Working with Third Party Brands for a Contest
You should approach working with third party brands in a contest or sweepstakes with caution. Giving away highly sought after prizes like trips, electronics or gift cards, or running promotions on social platforms, may seem like a great idea to garner interest and new followers for your brand. However, if you are naming a specific brand name other than your own as part of your contest, you may need to ensure you are using best practices for using that third party brand.
- Ask for permission
It is a good idea to obtain permission prior to offering third party products as prizes or running your promotion on a third party platform, such as Facebook. In fact, some brands like Apple and Tumblr require it if you meet certain criteria. Other brands, like Facebook and Instagram, ask that you follow specific guidelines, and others like the Olympics and the Super Bowl forbid you to use their name or give away any prizes associated with them unless you have permission as a Sponsor. It is always best practice to research a brand and ask permission accordingly before you make it part of your contest.
- Give credit
Make sure you use appropriate trademarks and give credit to any images or brand names in your creative and Official Rules. You can usually obtain the appropriate verbiage and logo usage guidelines when you get permission. Typically, this language will go in small print with the disclaimer copy of your web pages and print materials.
- Absolve the third party of any responsibility
Although it goes without saying that this is your promotion and you are ultimately responsible for it, it’s best practice to always include language in your rules and disclaimers that makes it clear that the third party brand is in no way responsible for your promotion or the awarding of prizes. Some brands even have language that they require you to use when you use their brands or services.
- Get final approval
The final step in working with a third party brand is to obtain final sign-off and approval on your rules and creative elements. This step is crucial to ensuring you have written proof that you did the due diligence and that the third party is in agreement to your brand using their name, products or services in your promotion.
So what can happen if you don’t take these precautions? If you are using a social platform like Facebook and don’t follow their guidelines, you could have your brand page shut down. If you are giving away a brand’s products, they could prevent you from ordering the products you were planning on giving away or even file a lawsuit.
Remember, it is your responsibility as a brand to obtain the required permissions and approvals of third party brands if they are mentioned as part of your contest or sweepstakes. If you need help contacting a brand for permission or are unsure how to proceed, contact Marden-Kane. We can help!
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