While visiting Wisconsin in August, I came across a story in the local paper that is great on so many levels. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers held a contest where he gave away four tickets to a preseason football game at Lambeau Field to the first person to arrive at his favorite Green Bay-area restaurant and correctly identify his favorite ‘Game of Thrones’ character. The tickets would be awaiting the winner in the bar because, well, it is Wisconsin. (Answers: Chives, and Daenerys Targaryen.) Why? The reporter who broke the story in The Green Bay Press-Gazette, speculated that Rodgers hoped to gain Instagram followers. (Like me!)
There’s a lot to love about this story. It leverages social media to build a brand for both Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers while at the same time promoting a local small business – the restaurant where the tickets awaited the winner. And, of course, there is the ‘Game of Thrones’ reference rolled in to just make it all the more clickable. (For more clickability, check out this HBO Sports tweet featuring members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers discussing ‘Game of Thrones.’)
I don’t know whether the contest led to a bump in business at the restaurant, although I’m willing to speculate that it did. I also don’t know whether the restaurant’s owners consulted with their attorney before agreeing to become involved in a social media-fueled scavenger hunt featuring tickets to a Packers game and a NFL quarterback, but I hope they did.
This was a fun contest with a great prize that resulted in lots of good publicity all around. But, it’s still worth it for any small business (the restaurant) involved in this type of publicity event to take a step back and consider any unforeseen liabilities or pitfalls. For example, is making the prize available in the bar a good idea? Are there any concerns about accessibility to the business or potential safety hazards? Could the contest fall under the jurisdiction of any local or state gambling laws or regulations, and, if so, could the business unknowingly be violating these rules?
Business owners always need to be asking: “How can I minimize my risk in order to maximize my benefit?” Responding to these types of questions is just one of the many ways a business attorney can provide assistance to small businesses.