Contests & Promotions

News & Analysis as of

FCC’s Change to its Contest Rules Not Effective for Four to Six Months

As a follow-up to our posting on September 17, 2015, and in response to questions we have received from several of our readers, I wanted to clarify that the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC”)_ revision to its contest...more

New FTC Guidelines for Promoting Products on Social Media

Social media can be used in a multitude of ways for savvy brands to promote their products. They can loan out a new phone, provide free access to an app, provide free products, etc., in exchange for publicity on social media....more

FCC Brings “Contest Rule” into 21st Century with Update

The FCC “Contest Rule,” requires broadcast licensees to disclose on air the material terms of contests that they broadcast. In September, 2015, the FCC updated that rule to permit broadcast licensees to comply with their...more

FCC Updates Contest Rule to Provide Flexibility to Meet Disclosure Requirements

Radio and television stations, as well as their audiences, have reason to celebrate. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced significant updates to its regulations regarding the disclosure of material...more

Wait, What Did They Just Say? FCC Provides More Flexibility to Broadcasters for Disclosure Requirements in its Contest Rule

On September 17, 2015, the FCC released a Report and Order with a long-awaited update to the Contest Rule that gives broadcasters substantially more flexibility as to the medium they choose to announce rules for contests (a...more

FCC Adopts On-Line Contest Rules

The FCC has updated its contest rules to enable broadcasters to post material terms on-line rather than requiring disclosure through over-the-air announcements. Licensees still retain the option to disclose material...more

FCC modernizes broadcast contest rules to support online disclosure

As we anticipated in our most recent posting, the Federal Communication Commission this morning made a substantial change to its Contest Rules. In a press release today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)...more

FCC may be close to allowing broadcasters to disclose contest terms online

The Federal meeting on September 17, 2015, lists as one of the two subjects to be discussed: “Modernizing contest rules. The Commission will consider a report and order to provide broadcasters greater flexibilities in their...more

FTC Wins Lawsuit Over Its Robocall Contest

In 2012, the FTC sponsored a contest in which it invited contestants to submit their best solutions to block robocalls. After reviewing almost 800 entries, the FTC announced two winners. As we posted previously, though, one...more

Provisions in Contest Rules are Held Enforceable

In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sponsored the “Robocall Challenge,” a contest whereby the agency invited contestants to develop a solution to the consumer problem of automated “robocalls.” One contestant, David...more

Six Tips for Generating Buzz Without Getting Stung

A good marketing department knows how to generate product “buzz” by leveraging external influencers and promotions. The challenge for the company is to avoid being stung by the FTC’s recently published Endorsement Guides (the...more

Predetermined Outcome or Not, Sweepstakes and Slot Machines are Illegal Under California Law

The California Supreme Court recently held that sweepstakes or slot machine “like” games used to promote internet cafes and phone card stores were illegal under the California Penal Code, even if the results are...more

FTC Clarifies Native and Online Ad Obligations

The FTC, in recent staff statements, has sought to clarify advertisers’ and publishers’ obligations regarding native advertising and social media promotions, particularly regarding when and how to clarify to readers that a...more

Smart ad disclosures in the social media age

Recent actions by the Federal Trade Commission highlight the need for companies to review the sufficiency of their advertising disclosures. Companies should take particular care when launching an ad campaign using social...more

New Insights from FTC on Its Endorsement Guides to Reflect Continued Focus on Disclosures

After the FTC revised its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials (the “Guides”) in 2009, it followed up with a set of frequently asked questions entitled “What People Are Asking” (the “FAQs”) to address...more

B.C. Court of Appeal Affirms Refusal to Certify Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act Claims

On June 3, 2015, in Marshall v. United Furniture Warehouse Limited Partnership (Marshall), the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed the plaintiffs’ appeal from the application judge’s denial of certification of a proposed class...more

Q: What’s Different About the FTC’s New Endorsement Q&As? A: Lots.

The FTC recently released a new version of its Q&As on the Endorsement Guides. The old Q&As, released in 2010, were about seven pages long. The new ones just about double that. The revisions and additions reflect many of the...more

Ironman Promotion Gets ‘Bonked’

For non-triathletes the word ‘bonk’ is when an athlete runs out of energy. In May 2015, the World Triathlon Corporation (Ironman) agreed to forfeit $2,761,910 in lottery proceeds to the United States Attorney’s Office....more

Updated FTC Guidance on Endorsements and Testimonials in Social Media Advertising – Does Your Advertising Pass Muster?

In recent years, companies have increasingly relied on social media platforms to promote their products, often featuring testimonials and endorsements from consumers and public figures as well as other user-generated content....more

Keep Your Eye On The Prize – CAP Issues New Rules For Promotions

As with all forms of marketing communications, under the CAP Code, sales and prize promotions must not mislead, harm or offend their audience. In addition, the promoter must ensure that those who take part are dealt with...more

Five tips for ‘Mega Sponsors’ of sweepstakes and contests

Over the past 18 years, I have been very fortunate to represent several of what I call “Mega Sponsors” of sweepstakes and contests. My definition of a Mega Sponsor is a company that sponsors more than 50 sweepstakes or...more

March Madness: Trade Secrets Claims Block Billion Dollar Bracket

For those of us who revel in this time of year as amateur “bracketologists,” last year’s promise of the billion dollar bracket brought an added lottery-like level of fun to the NCAA basketball tournament. Even though the...more

Online Contests: Make Them Effective by Simplifying the Mechanics

Any good marketing department can tell you that easy-tounderstand contest mechanics are the working engine of an effective online contest. Recently, we have noticed a concerning trend online: Businesses often try to do too...more

No Purchase Necessary: Six Tips for Making Sure Your Online Prize Promotion is not an Illegal Lottery

The Federal Trade Commission’s recent $9.5 million judgment against sweepstakes operator Crystal Ewing is a stark reminder that prize promotions remain fertile ground for regulatory scrutiny both on the state and federal...more

“Surviving” the Madness: Are Paid-Entry Survivor Contests Legal?

The field is set, the brackets are in, and the players are ready. Welcome to March Madness, also known as America’s Least Productive Month. And much to the NCAA’s chagrin, it’s also peak gambling season—the American Gaming...more

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