Father’s Day Compliant Marketing Strategies for Businesses

Giselle Ayala Mateus, Esq.

Father’s Day is a heartwarming occasion dedicated to honoring the remarkable fathers and father figures who enrich our lives with their unwavering support, love, and guidance. It’s not just a day for families to express their gratitude, but also an opportune moment for business owners to strengthen relationships with their customer base and potentially augment sales through creative and impactful promotions. However, in order to do it the right way it is important to think about the regulatory aspect that come into play.

Offer Special Deals

People love getting a good deal, especially when they’re looking for the perfect gift for dad. You could offer a “buy one, get one half off” deal or give a discount on men’s products. This not only helps clear out inventory but also makes shoppers feel like they’re getting more value for their money.

Now, if you are offering a free product or at a gift for the purchase of a product keep in mind that you are imposing a condition on a free item. Therefore, it is necessary to describe the conditions of the deal clearly and conspicuously. Clear means that is easy to understand and conspicuously means that it is easy to see and read. The description of the deal should also be next to or close to the word “free”, otherwise those conditions may not be enforceable. For instance, an asterisk or other symbol near the word “free,” which refers the customer to a footnote containing conditions, does not work.

Additionally, pursuant to New York Law, if you offer a product or something else “free” conditioned upon a purchase, do not reduce the quantity or the quality of the product being sold, the idea is to encourage clients to get your product not to take advantage of Father’s Day. Overall, this is what you should consider when it comes to doing your marketing of a deal or promotion:

  1. Truth in Advertising: Businesses have to be honest about their prices. If they say something is on sale, the original price must be real, not made up just to make the deal look better.
  2. Price Comparison: When a store compares its sale price to a regular price, the regular price should be the one they’ve actually offered for a reasonable amount of time before the sale.
  3. Rainchecks: If a store runs out of a sale item, they might have to give the customer a raincheck so they can buy it later at the sale price, unless it has been clearly stated that quantities are limited or the item is not available for rainchecks.
  4. Time Frame: Sales usually have to end within a certain time frame. A “limited time offer” can’t go on forever.

Create Gift Bundles

Another great way to connect with customers during Father’s Day season is putting together themed gift bundles that make shopping for dad super easy. For example, if you own a bookstore, bundle a popular novel with a coffee mug and some gourmet coffee. Or, if you sell tools, package a set of hand tools with gloves and a sturdy toolbox. These ready-to-go gifts can be a big hit!

If you offer this bundles make sure to include, again, clearly and conspicuously, all material exclusions, reservations, limitations, modifications or conditions. These includes details on available items, minimum or maximum amounts, and clear language regarding trade-in requirements. Finally, if the gift bundle is offered via radio or television advertising conditions must be disclosed by making oral statements.

In regards to gift cards, under New York State law, gift cards or gift certificates purchased on or after December 10, 2022, remain valid for nine years from the date of purchase. Additionally, when the remaining value of the gift card or gift certificate is less than five dollars, the recipient can opt to receive cash for the balance. Finally, the law explicitly prohibits any “activation fees, retroactive fees, redemption fees, service fees, dormancy fees, latency fees, administrative fees, handling fees, access fees, periodic fees, renewal fees, re-loading fees, or any other fee of any kind.” [1] There is one exemption to the law, if the card may be used at multiple locations, merchants may charge a one-time fee for activation costs, which may not exceed $9.

Run a Contest

Contests are also exciting and can generate buzz around your business. You could have a “World’s Best Dad” photo competition with customers sharing their favorite father-child memories and your product. If you opt to create a contest, you may want to offer a nice prize that relates to your business and invite participants to share their participation on social media. If you create a contest, keep in mind the following guidelines to avoid the creation of an illegal lottery. In New York, like in many places, there are strict rules about what makes a contest legal or not.

1. Know the Difference Between Contests and Lotteries

First things first, let’s clear up some terms. A contest is a competition where the winner is chosen based on skill. This could be anything from making an original video to baking the best pie. On the other hand, a lottery involves winning by chance, and typically requires a payment to enter. In New York, lotteries are a no-go unless they’re run by the state. To avoid an illegal lottery, one of three elements must be excluded: consideration (entry payment of money or non-monetary value), chance or prize.

2. No Purchase Necessary

To keep your contest on the right side of the law, you must ensure that people can enter without spending money. That means “No Purchase Necessary” should be a golden rule for your contest, you should have, on one hand, a version of entry that involves buying something, on the other, a free method of entry that’s just as likely to win.

3. Set Clear Rules

Your contest needs a set of clear, detailed rules. These should include:

  • Who can enter (age, residency requirements)
  • How to enter
  • Entry deadlines
  • Description of the prizes
  • How winners will be chosen and notified
  • Odds of winning (if applicable)
  • Limitations on the number of winners or prizes

Make sure these rules are easy to find and understand.

4. Judging Based on Skill

Remember, a legal contest in New York has to judge entries based on skill. This means you need to define the criteria for judging and stick to them. Whether it’s creativity, originality, or something else, make it clear who will select the winner. The idea would be to have as judge someone who can objectively elect the winner.

5. Follow Privacy Laws

When you collect information from entrants, you’re responsible for protecting their privacy. Be transparent about what you’ll do with their data and follow all privacy laws to the letter.

6. Award the Prize

Once the contest ends, you’ve got to award the prize as promised. Any changes to the prize or how it’s awarded can get you into hot water, so stick to your rules.

7. File the Necessary Paperwork

For certain types of contests, especially those with large prizes, you might need to register with the state and pay a bond. Check the specific laws in New York to see if this applies to you. This rules are applied considering, among others, the full value of the prize.

Running a contest in New York can be a great way to engage with customers or promote your business, but it’s important to play by the rules. Keep it fair, base it on skill, and make sure everyone has an equal chance to win, purchase or not. With these tips, you’re well on your way to creating a fun and legal contest. Good luck!

In conclusion, Father’s Day serves as a special occasion to honor and appreciate father figures who play significant roles in our lives. It is not only a time for families to express gratitude but also an opportunity for businesses to strengthen customer relationships and boost sales through creative promotions. However, it is crucial to consider regulatory aspects when offering deals or promotions to ensure transparency and compliance with laws.

By following guidelines on truth in advertising, price comparison, clear disclosures, and respecting consumer rights such as rainchecks and time frames, businesses can effectively market their products during this celebratory season. Additionally, creating themed gift bundles and running contests can further engage customers, but it is essential to understand the legal distinctions between contests and lotteries, provide clear rules, judge based on skill, protect entrants’ privacy, and fulfill prize obligations. By adhering to these principles, businesses can successfully navigate marketing strategies for Father’s Day while maintaining integrity and legality in their operations.

In Need of Legal Counsel? We can Help!

Are you launching a new ad campaign and want to make sure everything is by the book? Look no further than G.A.M. LAW OFFICE! We can help you ensuring your creative ideas stay within legal boundaries. We’ll guide you through the maze of regulations so your ads shine without any legal hiccups. From reviewing your marketing materials for compliance to defending against claims of false advertising, we’ve got your back. Partner with G.A.M. LAW OFFICE and advertise with confidence!

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