Business development · 9 August 2018

Understanding the rules around promotional brand giveaways

Brand giveaway
You mustn’t give any indication the brand endorses the competition

Are you allowed to use the lure of a designer brand to promote your own prize draw? Grid Law founder David Walker guides one reader through the process of a promotional brand giveaway that stays within the law.

Question

Firstly, I’d like to thank you for your very informative article by David Walker on “How to run a successful (and legal) promotional prize draw”.

I have a query which I’d like to ask you regarding this.

I am thinking of running a promotional prize draw in which I give away a famous name designer handbag. The entrants must pay an entry fee and will then be judged based on their significant skill/knowledge or judgement thus preventing this prize draw from being a lottery or raffle.

What would the legal requirements be regarding naming the designer? I’d like to know whether it would be okay for me to purchase this bag as a normal customer and then give it away to the winner without informing the designer. Or do I have to inform the designer prior to this?

Answer

Thank you for your question.

There is no problem buying a designer handbag yourself and then giving it away as a prize.

However, you must be very careful when promoting the competition to ensure you don’t inadvertently infringe the designer’s trademarks.

You mustn’t give any indication that they endorse the competition or are suppling the prizes (unless they are) and you mustn’t, in any way, use the strength of their brand and reputation to enhance yours.

So, for example, you should avoid phrases such as “Win a [name of designer] handbag” and instead say “Win a designer handbag” or “Win a luxury handbag”.

Also, avoid using the name of the designer in any keywords when advertising the competition.

You will of course have to refer to the name of the designer to accurately describe the prize and you may also use images of the product. This wouldn’t be considered to be an infringement of the designer’s trade mark.

I hope this helps and please feel free to email me again if you need any further advice.

Kind regards,

David

Read more about running a promotional prize draw:

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

David Walker is the founder of Grid Law, a firm which first targeted the motorsport industry – advising on sponsorship deals, new contracts and building of personal brands. He has now expanded his remit to include entrepreneurs, aiding with contract law, dispute resolution and protecting and defending intellectual property rights.

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