By Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk
You may need to review if your social media promotions have been legally compliant, or not. Even if you abide by all the rules and regulations pertaining to sweepstakes and contests, there is another federal government regulation that you need to keep in mind.
Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) completed an investigation into a Pinterest-based contest conducted by Cole Haan. The contest rules instructed participants to create Pinterest boards titled “Wandering Sole” and pin five images of shoes from Cole Haan’s Pinterest board as well as five images of the participants "favorite places to wander", all tagged #WanderingSole. Cole Haan would then judge all the entries and award one grand prize winner based on creativity a $1,000 shopping spree.
Sounds like a pretty simple Pinterest contest that is similar to many others. However, in a public letter from the FTC sent to Cole Haan’s counsel, the FTC expressed concern that the participants re-pinning of Cole Haan products were endorsements of the products and there was no clear indicator that the pins were incentivized by the opportunity to win the $1,000 shopping spree. The FTC claimed that by instructing participants to just use the hashtag #WanderingSole, Cole Haan did not adequately communicate that this was a contest entry with a financial incentive between the participant and the Sponsor, Cole Haan.