I wish I was surprised that the company still holding improper contests. But after my experiences in its “Health” Kwest, I am not surprised at all.
Here’s the latest, a photo contest on Instagram using the hashtag #GGDad. Seems innocuous enough, right?
So what’s wrong with this “most likes on this photo” contest? Let’s start with where the contest violates Instagram’s own Promotion Guidelines.
- The official rules are nowhere to be found on Instagram (via a link) or on the Genghis Grill website.
- The offer terms and eligibility are nowhere to be found on Instagram (via a link) or on the Genghis Grill website.
- The promotion does not include a “complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant.”
- Nor does the promotion include an “acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.”
In addition, Genghis Grill (again) does not include guidelines for how contestants should disclose that their photos are hashtagged for a contest. When Cole Haan did something similar in March 2014, the FTC issued a closing letter (a type of warning) to the company.
So what am I doing, other than sharing the information via this blog post? I’ve reported the company’s contest to Instagram and to the FTC. I would have also contacted the company directly, but the last two times I did, it apparently didn’t matter.
It really isn’t that difficult for a social media manager to learn the guidelines for contests, is it?
Please, if you are holding a contest using social media, take the time to learn how to do it ethically.
(NOTE to PR Professors: Feel free to use this Instagram contest as an example in your classes.)