PRWeek just released a 9-page ebook, “Eye on the Prize: How Brands are Winning with Social Media Contests and Sweepstakes” by Tanya Lewis. The ebook includes a legal tips sidebar with quotes from my work on my forthcoming book on contests and sweepstakes law.
The ebook covers several topics of interest to companies considering promotional contests such as the importance of selecting the right prize, popularity of available social media outlets, and methods for deepening engagement and measuring success. Some of the ebook discussion points that really captured my attention include the following:
Fantasy Prizes. I often recommend that sponsors consider non-monetary fantasy prizes. Fantasy prizes can achieve three valuable objectives:
provide a prize that contest winners value highly,
avoid the negative tax consequences (for the winner) that can come from winning an expensive prize such as a car, and
lower - or even eliminate - the cost to the sponsor for acquiring the prize to be offered.
The PRWeek ebook interviewees had some excellent fantasy prize examples. My favorite was the opportunity to deliver on-stage an Oscar statue during the 2013 Oscars award program. That was the fantasy prize for a video-submission contest targeting aspiring filmmakers and sponsored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Publicity Releases. While talking about a photo submission promotion, a marketing director commented that the sponsor does not make any external use of entrant’s photos without the entrant’s permission. Getting appropriate releases and permissions is crucial! Otherwise, a winner might have a privacy or right of publicity claim against the sponsor. I talked about such a scenario in a recent blog post, “A Cautionary Tale: Contest Sponsor Loses Avoidable Lawsuit”.