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Don't read this - if you're from California

Hmmm - not sure what to think about something that just happened to me. I'd welcome your comments.

I buy and consume reasonable quantities of a moderately high-end adult beverage and was pleased to receive, in the mail, a promotional package from the parent company inviting me to participate in an attractive sweepstakes.

The mailing piece probably cost them $5-$10 and was very well done. The Grand Prizes were awesome, and there were even gifts for anyone who completed a series of tasks designed to get me in front of their brand message 6 times over six weeks.

I went online, registered for the contest and even made sure I "white-listed" their email address so the promotional announcements could reach me.

Then - in rather small text near the bottom - I noticed the phrase:

  • Contest VOID in California.

WHAT? WHY? Who do I talk to about this?

Now - I know this is not the fault of the sponsor. But right now, I am really ticked at them for even leading me down this path. Heck, they had my mailing address. Why even SEND the dang thing to me if they KNEW the contest was VOID where I lived?

Question? Should the sponsor have taken steps to mitigate this lousy feeling I have? Should they have limited the mailing to people outside California? Or, am I being a big baby?


Clay said...

Love your blog. I'm just a small, family-owned self-publishing ministry, but enjoy getting some insights on marketing.

Concerning your question, my basic rule: distrust ALL unsolicited marketing and promotional offers...no exceptions. If I'm the least bit interested in the offer of an unsolicited promotion, the FIRST thing I do is CAREFULLY read the fine print. That has saved me a lot of time that otherwise would have been wasted on statistically impossible, unreasonably restrictive, or just plain deceptive offers. You probably knew that, but let your love of the "beverage" cloud your good sense. Must have been a really effective promotional piece!

Jim Seybert (on FoolsBox) said...

Thanks for the kind words Clay - I would generally agree with your procedure for vetting a promotional offer but these folks had already earned my trust and they should have done more to protect the realtionship.