I saw this headline and all I could do was sigh.

Artesian Builds’ CEO Receives Backlash for Refusing Giveaway Winner for Their Follower Count

When are companies going to realize that running a sweepstakes is a legal undertaking? Sweepstakes rules are a legal and binding contract between the sponsor and the entrant that would stand up in a court of law. Once the rules are created and the giveaway starts the rules should not be changed.

Normally, when I get a message asking what should a winner do if they don’t get their prize, my answer is to first reach out to the agency running the sweepstakes, or the marketing department of the sponsor, before contacting the Attorney General of their state. In most cases, the issue is resolved or the prize is so small that the winner gives up.

In this case, this CEO publically humiliated the potential winner during the live stream drawing as she had a small social following. No further steps were needed as the public backlash was swift and fierce. The CEO made a public apology, which seemed to carry no weight, offered the winner her prize, which she turned down, and from all accounts I could find, they lost a lot of fans, customers, and affiliates. After all that, her social following (on Twitch) shot way up! HA!

Giveaways are a marketing tool as they are an exciting way to connect and engage with customers and potential customers. Clearly, the CEO forgot that while he was spewing unkind words towards the winner. He appears to have learned his lesson quickly and will conduct himself accordingly in the future, however, the damage is done and it will take time to return to grace, and business levels.

Have you ever turned down a prize?