Prize Fail: Avoid These Prizes
“A prize by any other name is still a prize” and one would hope that it will bring joy to the lucky winner. But this is not always true as some enter just for entering then realizes that their prize is not appropriate for them or their lifestyle. For example: the lady who lived in a small apartment on the 10th floor that won a Jacuzzi, or the dog owner who won a year’s supply of cat litter. And how Grand is that trip around the world, when the taxes on that prize is way beyond the winner’s budget or income? To prove that there is a light at the end of the tunnel (pun intended); we have the example of CBS Cares who wanted to promote awareness of early colon cancer detection by running a Sweepstakes to give away a free colonoscopy. An uncomfortable medical procedure as a prize also sounds uncomfortable and awkward but in reality it did help promote colon cancer prevention awareness and the number of entries received exceeded client expectations by over 600%. So keep on offering great prizes that speak to your brand, and you know what? Many will enter and many will win!
One thing that you should consider when giving away a prize in a promotion is: How many prizes are going to be awarded? Believe it or not – more is not always better! We have had various types of prizes that often take months to award! When you have a large amount of prizes you will more than likely have to go through numerous rounds of alternates to award all the prizes offered. This will lead to the potential winners questioning why they are receiving a notification so long after the promotion ended and they will decline the prize. As a result keep the amount of prizes at a realistic size!
Jennifer D., Account Executive
Quite some time ago, a liquor sponsored sweepstakes offered a Celebration Party Prize valued up to $10,000. Menu/food/beverages, decorations, time/date of party, entertainment, number of guests to invite etc., were at the sole discretion of the Winner. Sponsor provided the winner with a party planner to assist in planning the party. The party had to take place within six months of prize issuance date, and the winner would be reimbursed and required to furnish proof of purchase for all purchases of food, decorations, beverages (except alcohol) and entertainment, etc. Well, after numerous attempts to award this prize, one of the potential alternates requested a cash alternative and the Sponsor agreed. We believe the factors that may have contributed to the disinterest in accepting the prize as is and confirming a winner were: the tax liability on a prize of this nature and value; and the additional expense for the winner if they wanted to serve alcohol at their party as offering alcohol as a prize is legally prohibited.
Cheryl, Account Director
Another example of why clarity in advertising your promotion is paramount can be found in the promotion that awarded tickets to a large one day event geared to young adults in a few major markets. The event was highly touted and people were excited to get the tickets, but the award did not include travel expenses; and, the tickets didn’t even guarantee admission! The Official Rules and entry materials should clearly specify what the prize is, how many will be awarded, what it includes and what it does not include. If travel expenses are not included it should be clearly stated to avoid confusion and post consideration issues. And, the Official Rules should also include a clause to fairly resolve the issue of awarding more tickets than what was guaranteed admission. On the bright side, I read that quite a few ticket holders got together to road trip across the country and camp out for the event and they had a wonderful experience once they got there!
Jennifer H., Account Director
Promotions that offer trips as a prize can be difficult to award, especially if the trip must be taken on a specific date corresponding to a specific planned event. The Sponsor should allow enough time between the drawing date and the prize event date so that we can clear the winner and book their travel. Some people enter a sweepstakes without reading specific details mentioned in the Official Rules and are not always available to take the trip on the dates stated. Therefore it is highly recommended that the advertising and rules clearly state what the prize restrictions and requirements are so entrants are aware before entering. We want this to be their best trip ever!
Mariah, Promotion Coordinator
Contact Marden-Kane to come up with the perfect prize idea for your brand.
- 10 Necessary Features of an Online Contest Judging Tool
- Running a Swiss Contest: Swiss-US Privacy Shield Required
- Regulated Industries and Sweepstakes
- Social Contests and Sweepstakes: Favorite (and Least Favorite) Platforms to Use
- Running a Puerto Rico Sweepstakes