Not Sorry? Reese's May Be In Trouble For On-Pack Sweepstakes Disclosures
Being born and raised in Pennsylvania, let me start by saying that I love Reese Cups – a perfect mix of chocolate and peanut butter that just makes you so happy. And of course, Reese’s should not be sorry that they make you want to have a Reese Cup. But perhaps they may be sorry that Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate and former assistant attorney general from Massachusetts questioned Reese’s recent sweepstakes which was advertised on packaging with the message: “You Could Win $25,000. See details inside.”
(AP Photo/Dee-Ann Durbin)
The potential problem is that the packaging could lead consumers to believe that a purchase is required to obtain a game code to enter for a chance to win – which, as we all know, is something to be sorry for because you need a free method of entry to avoid being an illegal lottery.
The Official Rules for the sweepstakes (https://www.hersheyland.com/content/hersheyland/en-us/microsites/reeses-university/promotions.html) provide that no purchase is necessary to enter and disclose an Alternate Method of Entry by mail-in to obtain a game code.
Advertisements and packaging related to sweepstakes and games of chance generally have to disclose NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Many states have laws pertaining to what material disclosures need to be made and deceptive advertising/unfair trade practice laws dictate that sweepstakes ad cannot be deceiving.
Typically, ads and packing include a NPN message, eligibility (age and states), start/end dates, how to obtain the full rules and the sponsor’s name and address, and often also include the (major) prizes and odds of winning. And they usually state “Void where prohibited,” which I admit to doing even though this phrase seems like you’re stating the obvious.
The states of Minnesota and Wisconsin have specific statutes that require certain disclosures on packaging for any in-pack or on-pack promotion, including that the “label of the promotional package and any related advertising clearly states any method of participation and the scheduled termination date of the promotion.” These statutes also require a sponsor to provide the retailer with a supply of entry forms or game pieces. And by statute, the states of Georgia, Florida, New York and Rhode Island require the posting of the Official Rules at retail for retail promotions.
I’m not here to opine on whether our beloved chocolate/peanut butter concoction had to or did comply with any disclosure laws, but merely point out these statutes to maintain my status as a promotion nerd.
We’ll have to wait and see if Reese’s is sorry for its packaging disclosures.