ASA Adjudication on Carlsberg UK Ltd
Carlsberg UK Ltd
140 Bridge Street
6 July 2011
Number of complaints:
A prize promotion, on packs of Carlsberg, in January 2011, stated “Main Competition 2. There are 14 main prizes to be won in total. One prize will be won every week for the duration of the promotion. Each main prize consists of a 47 inch LG 3D TV, a Sky+HD box, a years subscription to Sky World and Sky+HD, and four pairs of 3D glasses. Everyone who buys a promotional pack will also be eligible to send off for a free pair of Carlsberg pint glasses ... All entries must be received by 7th January 2011 ... Free Pint Glasses 7. To apply for your free pair of Carlsberg pint glasses, entrants must send an envelope with their name and full address plus one token from a promotional pack to the following address: ... Applications must be received by 30 April 2011. Glasses available while stock lasts ...”.
The complainant challenged the availability of the free pair of Carlsberg pint glasses, because, having attempted to redeem the offer, he had been unable to obtain the glasses.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Carlsberg stated that the promotion made clear that the glasses were available while stocks lasted.
Carlsberg explained that they had forecasted the required stock levels for the promotion by comparison to a previous similar promotion. They said the previous promotion offered consumers the opportunity to claim a free England World Cup glass. They said the previous promotion was similar to the current promotion because both promotions ran for the same period of time, were run on-pack and were distributed across the off trade. They also explained that those two promotions were the only two glass promotions they had run in those channels.
Carlsberg said that 681,498 packs were distributed for the previous promotion and the redemption rate had been just under 0.2%. They said they estimated demand for the current promotion based on the same redemption rate. They believed the fact that the previous promotion ran during the World Cup meant that the uptake for that promotion would be greater than the current promotion.
Carlsberg said that 3,000,000 promotional packs were produced for the current promotion and they initially allocated 12,000 glasses to cover an estimated 6,000 redemptions, based on the 0.2% estimate. They explained that they allocated a further 8,000 glasses as a contingency to cover an extra 4,000 redemptions.
Carlsberg said that the response to the promotion far exceeded the anticipated demand. To meet the increased demand they said that they increased the number of glasses available to 40,000, to cover 20,000 redemptions. They said they subsequently increased the number of glasses again, to 60,000 to cover 30,000 redemptions. They said that the final increase meant that they were capable of meeting a redemption rate of 1%.
Carlsberg explained that they had now ordered sufficient glasses to fulfil all redemptions, including the complainants.
The ASA acknowledged that the promotion stated "Glasses available while stock lasts ...". We considered, however, that did not relieve Carlsberg of their obligation to do everything reasonable to avoid disappointing participants. We acknowledged that Carlsberg had now ordered sufficient glasses to fulfil all redemptions. However, we noted that in the first instance, Carlsberg had not made a sufficient estimate of demand and had sent the complainant a discount voucher which we were concerned did not constitute a substitute of equivalent value.
We also acknowledged that Carlsberg had based their stock level for the current promotion on a previous promotion, which they considered to be sufficiently similar. We noted that both promotions offered glasses and had been run on-pack and off-trade. However, we noted that the current promotion for a free pair of Carlsberg pint glasses had been run in conjunction with a promotion for a "main prize". We therefore considered that a comparison with a similar previous promotion would need to be with a promotion that also offered a main prize of similar value, to take account of any uplift that the offer of the main prize could have on sales and subsequently redemptions.
Because the previous promotion for an England World Cup glass had been run in isolation from any other prize, we considered it was not sufficiently similar to provide a reasonable basis for estimating demand for a prize promotion which had been run in conjunction with a significant "main prize". We therefore concluded that the promotion breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.2 (Sales promotions), 8.9, 8.10, 8.11 and 8.12 (Availability)
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We advised Carlsberg to ensure that they made a reasonable estimate of the likely response to promotions in future.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)