Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Witcombe Festival Fields (Witcombe Festival)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 2 March 2022
Law stated as at: 23 March 2022
The ASA upheld two complaints against Witcombe Festival in relation to a comment-to-win prize draw which was advertised on Instagram on the basis that:
- the promotion terms and conditions were not easily accessible and retainable; and
- the advertiser had not provided sufficient evidence that the selection mechanism supplied verifiable random results.
Witcombe Festival said it had used a random online comment picker to select the winner but could not provide evidence to show the selection was made randomly nor demonstrate how the system worked. The ASA further noted that the terms and conditions of the prize draw had not been included or linked to in the Instagram post, and understood from the complainant that they received a series of messages via Instagram, rather than a direct link when they asked Witcombe Festival to provide a link to the terms and conditions.
The ASA considered that having to request the terms and conditions from the promoter was not consistent with them being easily accessible or retainable by participants in the draw. The ASA further held that having not been provided with evidence to demonstrate that the selection was made randomly (such as by a computer process that produced verifiably random results or by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person) and it was not clear from the advertisers response how the system worked or how it had been administered, the promotion was not administered fairly. The promotion was held to have breached The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) rules 8.2, 8.14, 8.24 and 8.28.
Why this matters:
The ASA upheld the complaints against a social media prize promotions on the basis that the promotion had been unfairly administered.
The CAP Code requires promoters of prize draws to:
- ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners are selected by a computer process that produced verifiably random results, this is done by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person; and
- provide entrants with easily accessible and retainable prize promotion terms and conditions.