Who: Molly-Mae Hague and the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 21 September 2020
Law stated as at: 29 September 2020
Molly-Mae Hague (former Love Island contestant turned social media influencer) received considerable backlash for a prize promotion administered on Instagram that offered “lots of Apple goodies” to a lucky winner. With the number of entrants tipping 3 million, Molly-Mae selected a pool of just 25 to be entered into a random winner generator.
The prize promotion fell short of the requirements set out in the CAP Code in multiple ways, including:
- Prize description: The CAP code stipulates that prizes should be clearly described, specifying the number and nature of the prizes. If the exact number cannot be pre-determined, then a reasonable estimate of the number and a statement of their nature must be made. Molly-Mae’s competition included such vague details as the prizes including “lots of Apple goodies”, with no indication of what constituted a lot, or what these ‘goodies’ were.
- Eligibility requirements: The promotion did not stipulate who could enter, whether this was restricted by age or geography – the risk being that prize draws can be regulated or even illegal depending on the jurisdiction.
- Selection of winners: The CAP Code requires that winners should be selected in accordance with the laws of chance by an independent person or under supervision of an independent entity. Choosing winners using a computerised selection process is acceptable as long as that process is demonstrably fair and genuinely random. The main objection to the process was that there was no indication that there was a second step to be entered into the final 25-person draw, leaving many feeling that they missed out on a genuine chance to win.
Understandably, the prize promotion received negative publicity, in particular in respect of the way that the winner was selected.
Why this matters:
The ruling serves as a good reminder that the promoters of prize promotions need to ensure that the technology is available to choose winners in accordance with the CAP Code rules, irrespective of the number of entries received. In particular, simple entry mechanisms may attract a high number of entries and promoters should ensure that they are equipped to deal with this. In addition, the CAP Code requirements for the terms of a prize promotion apply even when the prize promotion is being administered via Instagram and entrants must be provided with the required information about the prize draw.