Frequently Asked Questions
Click on any of the questions below to see the answer:
What are prize promotions?
Prize promotions are part of an overall marketing and sales strategy, generally recognized as games, sweepstakes and contests,
where participants have the opportunity to win a prize -- as opposed to couponing, sampling, and other types of promotions.
They may be directed to a large consumer group, targeted to a specific audience, or used for business-to-business.
Why run a sweepstakes? How can a sweepstakes help me?
A sweepstakes can be used for any number of reasons: to help boost Brand awareness, to encourage completion of surveys and
questionnaires, to get consumers to register their purchases, to generate sales leads, to reward loyal customers -- the list goes on
and on. Not to mention the fact that consumers love sweepstakes! Market research has shown that given otherwise identical
offers, a sweepstakes or other prize promotion will elicit a higher response rate, whether it’s the purchase of a can of soda, or
the solicitation of a donation to a charity.
What’s the difference between a prize promotion, and say, a state lottery?
A prize promotion consists of three elements: prize, chance, and consideration, which can be defined as money, time or
considerable effort. The only promotion that can award a prize, through a random or chance offering, and require payment,
is a state lottery. A sweepstakes can award a prize, through a random or chance offering, but cannot require consideration.
A contest, on the other hand, can award a prize, can require consideration, but must replace the random or chance element
with a skill requirement. To have all three elements in a sweepstakes or contest is a violation of federal lottery laws.
Which is better, a sweepstakes or a contest?
For sheer numbers, sweepstakes generally pull better than contests. That’s because of the ease of entry requirements
(remember the "no consideration" element?). But maybe you want to focus your promotion on the benefits of your product
by asking your customers to take a few extra steps, such as writing an essay, submitting a photograph, or sending in a
recipe that uses your product. A contest would be a better vehicle for this, and would elicit a smaller, but more enthusiastic
response. Both contests and sweepstakes are popular prize promotion vehicles -- we’ll review your marketing goals and
objectives with you to determine which is better for you in a given situation.
What kind of response rate might I expect to my offer?
There are so many factors that can impact a promotion’s response, from the creative presentation you use, to the list of
recipients, to the actual product, to the prizes you are offering. And that’s only on the surface. A general online eblast
effort may pull 2% response, but a highly targeted one may pull up to (and sometimes beyond) 25%. The thing to remember
is that prize promotions have been shown to increase most response rates.
Why can’t I just run the sweepstakes out of our office (i.e., why should I call Ventura)?
We frequently receive calls from companies who have decided to run their own promotions, only to find out mid-stream
that they have overlooked certain legal requirements, or that they are simply not equipped to handle the administrative
issues that are part of running a sweepstakes. Legal issues are perhaps the most important reason to use a sales promotion
agency. At Ventura, we are kept aware of the latest legal actions and government enforcement. We design promotions to not
only work within the confines of existing laws, but to give the sponsor the maximum protection. From an administrative
viewpoint, this is our business, and we have achieved efficiencies through tight procedural review. And let’s not forget the
credibility issue: the use of an independent judging organization tells the would-be participant that there will be no monkey
business when it comes to the drawing of winners, or the awarding of prizes.
Who uses prize promotions?
Who doesn’t? Retailers, publishers, banks, packaged goods companies, health and beauty aids manufacturers, fast
food chains, and basically anyone trying to gain a competitive advantage, and that probably includes your competition.
Prize promotions can be found everywhere – online, on-pack, in-pack, in magazines, on TV, and all social media.
I have a small company, and like the idea of running a sweepstakes, but just the cost of buying
the prizes is intimidating and prohibitive. What options do I have?
Well, for one, there’s the use of a co-operatively sponsored sweepstakes, such as the ones created by us. For one low cost,
multiple companies can participate and spread the cost of a high visibility sweepstakes among themselves. We provide the
prizes, the rules, and all administration, including registrations, fulfilling winners’ lists and submitting 1099s for major prize
winners to the Internal Revenue Service. Our co-op sweepstakes are also a wonderful opportunity to test the prize promotion
waters-you get the benefits of a proven marketing tool at a fraction of the cost.
My company has four separate divisions, all of which are interested in running a promotion.
Do we need to run four separate sweepstakes?
Not necessarily. We have found that promotions can be designed to take advantage of a company’s various divisions.
These "umbrella" sweepstakes, a concept we pioneered, allow the divisions to present a united front, and help reinforce the
corporate identity. They also allow the divisions to allocate the costs according to participation. And by designing a flexible
prize structure, each division can advertise prizes that best appeal to their respective audiences. The net result is that all
units receive the benefits of a seemingly independent promotion, yet don’t have to run totally separate sweepstakes.
We have just put our Web site up, and are looking to get more people to come to our site, and keep coming back
(we’re selling ad space to offset the cost of maintaining the site). Could a sweepstakes help us?
Definitely. As you no doubt have heard, one of the ways to keep visitors coming back to your site is to vary your content.
By presenting new and useful information, you have taken important steps in maintaining your Web traffic. Another method
is to overlay a sweepstakes and allow multiple entries, but to limit visitors to one entry per day. Allowing multiple entries
helps encourage your visitors to return often, but avoids having your online entry box jammed.
I’ve heard that certain promotions need to be bonded. What’s that all about?
Certain states (Florida and New York) require the posting by the promotion’s sponsor of either a surety bond or the
establishing of an escrow account if the promotion requires registration (consumer promotions offering prizes with
a total value in excess of $5,000, to residents of their states, among other requirements). This is also true of promotions
run in the province of Quebec in Canada. In the event the sponsor defaults, the funds are payable to the state, in order to
award the prizes. The key idea here is consumer protection. Ventura advises its customers on registration requirements,
and assists in the process of registering promotions, as well as in filing for the release of the promotion once all winners
have been determined and prizes awarded. Sponsors who run promotions in violation of these state and provincial laws
are subject to fines and penalties.
Can I make sure prize winners purchase my product?
Remember, while you can request that consumers make a purchase or donation, you cannot require it in a sweepstakes.
To do so is in violation of lottery laws. If you want to require a purchase, you may run a contest, but you must lose the
random or chance element of the promotion.
What can you tell me about game promotions?
Well, for starters, they are extremely popular. As a child, you no doubt had a box of Cracker Jack®-remember your excitement
when you went to pull out that little prize? That same excitement still helps pull consumers into fast food restaurants, automotive
supply stores, encourage them to purchase a specific brand of pet food, or watch a certain television show. The prospect of
winning something instantly is a powerful motivator; there is no waiting until the promotion’s over to find out if you have won
a prize. Of course, those prizes that go unclaimed during the run of the promotion can be given away through a second chance
drawing, essentially giving the participant multiple opportunities to win!
Can I run a sweepstakes for kids?
Promotions aimed at children constitute one of the quickest growing segments today. However, due to increasing
privacy concerns and heightened legislative scrutiny, it is wise to proceed with caution, especially if you want to run
an online promotion. We currently work with a number of high-profile marketers targeting this segment, and are aware
of industry recommendations and government guidelines. We will work with you, or your agency, to design a fun and
exciting promotion to appeal to kids, while advising you of potential pitfalls.
What happens if something goes wrong with my prize promotion?
It’s amazing how many things can go wrong with a promotion. The use of an experienced promotion agency like Ventura,
however, can reduce that possibility-our trained professionals know how to plan promotions to avoid those ugly incidents,
those incidents that have your boss screaming at you. And as further protection, our indemnification policy protects you
from anything we do wrong in our capacity as your promotion agency.