Boy Scouts Sweepstakes Site Faulted By Self-Regulatory Group

An online site operated by the Boy Scouts of America as part of a sweepstakes didn't comply with the ad industry's self-regulatory guidelines, the Better Business Bureau's Children's Advertising Review Unit said on Wednesday.

Magazine ads for the Boy Scouts' “Cybersearch Mega Contest” -- which offered entrants the opportunity to win a $100 gift card -- directed users to, according to a written opinion issued by the self-regulatory group.

Once users arrived at the contest site's home page, they were able to enter the contest by providing a first name and email address.

But that page didn't disclose the odds of winning, according to the BBB. Instead, it offered a link to a separate “official rules” page, which notified visitors that only one contest entrant would win the gift card.

The self-regulatory group found fault with that design. “In order to ascertain the odds of winning, children would have had to actively seek them out by wading in and clicking through to another page on the site to where the Sweepstakes’ Official Rules were located,” the Children's Advertising Review Unit wrote in its opinion.

“It is the promotional or advertising copy about entering the sweepstakes that entices children to enter and it is near such copy that the chances of winning and the prizes must be clearly explained,” the organization said, adding that many children won't click through to learn the details.

The self-regulatory organization also found fault with the Boy Scouts' disclosures in magazine ads. They contained the phrase “many will enter, one will win,” but only at the bottom of the page “in extremely difficult to read mice-type,” the opinion says.

The Children's Advertising Review Unit said the disclosure's “lack of proximity, as well as the fact that it was difficult to read, made it less likely that children would be able to see it.”

The Boy Scouts says that in the future, it will “use its best efforts” to clearly and conspicuously disclose the odds of winning the CyberSearch Sweepstakes.

2 comments about "Boy Scouts Sweepstakes Site Faulted By Self-Regulatory Group".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, February 25, 2015 at 5:02 p.m.

    What might be even more bizarre is both the Boy and Girl Scouts would be violating the "Money Hunt Law" at is in 12 or 13 states. This law was intended to help eliminate online gambling websites where there is a membership fee. In my state of Oklahoma, the Attorney General's office told me that if there is a membership fee of any amount is charged, then it is considered gambling because part of that membership fee goes to the prize and is considered gambling. This is why poker left Oklahoma. However the law includes as currently written my company, (note I am exempt because I charge no membership fee and derive my revenue from advertising.). Boy and Girl scouts are not exempt and would be in violation of the law. I have talked with Oklahoma politicians about this error in the law and making suggestion to fix it.

  2. John Stewart from Scouting Works, February 25, 2015 at 7:40 p.m.

    For more than 100 years, Boys’ Life magazine has proudly served millions of youth members and their families by providing award-winning editorial content and promoting exciting new programs. Regarding CARU’s decision in the matter of the CyberSearch Sweepstakes, the Boy Scouts of America respects CARU’s conclusions in this matter. Moving forward, the BSA will use its best efforts to ensure that CARU’s recommended odds-of-winning disclosures are clearly and conspicuously displayed in print and online advertising for the CyberSearch Sweepstakes.

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