Contests We Like – Las Vegas Vacation

November 28, 2006

Kudos to Custom Marketing Group for their understanding of Canadian contest legislation with their Las Vegas Free Getaway Sweepstakes.


The contest microsite is simple for entrants and has just a single opt-in. Their contest rules demonstrate knowledge of applicable Canadian legislation, which is exceptionally rare among contests managed by American firms. Our only recommendation is to disclose the full prize value in the contest rules. Otherwise, well done, Custom Marketing Group.


Cheezey Ways To Build Your On-Line Marketing Database

November 26, 2006

The folks over at Mirvish are promoting the upcoming musical, We Will Rock You, with a contest offering a trip to London. The contest promises the opportunity to meet Queen.


However, the contest doesn’t let consumers participate unless they sacrifice an email address nice folks at Mirvish. While it may not be perfectly contrary to PIPEDA, it certainly is a violation of best practice.

The contest can be found here.

(I also want to know how I can meet Freddie Mercury)

Contests We’re Not Fond Of – Toyo Canada

November 7, 2006

This Toyo Canada contest is so bad that I actually thought about not commenting on it. Yes, we’ve seen much worse, but no matter how you slice it, this is not good work. Now, for a respected tire company, Toyo does make some great tires and, in fact, I’ve raced on some. Toyo is also the official tire supplier for Speed World Challenge, which is some of the most exciting road racing anywhere on the planet.

However. Deep breath.

Ignoring the childhood lesson I learned from Bambi, here’s why we’re not so fond of this contest:

– circa 1996 web technology

– entry form layout

– lack of an opt-in

– there are dead links to any sort of “prize package” description

– “um, where are the contest rules?”

– those colours!

– the dreadful copy (“please press once only”?)

Contests We Like – Smirnoff Cash In Your Chip Sweesptakes

November 7, 2006

With the new Bond movie fast approaching, Smirnoff has launched a new contest, the Smirnoff Cash In Your Chip Sweepstakes.

Why do we like it?

– very slick, media rich web site

– it’s Smirnoff

– the grand prize is a trip to the Bahamas

– and although the instant win code is available on pack, the contest site makes it easy for anyone to obtain a code without purchase very simply by email (this is the part we really like).

Well done!

Contests We’re Not Fond Of – Vachon

October 23, 2006

Instant win contests can be used in a lot of fun and interesting ways. Generally, we see them in retail and this fall we seem to be working on more than a few.

While this contest is not one we’re working on, it’s worthwhile to review here in this blog. The Vachon Sweet Taste Of Retirement contest uses instant win for their standard prizes, but also prize indemnity for their match-and-win grand prize, $50,000 a year for life (or a $900,000 lump sum). The contest scratch cards appear in a number of Vachon products, like this Jos. Louis box.



The design of the box sticker and ballot are OK, but the sticker is perhaps a bit difficult to see at retail. Perhaps contest-specific packaging might make sense.


On our contest card, we received the “V”, but otherwise didn’t win an instant win prize.

Why are we not fond of this one? The most significant shortcoming is the lack of an odds statement within the contest rules, since this is a legal requirement for Canadian contests. Vachon certainly knows the odds for the instant win prizes and, despite what their ‘statistician’ may say, the odds for the match-and-win grand prize are calculable. At minimum, this is misleading to consumers and not a course of action we recommend to clients.

The Régie

October 19, 2006

Not a day goes by that we do not discuss the Régie and Quebec’s unique contest requirements. The topic of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux, as they are formally known, is long overdue in this blog.

The Régie is not a unsolvable mystery. And fear of the Régie is no reason not to conduct a contest in the province of Quebec. Their requirements are fairly straightforward and satisfying them is not that difficult. While it shouldn’t be taken lightly, dealing with the Régie is not that daunting of a task. Certainly, familiarity with the Régie’s requirements helps and that’s where an experienced contest parnter can help.

We’ll discuss the ins-and-outs of the Régie in upcoming posts, but for now, we’ll leave you with this tip direct from the Régie’s site:

These Rules do not apply to publicity contests where the total value of the prizes offered does not exceed 2 000 $, with the exception of sections 5 and 6 that apply to all publicity contests in which the total value of the prizes exceeds 100 $.

In other words, you do not have to register a contest with the Régie if the contest’s total prize value is less than $2,000.00 CAD.

Contests We Like – Toronto Star Why Ask Why

October 11, 2006

Initially, I didn’t get the Toronto Star‘s new contest, Why Ask Why, because I hadn’t investigated it. But now I’m surprised at how smooth this contest really is. They make it exceptionally easy for consumers to enter and they don’t ask participants to read the paper itself. They lead readers to the on-line content directly from the straightforward contest site.

Toronto Star Why Ask Why

Overall, the contest site was exceptionally well-designed, making it easy for any consumer to understand and participate. The entry process provides for permission for daily email reminders (I was already on their daily contest email list), as well as for saving entrants’ information for subsequent daily entries. It’s as if they followed the Contest Best Practice Handbook.

For all of the love I have for this contest, I have one complaint. The site just doesn’t work for the OSX Safari or Camino browsers. I had to upgrade to the latest version of Firefox before I could actually participate.

I also have a confession to make. The Toronto Star won me over with their RSS feeds. Yeah, the contest worked just like it was supposed to. Good work, Toronto Star.