B. Sponsor: The Path to Purchase Institute, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 200, Chicago, Illinois 60631 (the “Institute”).

Who Enters?

The majority of entries come from the groups listed below; however, anyone involved with marketing or merchandising products in-store or online is eligible to enter.

  • Consumer product manufacturers
  • P-O-P design firms
  • Package design firms
  • Advertising, marketing and sales promotion agencies
  • Path-to-purchase companies including: digital, mobile, coupons, sampling and other media
  • Retailers

The Design of the Times Contest (the “Contest”) is open to any individual (over 18 years of age), company, agency or marketer that uses retail marketing located in the United States, except Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Jersey, Tennessee or Vermont. Employees of the Institute (including immediate family and household members of the Institute’s employees) and Judges are not eligible to enter or win. The contest is void outside the United States and where prohibited.

What is Eligible?

Entries must be for retail marketing activation tactics that appeared between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018 (the “Eligible Period”). Samples or prototypes are not eligible for entry. 

Contest Entry Deadline

All entries must be completed and received by Friday, June 1, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. CDT (however, entries received from June 1, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. CDT to June 8, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. CDT will be subject to an increased fee – see “Entry Fee” below).

How to Enter 

The deadline to submit your 2018 entry has passed. Stay tuned for a list of finalists in late July. Good luck to all who entered! 


A total of five (5) distinctions will be awarded – Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Best of the Times (each a “Prize”). In addition, the platinum award for the supermarket category will be named "Progressive Grocer Activation of the Year"; the platinum for convenience stores will be named "Convenience Store News Activation of the Year"; and the top scoring digital/mobile activation will be named "Consumer Goods Technology (CGT) Activation of the Year".

Each prize is an industry accolade; there is no retail value for any prize. Exact details of each prize will be determined by the sole discretion of the Institute. Any additional expense incurred by a winner in accepting a prize will NOT be reimbursed by the Institute.

Number of Entries

There is no limit to the number of entries that eligible entrants may submit. Each entry must be submitted separately and include an electronically-completed entry form and photo upload. An entry is not considered complete until order summary form and payment are received by the Institute. Entries can be submitted in multiple retail channels, but must be entered separately in each channel.

Judging & Winning Criteria

Judging will be performed by consumer product marketers/manufacturers and retail industry professionals along with industry leaders from the Forum of Merchandising Executives. Each entry will be reviewed for how well it achieved its objective and how well it executed the "4Cs of Effective In-Store & Digital Activation" (see chart below for explanation).

Finalists will be announced in late July. Finalists are required to set up their entry in the Design of the Times Gallery in preparation for the final round of judging at the Path to Purchase Expo. Other outstanding examples of the best activation tactics and solutions may also be invited to be showcased in the Gallery. Finalists are responsible for all arrangements and expenses related to setup including, but not exclusive to, drayage and labor.

Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Best of the Times prize winners will be announced at the main stage keynote on October, 4 at the Path to Purchase Expo.

Entries needing more than 20 square feet of floor space require pre-approval prior to submission. This information is critical for planning space in the Gallery. Contact Kelly Doering at [email protected] for information.

The Institute reserves the right to reclassify entries. The Institute further reserves the right to disqualify any entry that does not comply with these Official Rules.

Fee Information

Normal entry fees: $499.00 per entry for members of the Path to Purchase Institute or Path to Purchase Expo Exhibitors; $549.00 per entry for all other entrants.

Late entry fees (submitted between 5:00pm CDT June 1, 2018 and 5pm CDT June 8, 2018): $599.00 per entry for members of the Path to Purchase Institute or Path to Purchase Expo Exhibitors; $649.00 per entry for all other entrants.

Entries requiring 110-volt electricity: add $95 per entry.

Fees are non-refundable, including those for disqualified or withdrawn entries. Entries received after the contest deadline are not returned and fees will not be refunded.

Payment Information

Checks and money orders should be made payable to the Path to Purchase Institute. All payments must be received prior to the entry deadline.

VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are also accepted. Include complete card information (type of card, card number, expiration date, name on card, amount to be charged) on your Order Summary along with the cardholder's signature.

Entrants are responsible for all arrangements and expenses arising out of their submission, including shipping costs, set-up fees and labor.

Shipment/Display of Entries – Finalists Only

Finalists will be notified by email in late July after the first round of judging and will subsequently receive instructions regarding shipping, delivery dates and detailed information for ordering drayage and onsite services.

Only finalists will be required to ship their display(s) to the Design of the Times Gallery at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN. 

Finalists are required to set up their entries in the Design of the Times Gallery at the Path to Purchase Expo in preparation for the final round of judging on October 2, 2018. Finalists are responsible for all arrangements and expenses arising out of their submission, including shipping costs, set-up fees and labor.

Winners List

A list of winners will be available at dot-awards.com after the final awards ceremony at the Path to Purchase Expo.

Data Collection

The Institute will be collecting personal data about entrants when they enter the Contest. Please review the Institute’s privacy policy statement at p2pi.org/privacy. By participating in the Contest, entrants hereby agree to all of the terms and conditions of the privacy statement of the Institute.

License/Third-Party Releases

Each entrant must obtain all necessary third-party releases and consents required for entrant to compete and for the entry to be published (in print and online).

All material submitted for the Contest becomes the property of the Institute and will not be returned. The Institute reserves the publishing rights for the use of all Contest materials. Submission of an entry grants the Institute, its agents and affiliates the right to publish, use, adapt, edit and/or modify an entry in any way, in any and all media now known or to be developed, without limitation and without additional compensation to entrant. Entries must be original work by the entrant and must not infringe on any third-party’s rights.

Acceptance of a prize constitutes permission for the Institute to use the entrants’ name, photograph or likeness for purposes of advertising and promoting the Institute, its affiliates and the Contest.

Entrant Acknowledgements

By entering the Contest, each entrant agrees to the terms of the Official Rules and decisions of the Institute. Entrants are responsible for any and all taxes and/or fees and any additional costs that may be incurred in connection with participating in the Contest.

The Institute reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend, change, cancel or suspend the Contest (or any portion of the Contest) at any time for any reason and award the prizes from among eligible entries received at the time of such action, should malicious tampering (or other causes beyond the Institute’s control) corrupt the administration or proper execution of the Contest (as determined in the Institute’s sole discretion).

The Institute reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant found or suspected to be: (i) tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or (ii) acting in violation of these Official Rules. Any attempt by an entrant to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be in violation of criminal and civil laws, and the Institute reserves the right to seek damages from any such entrant to the fullest extent permitted by law.

The Institute reserves the right to amend or change the Official Rules at any time, in its sole discretion. By entering the Contest after the amendment of the Official Rules, the entrant consents to be bound by the amendments.

Limitation of Liability

By entering the Contest each entrant agrees to release, defend, hold harmless and indemnify the Institute and its affiliates, directors, officers, employees and agents against any and all liabilities, damages or causes of action (however named or described), with respect to or arising out of any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind arising out of entrant’s participation in the Contest or caused by the acceptance of a Prize.

In addition, each entrant participates in the Contest at their own risk. The Institute shall not be liable to any entrant for costs incurred or damages arising out of: (i) any printing or typographical errors in these Official Rules or any other materials associated with the Contest; (ii) any errors in the administration of the Contest, including, without limitation, the processing of entries; (iii) unauthorized human intervention in the Contest; (iv) technical errors related to computers, servers, providers, or telephone or network lines; or (v) lost, late, postage-due, misdirected, or undeliverable mail. The Institute is not liable for any loss arising out of or in connection with or resulting from the Contest, including, without limitation, any cost arising from any event beyond the Institute’s control that may cause the Contest to be disrupted.

Each entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages, or any other damages, including attorneys’ fees, other than entrant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., costs associated with entering this Contest), and entrant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of contestants and the Institute in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the substantive laws of the State of Illinois, without regard to Illinois’ choice of law rules. All proceedings shall take place in Cook County, Illinois.