The ASA recently investigated a complaint by a canny “Win an iPhone every hour” Lucozade contest entrant. He found that an on pack code allowing entry could be used more than once. So far so good, but his complaint was that the promotion was misleading by not making this clear. Omar Bucchioni reports.
Topic: Promotion marketing
Who: ASA and GlaxoSmithKline plc
When: March 2011
Law stated as at: 30 March 2011
Recently the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated a promotion on Lucozade packaging. In essence, it was stated “WIN an iPhone EVERY HOUR*”. Smaller text stated “To be in with a chance of winning simply enter the code underneath the Best Before Date from the lid of your bottle.” The packaging also displayed a number of terms and conditions, including “Access to the internet and a valid email address are required in order to participate… Register and enter the promotional code obtained from specially marked packs.”
A cunning but unlucky person challenged whether the promotion was misleading because it was not clear that the codes on the bottles were generic and could be used more than once. He had used the same code to enter the competition three times, using that code once per hour, for three subsequent hours.
What GlaxoSmithKline had to say
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said that besides the fact that there was no requirement under the Code for promotions to state that entry codes could be used more than once, this did not give rise to any consumer detriment as each time a consumer entered they were given an equal chance of winning a prize..
GSK said that the Code stated “A sales promotion can provide an incentive for the consumer to buy by using a range of added direct or indirect benefits” and therefore recognised that promotions were marketing tools used to encourage sales.
GSK said it would be illogical for them to proactively provide information to consumers if that discouraged those consumers from purchasing the products in order to gain what were recognised as added benefits.
GSK said the promotional literature had never stated that any on-pack code was unique (using unique codes on packs would require millions of individual, bespoke labels to be printed). However, the bottle lid codes were not strictly generic and varied from batch-to-batch. Using the same code would not have limited an entrant’s chance of winning therefore experiencing no detriment. They also confirmed they would have honoured those entries.
What the ASA had to say
The promotion was conducted fairly: Not upheld – No further action necessary.
The ASA noted that for logistical reasons, the codes used by GSK were not strictly generic and varied from batch to batch. However, they considered that it was nonetheless reasonable for advertisers to use that type of sales promotion as an incentive for a consumer to buy their product.
They also noted that the GSK would honour all entries, including multiple entries using the same code.
They considered that the claim “WIN an iPhone EVERY HOUR” and “To be in with a chance of winning simply enter the code” was sufficiently clear to explain how consumers were able to enter the competition and that it was not a significant condition of the promotion to state that the codes could be used more than once because this was unlikely to cause consumers to take a transactional decision that they would not otherwise have taken (i.e. consumers had not been materially misled).
Therefore the ASA concluded that the promotion did not breach the Code.
Why this matters:
A couple of points to take away from this adjudication:
1. promoters must make sure that the information provided to consumers on how to enter a competition is sufficiently clear; and
2. it is reasonable for advertisers to use a sales promotion where multiple entries using the same code is used as an incentive for a consumer to buy their product, provided the advertisers are able to honour all entries.
The case is reported on the ASA website.