By January 19, 2012on
Last week on Twitter we stumbled upon the perfect example of how to attract criticism, lose followers, and ruin your business reputation all because of a poorly executed prize draw.
An online travel agency launched a follow and retweet draw offering a decent prize. Said company’s announcement of the winner was followed by outcry – other entrants could see that the winner had only ever tweeted a handful of times and had never once retweeted the actual prize draw message – it wasn’t difficult to discover, they merely had to check the winner’s timeline. If this wasn’t bad enough, the winner was located very close to the agency’s HQ. A deluge of complaints were tweeted and the agency blocked anyone on twitter who enquired about the outcome, whilst also deleting posts on its Facebook page. Allegedly they have also subsequently deleted previous tweets with any mentions of an external agency conducting the draw. Within hours, followers had decided this company were totally untrustworthy and the message was spread quickly amongst their followers, too.
What a mess.
We asked the twitterverse to feedback details of other suspect prize draws and the response was staggering. For every prize draw that is conducted to code and within industry guidelines, clearly there are at least another five which are not. We heard more stories of companies awarding prizes to fictional users, to users who hadn’t followed the instructions and other unacceptable behaviour.
We’re not the Twitter Prize Police but we are an agency that advocates good promotional behaviour. Compliance is essential. Run your prize promotion properly and everyone is happy. Run it badly and you will be found out. Your followers will tell their followers and rather than building a solid foundation for your business, you are essentially destroying your reputation. Prize draws that are conducted badly always attract more publicity than those which are carried out well.
It doesn’t matter who you are, what prize you are giving away or the size of your company, terms and conditions are not only essential they are a CAP code requirement. They protect both the promoter and the consumer and leave no room for ambiguity. Recently we conducted a twitter draw for a prize which had to be sent in costly refrigerated units – one of the winners was in the USA. Because our terms were robust and because they excluded non-UK residents we were able to politely explain to the winner why a redraw had to take place. The winner understood and there were no hard feelings.
Decide on the route of entry and communicate this well. Do people simply have to follow, follow and retweet once or retweet a number of times? Make it clear and ensure only qualifying entrants are put into the draw.
The draw itself must be conducted by an independent person. That is someone who doesn’t work in your office or for your company, and isn’t a relative or fictional character.
Be aware that the Advertising Standard Authority’s digital remit includes Twitter. If a consumer makes a complaint and this is upheld, you might find yourself at the receiving end of a fine, having to fork out for extra prizes, redirection of any Google search for your company to the ASA complaint rather than your homepage or even a trade embargo.
If there’s any doubt of the point we are trying to make, we’ll spell it out again. Run your prize promotion properly. No one is above industry regulations and twitter users are not fools.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
If you’d like some help compiling robust terms and conditions, or need an independent person to conduct a prize draw please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules, prize draw terms and conditions, prize promotion, Twitter
By January 9, 2012on
You’d have to live on the moon to not know the Olympics are coming to London this year. Businesses across the country are busy creating ideas to link in with the biggest sporting event on the planet. However, if you’re planning to hook marketing plans or promotional events around the Olympic games, we implore you to read on.
Before we get stuck in we need to make it very clear that we are not official sponsors of this year’s games and neither are we trying to suggest or imply that we are. However, as an agency that specialises in compliance we are compelled to discuss the matter.
An incredible two billion pounds of private funding has been given to the Olympics and therefore the exclusive rights of these sponsors, as well as the long term reputation of the games, are legally protected. If you are not an official sponsor you cannot claim or imply that you are linked to the games in any way.
Well that’s nothing to do with me you might think, I’m simply planning to offer a prize to London in July as a nice topical tie in with the games. This is exactly the sort of marketing which is absolutely not permitted. By all means offer a prize to London in July to see The London Eye, but touch on the O word and expect a call from The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games.
LOCOG will not tolerate any representation of any kind in a manner likely to suggest to the public that there is an association between the London Olympics and a goods or service. While LOCOG has promised a balanced approach to infringement – with polite phone calls in the first instance – the courts have already been allocated significant power in this matter and LOCOG can seek damages, impose massive fines, request account of profits and impose injunctions against anything which is seen to infringe protected rights.
What does create an association mean? Use of iconic games images, medals, podiums even colours or values associated with the games is enough to conflict with the protected rights. For example it is unlawful to use the Olympic symbol, the London 2012 logo in the course of trade without LOCOG’s written consent. Words and listed expressions too such as ‘Olympic’, ‘Olympian’, ‘London 2012’ and ‘summer 2012’ are all included in protected rights and cannot feature in any promotions or marketing (and don’t forget this includes ads and advertorials, paid for bloggers or tweeters). The context of these things is also important such as the nature of the product, timing and previous conduct.
There are only three defences for breach of the above and they are publishing and broadcasting factual information for the news (and note, not for ads or advertorials); historical use (for example if you’re already called Olympic Holidays, that’s okay) and factual statements providing no association is implied.
This post only really touches on the issue of legally protected rights, we have not covered off trademarks, copyright for example or even ambush marketing. You can find out more about it on the offical website: www.london2012.com/brandprotection
Never before has compliance advice at the planning stage been so crucial. Get in touch if you’d like our help – we can check your promotional ideas before you allocate budget or go live.
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By January 3, 2012on
With the arrival of the New Year you’re probably adding the final touches to your 2012 marketing plan or preparing promotional concepts for clients. Perhaps you’re planning a prize promotion as the opportunity to hook onto something of great national focus is tremendous this year – there’s the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Euro 2012 for a start.
Prize promotions are brilliant marketing tools and can achieve many things but before you make it so, are you absolutely sure that you’ve thought it all through properly? Tempting as it is to cut corners or replicate something you’ve seen elsewhere, it’s essential to get it right. Prize draws and competitions which are executed badly generate more publicity than those which are managed successfully. And websites dedicated to people who enter prize promotions (of which there are many) will pick up on anything untoward and won’t hesitate to criticise. Far from creating a positive feel-good connection with customers, ill-thought out promotions damage reputations and in some cases mean hefty fines or business penalties levied by industry regulators such as The Advertising Standards Authority.
We’ve been drafted in on many occasions to pick up the pieces of a poorly considered concept so would like to share some top tips to help you get it right from the outset.
1. First and foremost is your prize promotion compliant? Is it even legal? Prize promotions are regulated by The Gambling Act 2005 and it’s essential that you’re not in breach of this. Be certain that you understand the difference between a prize draw and a competition and if your prize promotion requires payment for entry in some way – be it purchasing a product or entering via SMS.
2. All prize promotions must have full terms and conditions. Yes, even if it’s only going on Twitter. And no, don’t make them up or copy something ‘because it looks really legal’ from someone else’s website. They may not know what they’re doing either. Terms and conditions are vital – they protect both the promoter and the customer
3. Include a closing date. Once a promotion is live, this date cannot be changed – even if you don’t receive as many entries as you would like.
4. Make it clear how customers enter the competition or prize draw. It might sound obvious, but don’t forget to include entry details in the copy. The clearer your entry details, the better the response.
5. If you’ve chosen to run a competition, it’s a CAP code requirement that an independent judge assists with the selection process. Your panel needs to include somebody with relevant experience for whom the outcome has no benefit. We know what you’re going to ask – no, neither your mum nor the work experience person is acceptable.
Before you action anything, approve budget or sign off creative be certain your prize promotion does not conflict with industry regulations or even fall foul of the law. Get in touch if you’d like advice on your concept or full terms and conditions for your prize promotion.
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