The CAP Code rules on when prize draw and competition organisers need to think about independent supervisors and judges have been the same for years. So why are some promotion service suppliers suggesting things changed with the new Code?
Topic: Promotion marketing
Who: The Committee of Advertising Practice and a promotion service supplier
When: May/June 2003
Following the launch on 11 March 2003 of the new CAP Code of Advertising Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing, all complaints to the Advertising Standards
Authority received since 4 June 2003 have been adjudicated under the new Code. The occasion has been an excellent opportunity for reminding advertisers of the existence of the Code and trumpeting its importance for British advertising.
On the negative side, however, the odd white lie has been told about supposed new bits in the new 11th edition. One such fib relates to supposedly tighter restrictions on the running of prize promotions. There is also a suggestion from the same quarter that the new Code will be "more vigorously enforced", when marketinglaw is not aware of any recent indication that the existing vigorous enforcement of the CAP Code is to be even more vigorous.
These suggestions have been made in the letters column of a marketing journal and in a direct mail campaign. They are as follows:
1. promoters of prize draws should ensure that they are conducted "under the supervision of an independent observer"; and.
2. where the selection of winning entries is open to subjective interpretation an independent judge who is also independent of the competition's promoters and intermediaries should be appointed and the judges should be competent to judge the subject matter of the competition.
Marketinglaw is not down-playing the importance of these requirements, but the fact is that contrary to the suggestion made by this particular marketer, both these requirements were contained in the old Code and have been around for some years.
Having said this, there is one area here where there has been a genuine tightening of the position under the new Code. This is in the context of instant win tickets. 40.7 of the old Code stated that in the case of instant win promotions, "verification can take the form of an independently audited statement that prizes have been distributed". 35.8 of the new Code, however, goes one step further. It states "where instant win tickets, tokens or numbers are involved, verification should take the form of an independently audited statement that all prizes have been distributed, all made available for distribution in that manner".
So in this context, the position has moved from a polite suggestion to a clear requirement.
Why this matters:
There is clearly no harm in drawing marketers' attention to important provisions of the CAP Code, but businesses whose service is supposed to be an aide to compliance should take care that their own advertising material is compliant.