Sweepstakes are part of a company’s overall marketing plan and are either managed by the Marketing Department or farmed out to an ad agency, and sometimes more than one.

As giveaways are managed by humans, occasional mistakes happen and things go awry. Entry forms don’t work. Webpages crash. Prizes don’t arrive. What do you do when things go wrong?

I outlined four steps in Contacting the Sponsor When Prizes Go Missing, but I wanted to expand upon those four steps.


Read the rules to determine if an agency or the sponsor is managing the giveaway. Then you know who to contact. Let them know what is wrong. Many times, that resolves the issue. Sometimes it doesn’t.

To determine who you should contact you will search for a clause something like this in the ELIGIBILITY clause: Employees, officers, and representatives of SPONSOR NAME HERE (including its affiliates and subsidiaries), AGENCY NAME HERE, as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and household members of each such employee, are not eligible.

Or a clause all on its own: Sponsor: COMPANY NAME, FULL MAILING ADDRESS. Administrator: AGENCY NAME,


You can then use your friend Google to find a CONTACT US page and send in your concerns and issues. Remember, that these companies are run by fallible humans just like you. Be nice when sending in your request. There is a reason the adage you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar still stands true.

If you are not making headway, or get ghosted, remember poop rolls downhill. I would escalate the issue to the Department Manager or event to the Vice President of Marketing. The VP will find out very quickly why someone in their department isn’t doing their job.

This is the point I supplement Google with LinkedIn to find the correct contact. You may even want to pick up the phone at this point (vs sending an email) and call the person you want to connect with.


Most of the time this will work. Occasionally it won’t, but why wouldn’t you try?!

It’s rare I have not received a prize. More than once I have had to keep on the agency to get my prize, but it did eventually show up. Persistence is key, both in entering and collecting, but you also must be able to discern when it is time to cut bait.

What are the steps you take to chase down a missing win?