Contests are a fabulous marketing technique to promote your brand, products, and/or services! They attract new customers and provide an opportunity for marketers to get to know them better. As a marketer, you can ask entrants to share original content in an audio, visual, textual or photographic format. In return, they learn more about your brand and have the opportunity to win a prize they actually want. How do you know they want the prize? Well, if they didn’t want it, they wouldn’t enter your contest in the first place.

While contests are both fun and rewarding for the hosting company and contest entrants, remember there are rules and regulations companies need to comply with in order to conduct a legal promotional campaign. Otherwise, companies can face serious financial and other repercussions.

U.S. laws and regulations govern all giveaway campaigns. Many states also have individual considerations when it comes to regulating promotional campaigns. The government entities that oversee these activities include the Federal Trade Commision, the Federal Communications Commision, and the United States Postal Service.

Make Rules Clear and Straightforward

Setting clear, comprehensive contest rules is crucial and forbids participants and organizers from violating the law. Stating all the rules of a giveaway campaign allows companies to continue to operate within the legal framework set forth by the U.S. government, avoid confusion, and manage content more easily. 

Don’t Forget Those Three Magic Words

Most of us have watched or heard many commercials and viewed advertisements that include three magic words: no purchase necessary. This important phrase is included in every advertisement for a contest for a reason! It is illegal for a company or brand to ask its clients to buy their products to enter a giveaway competition.

The no purchase necessary rule should be included in the Official Rules of every giveaway campaign you organize. It is an important best practice when it comes to abiding by federal laws against online gambling. When participants see this phrase, they understand that winning has nothing to do with buying something from the host company. It also signals that the host company is running a fair, above-board, legal giveaway.

Writing Contest Rules

Drafting a list of all contest rules is challenging due to a multitude of details that need to be included in the document. To help you do it right, PromoSimple has composed a Contest Rules template for you to use when planning your next campaign. You can use this PDF template as a starting point to customize a set of rules that works for your brand, your contest, and your entrants:


IMPORTANT: PromoSimple is not a legal adviser. Obtain legal guidance from an experienced and licensed attorney in your state to address the specifics of your contest before conducting your promotional campaign.