Sweepstakes Disclaimers: A Must When Promoting Your Sweepstakes/Contest/Promotion

Promotional contests and sweepstakes are a particularly effective way of creating brand awareness and attracting new customers and end-users. Unlike static, non-interactive banner advertisements, sweepstakes are better able to attract eyeballs and incentivize consumer activity through the allure of prizes and other benefits for the potential winners.

Despite their utility as a marketing vehicle, businesses must ensure that their sweepstakes and promotions comply with a series of specific laws, rules and regulations – including those that apply to the methods and practices associated with the marketing of a given sweepstakes. In addition to the overarching obligation to refrain from any deceptive marketing practices (see, also, here) associated with marketing a sweepstakes or promotion, sweepstakes operators must also take care to include the proper disclaimers and disclosures in connection with all applicable marketing material and point of sale locations.

Are Disclaimers Necessary When Marketing a Sweepstakes?

Sweepstakes Disclaimers and Disclosures

When it comes to promoting a sweepstakes to the consuming public, the fine print matters. Each advertisement, including those featured online, in print, on radio and on television, as well as all point of sale locations associated with the applicable sweepstakes must include, in a prominent fashion, legally compliant disclaimer and disclosure language that addresses key aspects of that sweepstakes promotion. Further, any brick-and-mortar location sponsor must make copies of its applicable sweepstakes rules, which contain the required disclosures, available to consumers.

The disclaimer/disclosure associated with sweepstakes advertisements must contain all legally required information which includes, as a partial and incomplete list: (a) the odds of a winning a prize in the subject sweepstakes; (b) the end date of the applicable sweepstakes; (c) any states and/or localities where the subject sweepstakes is void and/or where entry is prohibited; (d) the age requirements for entry into the subject sweepstakes; and (e) language explaining that no purchase is necessary for entry into the subject sweepstakes, and that any such purchase will not increase the consumer’s odds of winning a prize.

Ensuring that Your Sweepstakes Disclaimers Comply with All Legal Requirements

Given the increased scrutiny from regulatory agencies for sweepstakes, promotions and contests, it is vital that sweepstakes sponsors take the time to include accurate, complete and clearly written disclaimers/disclosures in all marketing material and point of sale locations.