“I’m giving away 2 tickets for our home match against Stoke” started Tweet #1 of a series by Rio Ferdinand promoting his own competition run by his agents New Era Global Sports Management. But had the Tweets effectively communicated all the contest rules? Tom Harding reports the ASA verdict.
Topic: Social media
Who: New Era Sports Management Limited (and Rio Ferdinand) and the ASA
When: April 2012
Law stated as at: May 2012
The ASA recently ruled on a complaint regarding a prize competition run from the Twitter account of footballer Rio Ferdinand and apparently administered by his agents New Era Global Sports Management Ltd.
Over a series of tweets in January 2012, Rio informed his (legendary legion of) Twitter followers that they could win a pair of tickets to watch Manchester United play Stoke City, with access to the players' lounge included.
At 1.56pm on 26 January Rio tweeted "If you have downloaded the Rio Ferdinand app on iphone/ipad/Android or do so by Monday 5pm u may be randomly picked out to win the tickets! GO". Subsequent Tweets in response to Twitter users' questions confirmed that downloading the app on "all platforms" would make users eligible to enter. Another user also queried whether it was only individuals who downloaded the app between the announcement of the draw and the deadline that would be entered. Rio's engaged reply was "We only see registrations. Will be random pick&a unique message sent to winning device explaining how to collect tickets – no big brother!".
The (sole) complainant was nonetheless concerned that the terms and conditions of the competition were insufficiently clear however, including that it had not been stated how the winner would be randomly selected, and that there were no references to any specific terms and conditions (only the content of Mr. Ferdinand's various tweets). The ASA therefore investigated.
Complaint not upheld
The ASA took the view that Rio's initial Tweets had made it clear that he was offering a prize draw, and that further details were to follow. Subsequent Tweets then provided further information regarding the prize on offer. It was Rio's Tweet of 1.56pm on 26 January however that the ASA considered set out the 'main terms' of the prize draw including entry conditions and deadline, and how the winner would be selected. The ASA held that Rio's additional Tweets clarifying the platforms which were eligible and the information which would be used in order to select the winner also provided further clarification about the the draw.
The ASA stated that, despite the complainant's concerns that there were no references to terms and conditions, 'the significant terms were explained' in Rio's 1.56pm Tweet. Additionally, over the course of all the Tweets, 'all the significant terms and conditions of the prize draw had been set out'. As the selection process had also been sufficiently clear and had been properly administered, the ASA did not consider that the prize promotion had been misleading and therefore dismissed the complaint.
Why this matters:
This adjudication is of significance for advertisers and marketers. It makes clear that Twitter's 140 character limit is not necessarily a barrier to stop you using the platform for a prize promotion. This therefore potentially provides a much quicker and engaging format for running promotions and competitions while remaining within the CAP Code.