 2014. One of the most notable promotions we ran with them this year was in support of the launch of the Katy Perry’s Prism collection, which you can learn more about here.

We’re excited to see what 2015 has in store and we will continue to share our updates with you throughout the year!


02 jan

Fly-Away Sweepstakes

By: Jennifer French | In: Marketing, Sweepstakes

The holidays have come and gone and for a majority of people, that leaves the sad thought of having to withstand a few more months of cold winter days without a sunshine-filled beach in sight. For this reason, this is a good time of year to run an online sweepstakes that rewards winners with an exciting fly-away sweepstakes prize. Even better, one that sends them to a warm sunny and/or exotic location. Below are a few examples. Don’t pack your bags quite yet, you need to enter for your chance to win first.

Amazon Amazement

This once-in-a-lifetime sweepstakes prize consists of a trip for two to Peru consisting of a 10-day Amazon Adventure valued at $8,768!  Hurry and enter as the sweepstakes ends on January 9, 2015.

Norwegian’s Prize Ride Sweepstakes

Enter this sweepstakes through January 31, 2015 for the chance to win a 7-day Caribbean cruise for two aboard Norwegian Cruise Line.

Welcome to Whistler Contest

If snow sports are your thing, enter this promotion for a chance to win a ski trip for two to Whistler, Canada valued at $7,424!  Ends March 30, 2015.

If you do choose to run an online sweepstakes that awards a trip, it is very important that your official rules and prize details are very clear to consumers. Entrants must be aware of travel restrictions such as blackout dates, visa and passport requirements (if applicable), and tax implications. Consulting with an agency like Sync Marketing, who specializes in legal and prize fulfillment is recommended as we stay up-to-date on all of the changes in promotion law, and guide you through the process which includes adding all of the necessary language to the official rules, abbreviated rules, affidavit of eligibility for the winners and travel companion forms. If you want to run a fly-away sweepstakes, contact Sync Marketing today!