Ad Law Access

Ad Law Access

Updates on consumer protection trends, issues, & developments

Category Archives: Promotions Marketing

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Privacy Groups Ask FTC to Investigate Contest Sponsor for Alleged COPPA Violations

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Privacy and Information Security, Promotions Marketing, Social Media
Last week, ten privacy groups requested that the FTC open an investigation into a Topps Co. online contest, which they allege violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Specifically, the groups claim that Topps’s #RockThatRock contest collected photos of children under age 13 without obtaining their parents’ consent. Last spring, Topps invited its Facebook, … Continue Reading

FTC Holds Seminar on Mobile Device Tracking

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Mobile Marketing, Promotions Marketing
On February 19, 2014, the FTC hosted a public seminar on mobile device tracking, the first event in the FTC’s Spring Privacy Series on emerging consumer privacy issues.  The seminar included a tutorial on how retail tracking technology works, along with a panel featuring representatives from consumer groups, and the retail, marketing, and technology industries, … Continue Reading

Half-Baked Law

Posted in Promotions Marketing
When you think of great resources to learn about promotions laws, you think (we hope) of Ad Law Access, but you might not think of Food Network Magazine. However, the magazine recently ran a story entitled “Half-Baked Law” about a legal issues associated with a baking contest. According to the story, New Jersey resident Sally … Continue Reading

Pinterest Adds Promotions Guidelines to Acceptable Use Policy

Posted in Promotions Marketing, Social Media
Last week, Pinterest added promotions guidelines to their Acceptable Use Policy. According to a post announcing the change, Pinterest will no longer allow promotions that: Suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses them or the promotion Require people to Pin from a selection (like a website or list of Pins) Make people Pin the contest rules … Continue Reading

Facebook Eases its Guidelines for Promotions

Posted in Promotions Marketing, Social Media
Yesterday, Facebook made it easier for companies to administer sweepstakes, contests, and other promotions on its platform. Previously, Facebook required that all promotions on the platform be administered through apps. Now, promotions may also be administered on Page Timelines. For example, companies can now: Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like … Continue Reading

Losing Entrant Threatens to Sue the FTC Over Contest

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Promotions Marketing
Last year, the FTC came up with a new strategy in its war against unlawful telemarketing — the agency sponsored a contest in which it invited contestants to submit their best solutions to block robocalls. After reviewing almost 800 entries, the FTC announced the winners in April. If the winning solutions get implemented, that could … Continue Reading

Vermont Changes Law on Skill Contests

Posted in Promotions Marketing
All states prohibit companies from requiring people to pay money or make a purchase to enter a sweepstakes. Although most states allow companies more flexibility to require a payment or purchase in a skill contest, some states prohibit those requirements, too. Up until now, Vermont was in the latter category. Effective April 26, 2013, nothing … Continue Reading

FTC Closes an Investigation Involving a Social Media Campaign

Posted in Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Promotions Marketing, Social Media
As we’ve noted in previous posts, if a company provides incentives to a consumer in order to encourage the consumer to promote the company’s products, the consumer is required to disclose those incentives. It’s not just the consumer’s problem, though. The FTC has stated that a company can be held liable for a consumer’s failure … Continue Reading

Pinterest Establishes Business Accounts and Marketing Guidelines

Posted in Promotions Marketing, Social Media
In March, we posted that Pinterest had made changes to its Terms of Service. This month, Pinterest announced new business accounts that are governed by new Business Terms of Service. Pinterest also established Logos, Trademarks, and Marketing Guidelines. Among other things, these Guidelines provide some do’s and don’ts for growing number of companies that run promotions … Continue Reading

Watch Kelley Drye’s “Smartphone Revolution” Webinar On Demand

Posted in Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Kelley Drye, Mobile Marketing, Promotions Marketing, Social Media
Mobile marketing, sweepstakes and services, including location-based services, are governed by an alphabet soup of statutes and regulations: TCPA, COPPA, CAN-SPAM, CPNI, etc. To complicate compliance even further, numerous class action lawsuits in state and federal courts have addressed issues and nuances that the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and state regulatory agencies or … Continue Reading

FCC Determines Radio Station Failed to Comply with Contest Rules

Posted in Advertising, Federal Communications Commission, Promotions Marketing
Last year, a CBS radio station in North Carolina ran a “Carolina Cuties” contest in which listeners were invited to submit pictures of their babies on the station’s website. The grand prize winner was be determined by public votes. Although broadcast announcements for the contest stated that voting would end on September 5, 2011, the … Continue Reading

RealNetworks Agrees to Pay $2.4 Million to Settle Free Trial Investigation

Posted in Advertising, Advertising Litigation, Promotions Marketing
The Washington Attorney General recently announced that a settlement with RealNetworks over the company’s free trials. According to the AG, more than 500 consumers had complained to the AG’s office and the Better Business Bureau about unauthorized charges for services they had never ordered. In many cases, consumers who signed up for free trials did … Continue Reading

Planning a Social Media Campaign? Consider These Legal Risks

Posted in Advertising, Promotions Marketing, Social Media
This five-minute video from the Bloomberg BNA Internet Law Resource Center provides an overview of some of the legal issues companies should consider before they engage in social media. Kelley Drye partner Gonzalo E. Mon discusses the FTC’s view of consumer endorsements, how companies can avoid liability for user-generated content, and options for structuring contests… Continue Reading

Four Things to Know When Planning a Social Media Promotion

Posted in Promotions Marketing, Social Media
Social media has revolutionized the way companies run sweepstakes, contests, and other promotions. Not only does social media make it possible to do things that weren’t done a few years ago, it also makes it easier. Maybe too easy. Because of that, some companies forget that these promotions are subject to various laws, special requirements, … Continue Reading

Google+ Opens Up to Companies, But Prohibits Promotions

Posted in Promotions Marketing, Social Media
This week, Google launched Google+ Pages, a place where companies can post content and interact with consumers. In many ways, Google+ Pages is similar to Facebook Pages, but it also includes some unique functionality and integrations with Google’s search engine. Companies that are considering establishing a presence on Google+ should note, however, that Google imposes … Continue Reading

Parties Reach Settlement Over Text-to-Win Sweepstakes

Posted in Mobile Marketing, Promotions Marketing
In 2007, several companies offered text-to-win sweepstakes in conjunction with the American Idol, The Apprentice, Deal or No Deal, and 1 vs. 100 television shows. Soon thereafter, plaintiffs filed class action lawsuits arguing that the sweepstakes violated gambling laws in Georgia and lottery laws in California. The Georgia case was decided favorably in 2008, when … Continue Reading

FTC Settles with Company that Used Sweepstakes to Get Around Do-Not-Call Rules

Posted in Promotions Marketing, Telemarketing and Call Center Operations
This afternoon, the FTC announced that the manufacturer of Rascal Scooters has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle charges that it illegally called millions of consumers whose phone numbers were on the national Do Not Call Registry. The company asked consumers to provide their numbers on sweepstakes entry forms so that the company could contact them … Continue Reading

Facebook Eases the Requirements for Running Promotions

Posted in Promotions Marketing, Social Media
Last year, Facebook introduced Promotions Guidelines that governed how companies can run sweepstakes and contests on the Facebook platform. Among other things, the Guidelines stated that a company could not administer a promotion — in other words, collect entries, conduct drawings, judge entries, or run any other aspect of a promotion – on the platform unless the … Continue Reading

Florida AG Announces Settlement Over Rebate Offers

Posted in Promotions Marketing
Earlier today, the Florida Attorney General announced a settlement with Systemax and its subsidiaries, Tigerdirect and Onrebate, over allegations that the companies failed to pay rebates to consumers, as advertised. Consumers complained that the rebate program was difficult to navigate and that the companies often mailed the rebates late, or not at all. As part … Continue Reading

Indiana Supreme Court Asked to Determine Whether NCAA Violated Lottery Laws

Posted in Promotions Marketing
Earlier this year, we posted that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that the method by which the NCAA distributes Final Four tickets could constitute an unlawful lottery. This week, the Seventh Circuit vacated their previous opinion and certified three questions to the Indiana Supreme Court. According to the complaint, each person who … Continue Reading