It has become quite common in Europe and elsewhere to use competitions as marketing tools for goods and services.
In Germany, such games were very common even before the 2004 revision of the German Act Against Unfair Competition (UWG). However, in the revised version of this act, the German Parliament for the first time included express provisions against certain ‘excesses’ in the use of competitions as marketing tools.
One of these new provisions provided that the promotion or execution of marketing measures such as competitions is unlawful—without regard to exceptional circumstances—if the opportunity for the consumer to participate in these games depends on the consumer having to buy goods or services prior to the game.
This ‘coupling’ of the game with the need to buy ‘something’ was considered to be an unfair influence on the consumer since competitions were generally considered to appeal to consumers to a far greater extent than other promotional or marketing measures.
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competitions, UWG, marketing