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Jeremy Stern, founder and CEO of PromoVeritas



We got to sit down with Jeremy Stern, the founder and Chief Executive of PromoVeritas, a company dedicated to ensuring promotional compliance in prize promotions.

We got to work with Jeremy Stern, the founder and CEO of PromoVeritas, a company dedicated to ensuring price promotion compliance.

With over twenty years of experience, Jeremy shares the inspiration behind his business, his journey to maintaining integrity and honesty in the industry, and his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. From overseeing the prize draws to handling global campaigns for major brands, PromoVeritas has established itself as a leader in promotional compliance, ensuring every competition runs smoothly and legally.

What do you do at PromoVeritas? What was the inspiration behind your business?

I am the founder and CEO of PromoVeritas, the independent promotional compliance agency. PromoVeritas was created with a single purpose: to ensure that price promotions are set up and implemented fairly, legally and safely. We would not interfere with the creative idea, but leave that to the large advertising agencies. What I wanted to focus on was the ‘back-end’; the delivery of the idea, something that was often forgotten. And the inspiration came from my experience as a marketing manager and marketing director for a number of major brands. The secretary might pick the winner of a prize draw, an intern might ‘judge’ just a few of the entries for a competition, not all of them, and as for those instant ‘Golden Ticket’ prize promotions, who could say if they were randomly selected? all those ‘ten cars to win’ special packages issued?

And we have been true to that idea for more than 20 years, but we have expanded our range of services. Not only do we oversee hundreds of prize draws and competitions each year, we now also do all the legal work, writing terms and conditions and checking artwork; we also build the websites that receive entries, handle all the winners, check their eligibility and arrange their prizes. Crucially, we do all this for brands around the world. It could be a package deal for Pringles in 40 countries, or a global social media campaign – we’ve been behind the amazing Hunt the Cadbury Crème Egg promotion for twelve years. We sneak into the Cadbury factory late at night, oversee the creation of the special eggs (this year they were half white, half dark chocolate) and then drive all over Britain and secretly place them in random shops so lucky consumers can find them and claim up to £10,000. We are professional Happy Makers!

Who do you admire?

I admire my late father, David Stern. He was an architect by profession, with a private practice in London and I still enjoy having his name on a plaque on a number of major buildings in the city (although his classic 70s design style is somewhat out of fashion now! ). But he was also an inventor and artist. At the age of 82, he was asked by the local newspaper to describe himself in three words: creative, thoughtful and ambitious. Still ambitious at the age of 82.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Absolute. I wish I had been braver and seen the opportunity to help brands with their cross-border campaigns much earlier. Brands like Amazon, Budweiser, Pokémon, Kellogg’s and Pepsi now trust us to deliver on their plans in more than 80 countries around the world. But sometimes it’s hard to see the magnitude of the opportunities when you’re so active every day, and even harder to have the courage to set aside the resources needed to take advantage of these opportunities. I learned from that and now we have a dedicated legal team, and work abroad is almost half of our turnover today. We’re also focusing on building our digital work, where we can create the microsites that actually run the campaigns, where people come in. This has taken significant investment (and some failures) but is now paying off and we are running some great campaigns. This allows us to leverage the data collected and help our customers with better planning and targeting based on these learnings. .

What defines your way of doing business?

In terms of the way we do business, I have two mantras: be honest and be long-term. We strive to execute our clients’ campaigns with honesty and integrity, so we must run our business along the same lines. I would much rather keep a client working with us by working on a low margin than making a high margin on their first project with us. Our focus is strongly on repeat purchases and 70% of our revenue comes from customers who have been with us for more than 5 years. Moreover, we must earn the trust of our customers and their consumers. The buck literally stops with us. So we pay special attention to honesty. Delays, errors and overruns all need to be communicated to the customer quickly. No cover-ups. Fortunately, there are very few, but it can happen – we are human. One time we gave the customer the wrong passcode for a Text-to-Win campaign. They printed it on posters that ended up in 1,000 stores. The code did not work for some networks. We had to organize an army of people to visit all 1,000 stores and put up a sticker with the new code. It cost us over £80,000, but we paid it with a smile on our faces because that’s what good looks like. And the customer is still with us.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

There may be a gap in the market, but is there a market in the gap? Just because no one else has done it doesn’t mean you can make money off the idea. The best new business ideas don’t come from nowhere, but from the individual’s experience in other roles; they see better ways to do what they currently do, or new products or services associated with that role. So don’t be afraid to change jobs or try new industries – maybe you can transfer the experience from one area to another and be seen as a superhero! Finally, stay focused on the customer. Think about them, their needs and their feedback, and you will find it easier to succeed.