Who: Walkers Snacks Ltd, Institute of Promotional Marketing, Advertising Standards Authority
Where: United Kingdom
When: 28 August 2013
Law as stated at: 30 September 2013
The terms and conditions for a recent prize promotion from Walkers Snacks relating to their Walkers Deep Ridge Crisps contained the following passage:
“The winners will be notified by telephone on the number used for their text entry by no later than 21 December 2012. The prizes must be claimed by 31st December 2012. All reasonable effort will be made to contact winners, however, if any of the prizes are not claimed by 31 December 2012 an alternative winner will be chosen at the Promoter’s sole discretion … The names and counties of the winners will be available between 1 February 2013 and 1 April 2013 upon application ….”
In a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, this promotion was challenged by the Institute of Promotional Marketing on the following grounds:
1. the list of winners only contained individuals’ first names; and
2. only 9 of the 41 prizes had been awarded 3 months after the closing of the competition.
Walkers Snacks response
On point #1, Walkers Snacks argued that they had applied the principles from the CAP Code rule 8.28.5 that “prizewinners much not be compromised by the publication of excessive personal information”. They had therefore decided only to publish the winners’ first names and counties so as not to disclose excessive information.
On point #2, Walkers Snacks stated that the first prize winner had been contacted on 19 December 2012 and awarded their prize. Due to an internal error, the agency then attempted to contact 15, rather than 40, second prize winners. Of these 15, 8 accepted their prize.
The agency then conducted a second round in April 2013 when they became aware of their original error. They contacted 30 additional second prize winners and 12 of these claimed their prize. Walkers Snacks believed this constituted reasonable efforts to source and contact the winners.
The CAP Code states that “Promoters must either publish or make available on request the name and county of major prizewinners.”
The ASA held that, even though prizewinners’ first names and their home country had been provided, this was insufficient information and full names should have been supplied. They held that the promotion had been improperly administered and was in breach of rule 8.28.5.
On the second point, the ASA held that, although a total of 45 second prizewinners were contacted by Walkers Snacks, the records indicated that they had only been called once. There was no record of a second attempt to contact them if they had not answered on that first occasion. The ASA stated that more than one attempt should have been made and, as a consequence, the promotion had not been properly administered. This breached rule 8.2.
The ASA told Walkers Snacks that the promotion should not be run again in the current format and that they should ensure that “adequate attempts” were made to contact the winners and their full names should be made available on request.
Why this matters:
This case indicates that, although the CAP Code emphasises the importance of maintaining privacy and protecting personal information, this should not prevent a marketer from publishing a prizewinner’s full name and home county on request following a prize promotion.
The decision also highlights the importance of taking adequate measures to contact prizewinners. It appears that only one attempt to contact a prizewinner will not be sufficient to satisfy rule 8.2 of the CAP Code.