Blog Posts: You Might Be a Winner

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Promotion laws often differ among the fifty states (and the federal government) and often can't keep up with the ever-changing landscape created by innovative marketers. Through this blog, we will provide insights into the latest developments in promotion marketing law and elicit discussion over questionable, interesting or innovative promotions.

Cameo and Commercial Co-Ventures

(Educating "Celebrities” on Their Fundraising Efforts)
Everyone not under a rock recently learned that you can soon purchase – for a mere $375 – a personalized video greeting from America’s former mayor turned outcast Rudy Giuliani (perhaps even with copious hair dye streaming down his face if he gets riled enough). For those of us...
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A Big Merci Beaucoup to Les Habitants

"Void in Quebec" Est Fini
Oh, Canada, you give us ice hockey, maple syrup, Tom Hortons, and one stubborn province that had a noted aversion to “publicity contests.” But no more. Quebec has amended its laws concerning mandatory registration and fees for “publicity contests” (or what we in the lower 48 call “sweepstakes with...
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Scoring A Touchdown With NIL Rights

“NIL” is short for “Name, Image, Likeness,” but for college athletes it may now mean “no income limits.” All three branches of government have essentially agreed that a college athlete could be paid for his/her NIL activities. However, what this means exactly is still far from clear. First, I...
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The Raffle: A Calvin to the Sweepstakes Hobbes

Every six-year-old boy, at some time in his short life, comes up with the idea of running a raffle as an ingenious way of earning some easy money. It is then left to his sardonic stuffed animal friend to counsel him on the things he can do. You can’t...
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Ad Says: “Terms and Conditions” Apply, Second Circuit Says: No They Don't

On June 8, 2021, the Second Circuit handed down its opinion in the case Soliman v. Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, Ltd. , No. 20-946, holding that the vague, small type in Subway’s in-store ad referring to its “Terms and conditions” alongside the website address for these Terms was...
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Animal Killing Contests: Is That Legal?

I literally had no idea. None. Until I recently saw that a bill in Oregon failed to pass (for the third time!) which would have prohibited the killing of coyotes in contests for cash or prizes. With the prize going to the hunter (used loosely) who can kill the...
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Cashing in on Vaccinations: How Can They Do That?

I love it when there are new and innovative approaches to sweepstakes. That’s been the genesis and driving force behind sweepstakes promotions since they began. The term “sweepstakes” itself originated in the late 14 th century to describe someone who “sweeps” (or takes) the entire stakes in a game...
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Sweepstakes for Charity: Try Your Luck at Avoiding Regulators

Sometimes doing good isn’t easy. Say you’re a company that wants to run a sweepstakes by asking entrants for donations to charity. Sounds simple. Everyone will think you’re an A-1, socially conscious brand that isn’t even looking to make a profit. Everyone that is, except possibly state regulators. Let’s...
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This Week's Show: Cause Marketing and Employee Engagement

On Saturday, August 8, attorney Tawny Alvarez interviewed Rob Laplaca, Partner in Verrill's Litigation & Trial group and Chair of the Promotions group, for a segment of HR Power Hour's radio show. For this episode, Rob and Tawny discuss cause marketing and employee engagement. Rob practices in two primary...
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Tips for Running Popular Sweepstakes during a National Emergency

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” Muhammad Ali We are seeing a nation pitching in to flatten the curve and countless unsung heroes on the front lines trying to help those infected by the coronavirus. Businesses too want to do their...
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Commercial Co-Ventures: What You Need to Know During a Pandemic

This piece will review important issues when running a commercial co-venture (CCV) during a time of a global pandemic. Filing Requirements: The six registration states (AL, HI, IL, MA, MS, and SC) have not amended their filing rules or deadlines in response to the global pandemic. In addition, these...
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Help! My Sweepstakes is Caught in a Pandemic

Forfeit prizes, cancellation, deadlines, termination, Stores closed, goods sold, how do we get through? Test kits, verification, new prizes, isolation, Entry dates, end dates, what can we do? TV ads, full disclosure, vaccines, when’s it over? Face masks, pick a winner, no more going out to dinner Social distance...
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Happy New Year! Now You Have to Worry About Abbreviating "2020"

I came across an interesting article in USA Today about how it’s really easy for miscreants to change the dates on documents abbreviating the New Year as “20.” For instance, say your “free” offer “Ends 1/2/20.” Some hacker may be able to change the date to: “Ends 1/2/2021” or...
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The Year in Lawsuits

2018 review- file cabinet label
2018 brought us the type of lawsuits you would expect in the world of sweepstakes, contests and giveaways. From "The Annoyance Lawyer" to Bobbleheads to "You're Probably Never Going to Be A Winner." The most depressing thing is the lawsuits themselves, often filled with either corrupt sponsors or litigious...
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New York AG Gives No Stars to Fake Online Reviews

On November 2, 2018, the New York Attorney General came crashing down on a number of moving services that paid for at least 60 fake positive online reviews posted under the heading "CHECK OUT OUR REVIEWS POSTED BY CUSTOMERS JUST LIKE YOU." As a result, the only checking being...
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What’s the Straight Dope on Marijuana Promotions?

Prop 215 was enacted in California twenty-two years today on November 5, 1996. This law was the first of its kind in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana use. Since then 30 states have approved medical marijuana use and 9 have legalized recreational marijuana. Maybe a long timing coming...
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Dilly! Dilly! Is Giving Away Free Beer so Silly?

Cleveland Browns Stadium
Every beer drinking football fan in Cleveland knows by now that there will be magic beer fridges stationed throughout Cleveland that will miraculously open to produce bottles of free Bud Light if the football gods see fit to allow the Browns to win a football game this year. At...
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Recent Settlement Highlights Charity's Duties in Commercial Co-Ventures

Recently, an Agreed Final Judgment was entered in Tennessee state court following an action by the Tennessee Attorney General (in conjunction with the AGs of 16 other states) against a TN charity concerning issues raised over a commercial co-venture program involving donations for teddy bears purchased to provide care...
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Pandamonium Over a Promotion: What to do When Your Promotion is Too Popular

Over the years there have been a number of promotions that just exploded beyond a brand's expectations. In 2009, Oprah decided to treat the whole Internet to two pieces of KFC's new Kentucky Grilled Chicken by promoting a coupon redeemable at participating restaurants. Lines snaked out the doors and...
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IGTV – Instagram's New YouTube

dog on skateboard
Online videos are powerful marketing tools. We've all been there when you watch one video on your phone and suddenly realize you've wasted hours watching clips of a dog skateboarding, a step-by-step tutorial on making a unicorn cake, and your favorite celebrity's appearance on a talk show. While video...
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Don't Tax My Bobblehead! Sales Tax on Promotional Items

Bobblehead: "A figurine with a disproportionately large head mounted on a spring so that it bobs up and down, often made as a caricature of a famous person." Giveaway: "A thing that is given free, especially for promotional purposes." Sales tax: "The portion of the purchase price typically forgotten...
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Things That Make You Go Hmmmm

Commercial Co-Ventures and Sweepstakes Promotions Remember that song in the '90s from the C+C Music Factory called "Things That Make You Go Hmmm…." I guess I did when I came across some recent promotions. Perhaps these practice tips will stay with you longer than C+C's 15 minutes of fame...
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Take That Down: Recent Lawsuit on Negative Reviews

"Beer: The cause and solution to all of life's problems." Mr. Homer J. Simpson would love the recent case of a Massachusetts craft beer company that has been trying in federal court to get the employment website Glassdoor to turn the taps off and take down negative reviews about...
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Daily Fantasy Sports is a Skill Game, We Have a Study to Prove It

As the esteemed Secretary of Defense under two presidents has said: Reports that say something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we...
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Daily Fantasy Sports, A Supreme Decision

Sports betting
On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional – meaning it's up to the states to decide whether to allow its residents to bet on sports. This may portend big changes to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). In...
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Firm Highlights

Blog

Sweepstakes for Charity: Try Your Luck at Avoiding Regulators

Blog

Cashing in on Vaccinations: How Can They Do That?

Blog

Cameo and Commercial Co-Ventures

Everyone not under a rock recently learned that you can soon purchase – for a mere $375 – a personalized video greeting from America’s former mayor turned outcast Rudy Giuliani (perhaps even with copious...

Blog

A Big Merci Beaucoup to Les Habitants

Oh, Canada, you give us ice hockey, maple syrup, Tom Hortons, and one stubborn province that had a noted aversion to “publicity contests.” But no more. Quebec has amended its laws concerning mandatory registration...

Blog

Scoring A Touchdown With NIL Rights

“NIL” is short for “Name, Image, Likeness,” but for college athletes it may now mean “no income limits.” All three branches of government have essentially agreed that a college athlete could be paid for...

Blog

Animal Killing Contests: Is That Legal?

Blog

The Raffle: A Calvin to the Sweepstakes Hobbes

Every six-year-old boy, at some time in his short life, comes up with the idea of running a raffle as an ingenious way of earning some easy money. It is then left to his...

Blog

9:00PM “Curfew” Announced for Some Maine Businesses During Thanksgiving Week

Blog

"Let's Be Careful Out There:" When Looking At Sweepstakes To Boost Sales, Don't Make These Common Mistakes

With the current debt crisis looming and people tightening their belts, perhaps we’ll see more brands doubling down on sweepstakes promotions to increase sales. Before your company jumps into the fray, let’s consider some...

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Ad Says: “Terms and Conditions” Apply, Second Circuit Says: No They Don't

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