July 18, 2015

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Promotion terms and conditions (a.k.a. your "bacon saver")

All it takes is just one person to derail a promotion. One person who may have had a bad experience, received a prize that didn't work, or - even worse - deliberately took advantage of a loophole in your carefully-planned campaign (yes, those people do exist). One way to protect your agency, your client and your sanity is to spend time crafting a set of solid Terms & Conditions (Ts & Cs) or, what we can call, the campaign "bacon saver".

What are Ts & Cs?
Ts & Cs are a set of rules which a person must agree to in order to participate in a promotion or competition. They are designed to inform participants of promotion details and protect the promoter. It's worth mentioning that Ts & Cs for a promotion are different in both content and intent from Ts & Cs for a website or app.

The Ts & Cs can be prepared by either your agency or your client, but - ultimately - the responsibility and liability will rest on your client (the promoter), so they need to be involved in the process and give the final approval on the copy.

What information do Ts & Cs contain?
You should ensure that - at the very minimum - you include the following information in your Ts & Cs:

  • The name of the promotion.
  • The legal business name of the promoter. You can also include the "trading as" name if applicable.
  • Start and finish dates of the promotion.
  • The exact location where the promotion will be valid (e.g. offer available only in a particular city / country / store).
  • Any restrictions on who is eligible or not eligible to enter (e.g. 16 years of age and over, 12 years of age and under, New Zealand citizens only, etc).
  • The detail of the promotion - what is on offer, how a person can enter.
  • Detail about the prizes (number of prizes, value, total value of prize pool). What is and is not included in the prize package (e.g. if the prize is a trip, does the package include accommodationn, transfers, spending money, etc).
  • How and when the prizewinner(s) will be selected. 
  • How and when the prizewinner(s) will be notified.
  • How and when the prize(s) will be distributed.
  • Comment on how the judges' and/or promoter's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • A list of the valid reasons for disqualification.
  • Privacy Act information (if applicable to your country), and what you will and will not do with the personal information of the entrant.
  • A clause saying that by entering into the promotion, the entrant gives their permission to use their name and photo on advertising material, social media, etc.
  • If the participant does not have to demonstrate that they agree to the Ts & Cs (e.g. by signing to the fact, or clicking a check box online), then you should include a broad statement such as "entry into this competition constitutes your agreement with these terms and conditions."
Some examples of New Zealand campaign Ts & Cs (links valid at time of publishing):

Some Ts & Cs will include points about fraudulent activity, natural disasters, loss of electronic information, change of promotion details, etc. This type of information sounds like excessive "legal-eese", but it is this that will cover your client for every eventuality that could arise and help to deter dishonest entries.

Ts & Cs are your first line of defence against opportunists and cheats. An important point to note is that most of your genuine entrants will never read the Ts & Cs, but you can guarantee that scammers will examine every single word!

Getting legal advice

Ts & Cs not only have to be tailored to suit your promotion, but they will need to suit the country(s) you run the promotion in, therefore it always pays to get a lawyer to eyeball the Ts & Cs before you release them into the wild. 

Where do I put Ts & Cs?

Once the Ts & Cs are finalised you will need to house them somewhere. Check to see if your country has particular advertising standards that specify where Ts & Cs are to be located and how you shoud reference them within your campaign.

If your campaign has its own website, microsite or landing page, you can include a "Terms & Conditions" link. Otherwise you can put the Ts & Cs on your client's company website with a vanity URL to make finding them easier.

Within your campaign elements (which could included printed collateral, radio ads, TV ads, etc) you should reference that you have Ts & Cs for this promotion and where they can be found. For example: "Terms and conditions apply. Please visit our website www.abc.com for further details." or  "Offer available for a limited time only. Terms and conditions apply."

What? No Ts & Cs?!

You can run a promotion or competition without Ts & Cs, but it's a major risk. If your client wants to proceed without Ts & Cs, then I suggest you do two things. Firstly have a conversation asking why they would want to forego this formal protection, and let them know - loud and clear - your recommendations. If they still insist, then you should get their instructions in writing (via email would be legally sufficient in many countries - check your own laws to make sure). That way at least your agency will be protected if anything goes awry during or after the campaign.

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Sarah Ritchie
Sarah Ritchie

Author

Sarah Ritchie is the founder of AM-Insider - a website bursting with tips, tricks and resources to create account management superstars in the advertising, design, PR, experiential and print industries. Sarah has been involved in account management for 25 years and has a passion for encouraging, mentoring and helping others succeed.



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