Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Mondelez UK Ltd t/a Cadbury
Where: United Kingdom
When: 16 March 2022
Law stated as at: 25 March 2022
Cadbury offered consumers the opportunity to design their own chocolate bar via ww.cadburyinventor.co.uk. The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) requires that, in competitions (such as this) where selection of the winning entry is subjective, an independent judge or a panel that includes one independent member must be appointed. The full names of those appointed to judge the competition must also be made available on request.
The terms and conditions (seen on 19 July 2021) of this particular promotion said valid entries would be judged by an independent promotional verification service (PromoVeritas). Following this process, 20 entries would remain to be reviewed by a separate expert panel of judges. This panel would include at least one independent judge and 3 finalists would then be selected.
The complainant requested full names of the judges on the panel. Cadbury failed to provide the names as they said staff absences had meant that they could not obtain the judges’ consent to share their personal information at the time that the complaint was made. However, Cadbury had managed to provide details for PromoVeritas (which acted as an independent judge in the process), as well as the job titles of the internal judges. Cadbury’s believed that this was enough to demonstrate that the individuals concerned were adequately qualified to act as judges and that providing the names would not serve to evidence this further.
The complainant challenged whether this was in breach of the CAP Code. The ASA upheld the complaint on the basis that Cadbury had not taken sufficient steps to comply with the CAP Code requirement to release the name of the competition judges on request, before the promotion had started. The ASA considered that Cadbury should have pro-actively obtained GDPR compliant consent from the internal judges in advance of the competition, so that a different judge could have been appointed to the panel in the event that consent was not obtained.
Why this matters:
This adjudication demonstrates the importance, for advertisers, of ensuring that they make adequate resources available in order to the administer promotions in accordance with the CAP Code. This means taking a pro-active approach to promotion administration before the promotion goes live, including setting up the necessary GDPR mechanisms to ensure that judges’ names can released on request. Advertisers should also ensure that any third parties assisting with prize promotions are contractually required to assist with requests from regulators.