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Competition Draws: Manual vs Electronic

By Sharmila Pamamull, Senior Counsel

29 July 2020

Manual vs electronic

Trade promotions are used by marketers to increase brand awareness, brand loyalty and attracting new customers. These promotions can be games of skill or game of chance.

Games of chance competitions require a winner to be drawn at random.

Competition draws may be completed either manually or electronically.

The following are examples of each draw mechanic:

· Manual competition draws: printed entry form drawn from a container/barrel

· Electronic competition draws: use of a computer program or Microsoft Excel to randomly select winners

The following considerations apply in determining whether you choose to conduct a draw electronically or manually in Australia:

1) Entry Mechanic:

a. Printed entry forms: If you are collecting printed entry forms the simple approach is to conduct the competition draw manually, rather than including all entries in a spreadsheet and drawing electronically. However, you may also want to add the entry data into an excel spreadsheet with one entry per row to ensure you can enforce any entry limits e.g. if there is a maximum of 1 entry per person, it is easier to remove duplicates electronically then checking entries one by one by hand.

b. Online entries: On the other hand, if you collect entries via an online entry form, it is simpler to conduct the competition draw using a computerised drawing system. If you are anticipating 1,000’s of entries, it will be a time burden to print each entry individually and then draw from a barrel/container, therefore a competition draw generator may be the answer. There are options to conduct a competition draw manually with less intensity but it may not be the preferable method for most. E.g. if you receive 600 entries, print a pile of numbers 0-6 for the 100’s, 0-9 for the 10’s, and 0-9 for the 1’s. If you draw 4 for the 100s’s pile, 6 for the 10’s, and 2 for the 1’s, then the winning number would be 462.

2) Do you need an approved drawing system for an electronic competition draw?

a. If your promotion is conducted in SA, you will need an ‘approved’ drawing system. The application form and details are available at: An independent test report must be submitted with the application; and the SA electronic draw approval number must be quoted on any trade promotion permit application in SA. Importantly, the approval number is required even if you do not need a permit in SA.

b. To avoid the need to obtain approval of an electronic drawing system (which can be a tedious process), you can simply contact Plexus Promotion Wizard to conduct your electronic draw OR conduct the draw manually (see point 1 (b) above for details).

Other Considerations when conducting a competition draw in Australia:

  • Facebook/Instagram – Can you extract the data?: If you are anticipating few entries then you may want to copy/paste entries into an excel spreadsheet. However, if that is not the case, you need to find a program online which allows you to extract all entries from Facebook/Instagram (usually through inclusion of a specific hashtag or account handle).
  • Entry Limits: If there are entry limits in your terms e.g. limit 1 entry per person; ensure that your draw process allows you to comply with these restrictions. If you are collecting entries in an excel spreadsheet, then you need to remove duplicates before you conduct the draw (simply select ‘Data’ tab in excel and select the ‘Remove Duplicate’ function. If selecting multiple details regarding each entrant in a separate column (e.g. name, phone number, email address, home address), make sure to remove duplicates with the same of a different combination of these columns as entrants may for example enter multiple times using different email accounts. Be careful when doing this to not accidentally remove people with the same name, as they may legitimately be different people. If you do not enforce these limits it could lead to entrant complaints if you award the same person multiple prizes.
  • Limit on number of Prizes per Person: Where you have specified in the terms that there is a maximum of 1 prize per person, make sure if you do draw the same person multiple times that you invalidate their subsequent entries. E.g. if you draw the same person 5 times, allow the first entry and invalidate the other 4 entries. If you end up awarding more than 1 prize to the same entry, you could receive complaints from other entrants for non compliance with the terms, which leads to PR concerns; and you may need to award additional prizes at a later stage to deal with the issue which could be costly.

Need assistance with your promotion draw? Plexus Promotion Wizard can help.

Try Promotion Wizard today

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