This blog post was updated on May 30th, 2022 for comprehensiveness.
Promotional contests and sweepstakes are particularly effective ways of creating brand awareness and attracting new customers. Unlike static, non-interactive banner advertisements, sweepstakes promotions are a great means to entice and incentivize consumer engagement with the allure of prizes and other benefits. When using sweepstakes as a promotional vehicle, businesses need to ensure that their sweepstakes comply with applicable marketing laws. Sweepstakes operators must abide by marketing laws in general (e.g., federal prohibition on deceptive marketing practices) and with those that specifically apply to games of chance and skill. For example, operators are required to feature proper sweepstakes disclaimers and disclosures in all marketing materials and at point of sale locations.
Are Disclaimers Necessary When Marketing a Sweepstakes Promotion?
When it comes to promoting sweepstakes to the consuming public, the fine print matters. Sweepstakes advertisements must include, in a clear and conspicuous manner, a legally compliant disclaimer and disclosure language that addresses key aspects of the given sweepstakes promotion. Operators are required to feature sweepstakes disclaimers in each advertisement regardless of the media that is used (e.g., online, print, television, radio, or point of sale). Further, any brick-and-mortar location must make paper copies of sweepstakes rules (which contain the required disclosures) available to consumers.
Sweepstakes disclaimer language must contain all legally required information, including, but not limited to:
- the odds of winning;
- the contest end date;
- any states and/or localities where the subject sweepstakes is void and/or prohibited by law;
- the age requirements for entry; and
- language explaining that no purchase is necessary for entry and that purchase will not increase the odds of winning.
Ensuring that Sweepstakes Disclaimers Comply with Legal Requirements
It is crucial that sweepstakes promotions have comprehensive contest rules and that clear and conspicuous disclosures accompany all sweepstakes marketing materials. Remember, consulting with experienced sweepstakes attorneys well in advance of promotional launch can help avoid regulatory scrutiny and prevent reputational harm.
The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.
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