With online sweepstakes, automakers have been building some hefty databases of sales prospects.
By entering sweepstakes, consumers hand over lots of interesting data about themselves.
'If you make the questions optional, you can ask as many as you want and consumers still can enter the sweepstakes without answering them,' said Bob Noonoo, vice president of Skycastle Entertainment Inc., a marketing and promotion company in Burbank, Calif.
'You just have to make sure you don't turn the sweepstakes into an illegal lottery.'
'Consideration' is key
A lottery involves a prize, chance and consideration, such as $2 payment for a ticket, Noonoo said.
'In a sweepstakes, the element of consideration is missing because you don't have to pay anything, but consideration can be doing anything that is a burden,' he said.
'If a sponsor asks 10 marketing questions in some detail, someone could say that could be tantamount to consideration.'
Automakers can get around that by offering an alternative means to enter the sweepstakes.
'Come to my Web site, give your identification information and answer 10 marketing questions, or write your name address and phone number on a card and send to this address,' Noonoo said. 'That (removes the concern)of consideration because the card gets the same treatment.'
Skycastle handles several auto clients, including Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. To get the most value, Toyota's sweepstakes are part of larger marketing programs.
Typically, Toyota's media partners, such as magazines, ask the car company to sponsor an event that includes an online sweepstakes. That way, the media company hosts the sweepstakes on its site and manages the database of entrants, and Toyota doesn't have to do the work.
For example, VH1, a music video channel on cable TV, asked Toyota to sponsor My VH1 Music Awards, which was broadcast Nov. 30. 'They ran broadcast spots combined with onsite and online presence,' said Scott Grant, national advertising manager for Toyota.
Although Toyota's media partners manage the databases of sweepstakes registrants, the automaker gets access to the information.