7 scary prize promotions mistakes

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Yes, Christmas is coming and at Prizeology HQ the Christmas promotions planning is already well underway. First, though, it’s Halloween, which I also embrace with open arms (any excuse to don that pointy witch’s hat). Halloween is a great peg for a promotion, and indeed a post, but if you’re running a promotion at any time of the year, there are certain common mistakes which you need to avoid. These howlers make my blood run cold, so to ensure your promotions have more than a ghost of a chance of success, I thought I’d share with you the prize promotions mistakes which really give me the heebie-jeebies.

No Ts and Cs

Actually, it’s not so much that there are no Ts and Cs, more that they have mysteriously disappeared. That’s probably because they wouldn’t fit on the pack, page or in the post. Ts and Cs must be accessible and available at the point of entry. If there really aren’t enough characters in a tweet to include the Ts and Cs it’s permissible to link to them, but squash and squeeze in the key points if you can.

Reserving the right to amend the Ts and Cs

Sorry, even if you think you’ve outwitted those pesky rule-makers by cleverly writing the option to alter your Ts and Cs into the Ts and Cs themselves, you can’t amend them. Those Ts and Cs must be set in stone for the duration of the promotion. Life may not be fair, and I understand that if yours is being threatened by a mad axeman you probably feel it isn’t, but prize promotions must be.

Changing the closing date

In the same vein, if you set a closing date, you have to stick to it. You can’t have a wobble at the last minute because you haven’t received as many entries as you hoped. A prize draw or competition closing date is not a moveable feast in the same way that Halloween always happens on 31 October.

Choosing the winner at the promoter’s discretion

A winner can’t be selected by anyone involved in the promotion. A prize draw must be conducted or overseen by an independent person and a competition must be judged by at least one member who is independent. Why? Because for good to triumph over evil it has to be clear to entrants that the promotion isn’t fixed and that the promoter hasn’t given the prize to a friend or family member.

Failing to award the prize

Even if the zombie apocalypse is upon us you must award the prizes as promised and as described. Receiving fewer entries than anticipated is no excuse. Neither is a lack of quality in the entries you have received. And believe me, if you don’t send those prizes out, you’re setting yourself up for a whole lot of toil and trouble.

Charging winners to claim a prize

In certain circumstances it’s acceptable to ask people to pay to enter a competition, but it is never OK to make winners pay to claim their prize. It may be dressed up as a ‘delivery fee’ or a

Not disclosing

I see this all the time on social media. An influencer runs a promotion – maybe a giveaway, maybe they’re offering a discount code – and doesn’t disclose that they have a commercial relationship with a brand. If there’s payment involved and the brand has control over the post, even if that control is light as a cobweb, the post is an ad and the influencer should use #Ad.

Happy Halloween, folks, and don’t forget that Prizeology offers a range of services to help you get your prize promotions right. Come trick or treat us if you dare!

Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist.

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