Betty sent in this good question regarding instant wins and being officially notified.

I entered the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Disney’s Road to the Emerald City Sweepstakes & Instant Win promotion on Facebook.  On January 29th I won a $100 gift card from HSN! In the rules they say they will contact you via direct message on Twitter.  I have checked everyday (not really versed on Twitter), but have not received a message. I have a print screen of the win, but have no idea who I should contact to ask the question. Any ideas. the contest is still on their Facebook page.  Thanks.

First, CONGRATULATIONS on your instant win!  How FUN!

Now, to check your direct messages on Twitter, sign in to your Twitter account.  Click on the icon to the right of the Search field that looks like a little gear wheel.  Then click on Direct Messages.  It may be easier for you to use a product such as Tweet Deck (@TweetDeck) or Hootsuite (@Hootsuite) to manage your Twitter feed.  I personally prefer Hootsuite as it’s virtual and I can manage my Twitter feed easily while on client site as Tweet Deck resides on your computer.  I also use Ubersocial (@UberSoc) to manage my Twitter feed on my smartphone.  It notifies me if I have been Mentioned or get a Direct Message.

Thankfully the contest was still online today and I was able to read the rules.  Here is the clause specifically outlining notifying the potential winners:

5. Prize Notification: Potential Prize Winners will be notified within five (5) days of the drawing date by direct message on Twitter. We will contact you only to inform you that you are a potential winner. If after a reasonable number of attempts (as determined by Sponsor or Administrator in their sole discretion) contact is not made with a potential Winner, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate Winner will be selected by random drawing from amongst all remaining eligible entries.

Instant Winners will be notified immediately onscreen and then by direct message on Twitter to collect all necessary eligibility information. Before any Prize is awarded, Prize winner must complete, sign, and return an Affidavit of Eligibility (“Affidavit“), where applicable, and, where lawful, a Liability/Publicity Release (“Release“) (collectively, “Affidavit and Release“), releasing the Promotion Entities from any liability in connection with this Promotion or the receipt, possession, use or misuse of any Prize or the merchandise for which it is redeemed, within seven (7) days after notification, or, if a resident of Canada, a Declaration of Compliance and Publicity Release (the “Declaration“), within seven (7) days.

According to the official rules, you should have been notified by now.  However, having worked at a large ad agency, I learned that the online social media management, the advertising, the contest fulfillment and the corporate direction are usually done by different companies, not necessarily in the same city or country.  Therefore, notifying all the potential winners on the exact date outlined in the rules (written by, I am betting, an outside law firm with out any knowledge of the logistics, staff constraints or resources) usually doesn’t happen.

In the past I used to recommend you do a Google search and contact the President or the Vice-President of Marketing for the contest sponsor.  In this case it would be Walt Disney Studios.  Since Facebook and Twitter are now the mediums of choice to promote giveaways due the social media component, it also makes it easier to get in touch with the contest sponsor.  I suggest you send the sponsor a message via Facebook. put a post on the Facebook wall or send them a tweet.  Most of the time I get a response to my query much faster that way.

Betty, please post a reply and let us all know what happens!!


Carolyn WilmanCarolyn Wilman (aka @ContestQueen) is the author of You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter. She teaches others how to find, organize, enter and win contests, sweepstakes and giveaways. To-date others have won over $1,000,000 using her Online Contesting System. With over twenty years experience as a Marketing Consultant, Carolyn also helps companies create, and viral market, winning promotions.