While running a sweepstakes promotion might sound straightforward, actually developing and executing a successful campaign may be harder than you think. Far more complex than a simple giveaway, a promotional sweepstakes campaign contains several high-level elements to consider. Before your sweepstakes can ever go to market, your brand must first write ironclad sweepstakes official rules.
Disclaimer- This article is to help your understanding of sweepstakes official rules creation, this is not a guide on creating sweepstakes rules. If you are creating a sweepstakes, we strongly recommend hiring an expert to put together official rules for you. Please contact our experts if you’re interested in learning more.
*Note: Looking for information on social media promotional campaigns? You might be surprised to find out that different platforms have their own set of policies enforcing promotions. Check out our social media giveaway rules guide to learn more!
One of the most important aspects of your sweepstakes official rules. Under the eligibility section, you will inform your sweepstakes audience who is eligible to participate in your sweepstakes. For example, the most common eligibility requirements listed are the age and location of those who can participate.
Sweepstakes Official Rules Must Designate a Period of Time
In your official rules, it is important to list the sweepstake period. This will let your audience know during what time their entries are valid. You will want to be specific here and list the date, time, and time zone.
How To Enter
Letting your audience know how to enter your promotion is clearly important to the success of your program. While your description of ‘how to enter’ on your sweepstakes site and promotional materials might be short, it is important to be very descriptive with how to enter in your official rules.
Just as important as what is considered a valid and official entry, you may want to also designate what is not a valid entry. For example, if your brand accepts entries via social media, will any post that mentions your brand suffice? Or must they include a specific hashtag?
Be sure there is no room for interpretation here.
Drawing and Odds of Winning
Next, your official rules must include the odds of winning, since sweepstakes are a random drawing. This section is straightforward and serves to inform your audience that the chances of winning depend on the number of entries.
Use caution in this section if you are running anything other than run-of-the-mill sweepstakes, because the information you must add here can be slightly more complicated. Let’s take a look at a very simplified example.
Your brand runs a promotional sweepstakes and claims that each entrant has a “1 in 20” chance of winning. This is true, so long as only 20 people enter the sweepstakes and your brand gives away only one prize. What happens when a 21st submission is entered?
As you can see, when you cannot predict exactly how many entrants your sweepstakes will have, you will need to adapt and stay on your toes. In the case above and in many other promotional sweepstakes, brands must adjust the number of prizes awarded or the value of prizes awarded in order to consistently reflect the stated odds of winning.
Prize and Value
In this section, you will list information on your sweepstakes prizing. You will want to include the following:
– The APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUE (ARV) of your prizes.
– PRIZE RESTRICTIONS (E.g., limit one per person, prizes are non-transferable, and prize substitution is not permitted).
Other important information to consider including in this section of your rules would be how prizes are distributed. Will you require winners to collect the prize or will you send it to them? Will winners receive cash, a check, a pre-paid card, or some other form of money?
Winner Notification and Prize Claim
In this section, you will want to designate how winners are selected and can claim their prizes.
Exercise extreme caution in this section. If there is any doubt about the selection of winners, your promotional sweepstakes’ legitimacy and legality immediately come into question.
Writing Your Brand’s Sweepstakes Official Rules
We hope you found our cheat sheet for sweepstakes rules creation helpful. Official rules are full of legal jargon, so if you are at all unsure of anything in your rules, it is crucial that you contact a professional to look it over for you. Contact MRi’s experts for help with your sweepstakes official rules creation and keep an eye out for more promotional marketing information on our insights page.