In today’s competitive market, more businesses are using sweepstakes and contests to promote their brands. But we see many hosting them without giving much thought to the legal documents needed. Before starting your own text-to-win or mobile sweepstakes promotion, make sure your legal docs are in order.
Here is a list of the legal documents you’ll need to run a mobile sweepstakes or contest.
We see too many companies using a short one-line sentence to cover rules, but this is not enough to cover you if there’s a problem. No matter how small your company is, you should have official rules. This protects the entrants as well as your business. States outline what these rules should contain, including who is eligible, how to enter, start and end dates, a description of the prize value, and more.
Abbreviated Rules Disclosures
In addition to the official rules, you should also use an abbreviated set of rules when you promote the mobile sweepstakes. In fact, all ad or marketing materials used as part of the campaign, including registration pages, web pages, direct mail pieces, and ads, must have the abbreviated rules disclosures, as required by the state(s) in which the promotion will be available. This includes stating “No purchase necessary,” for sweepstakes and other disclosures. See a law firm’s summary of abbreviated rules here.
Release and Affidavits for Prize Winners
Are you planning to announce the winner publicly and include their photo or information? Consider having a publicity release form for prize winners. An eligibility affidavit will also protect you as it asks the winner to affirm they are eligible to win the prize and meet all entry requirements.
Be sure you have contracts in place with any sponsor, advertiser or third-party vendor that will be a part of the contest or sweepstakes, whether it’s as a sponsor or a provider of contest prizes.
Special Legal Considerations
These are just the basic requirements for running a mobile contest or sweepstakes. There may also be other legal considerations when…
- Your contest or sweepstakes is open to entrants outside of the U.S.
- The ARV (Approximate Retail Value) of your prize is more than $5,000.
- You plan to use direct mail or a third-party website for promotional purposes.
- Your contest or sweepstakes will involve user-generated content or public voting.
- Your business is in a highly-regulated industry (alcohol, for example).
- Your contest or sweepstakes will involve children or minors.
Ask a Lawyer
Our platform offers suggested official rules to get you started, but you should still speak with a lawyer about the potential liability, privacy, regulatory and intellectual property concerns of your campaign. While it may increase the costs of developing your promotion, following these steps under the guidance of a legal advisor can improve the odds of success for your business’s mobile campaign.
Have any questions about the legal aspects of a text-to-win sweepstakes? Contact us for more information.