Sweepstakes Marketing: What You Need to Know

By Gina Beckman, 10 til 2 Marketing Director

It starts out innocently enough. Your marketing department wants to drive sales and garner some excitement for your company. Perhaps you have a vendor willing to donate a couple of tickets to Hawaii or maybe a few iPods. You know that a sweepstakes marketing campaign will get people’s attention, but you might find it is the Attorney General, rather than new customers, knocking on your door.

Legitimate marketers have used sweepstakes to drive sales for years. While most of these businesses have run fair contests, many ran afoot of the law and found themselves subjected to heavy penalties due to laws of which they were unaware.

In 2000, the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act took effect, which modified and clarified existing laws pertaining to sweepstakes and skill contests. Your company may have every intention of producing an honest and fair promotion, but a thorough understanding of the laws can save those with even the best intentions from some severe civil penalties.

Most states have unique laws pertaining to sweepstakes and similar contests, so it is always best to consult your company’s attorney before embarking on a campaign with so many legalities.

For more information on the laws and penalties related to sweepstakes, click here to read “Sweepstakes Dos and Don’ts for Marketers” from the Direct Marketing Association.

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