Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Molly-Mae Hague t/a mollymaehague (MMH)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 3 March 2021
Law stated as at: 4 March 2021
To celebrate reaching 1 million subscribers on YouTube, MMH ran a prize draw on social media offering the chance to win £8,000 worth of luxury goods.
To enter, users were required to like the post, tag a friend, be subscribed to MMH’s YouTube and her two social media pages. Sharing the post earned a bonus entry and it was possible to earn numerous entries.
Twelve individuals complained that not all entrants were included in the “final draw” and so did not have an equal chance of winning. As such, it was challenged whether: the prize was awarded in accordance with the laws of chance, and the promotion was administered fairly.
MMH responded that:
- One hundred individuals that could be publicly seen to be following her profiles were randomly selected out of a hat by a member of her management team in the presence of an independent person. The 100 selected entrants were then manually checked for complying with the prize draw’s requirements before being assigned a number. A winner was then chosen by a random number generator.
- The prize draw did not promote a specific brand or product and therefore fell outside the scope of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code).
The ASA concluded that the promotion had not been administered fairly and therefore breached the Code. In particular:
- The ASA’s ruling highlighted that the full requirements had only been applied to the 100 selected entrants and inconsistent information about the prize draw mechanism and rules were provided on social media. MMH also did not provide any evidence to show that the eventual winner was chosen randomly.
- The fact that the prize draw required participants to like a post, tag a friend, and subscribe and follow MMH’s social media accounts, including one for her own tanning products (which were offered as part of the prize package), meant that the prize draw fell within the scope of the Code.
Why this matters:
This ruling is a good reminder of many key principles of running a prize draw fairly. In particular:
- the entry requirements for a prize draw should be applied fairly to every entrant,
- the importance of providing consistent prize draw rules and information in social media posts, and
- that the ASA expects to be provided evidence of how a prize draw is administered fairly.
In addition, brands and advertisers should ensure that appropriate measures are ready to randomly select winners of prize draws fairly in accordance with the rules of the prize draw. In this case, MMH claimed that the prize draw had been administered in the “best possible way” in light of the overwhelming number of entries. However, the ASA flagged that computer software to properly select a winner was available but MMH “had chosen not to use it”.
The ruling was not unexpected as this is not the first time that MMH has failed to select a prize draw winner fairly. Information about her previous prize draw offering is available here.