The CAP Code deals with sales promotions in Section 8, the second largest section of the Code, which considers the mechanics and requirements of sales promotions in detail. The AdviceOnline article Sales Promotions: General has recently been updated and is a useful summary of the Section as a whole.

This article gives an overview of significant conditions of sales promotions, an area where unfortunately marketers can trip themselves up by inadequately explaining conditions of the sales promotion. Failing to provide significant information at the crucial point is likely to cause unnecessary disappointment and it’s worth remembering that sales promotions that result in a consumer having cause to complain and the ASA upholding the complaint not only breaches the CAP Code but undermines one of the very reasons to run a sales promotion: spreading positive awareness of a brand or product.

Consumers should be able to make the decision as to whether they want and are eligible to participate from the initial advertising copy. Significant conditions are those which are expected to be set out in the initial advertising material. They are described in rule 8.17 and include: how to participate; any closing date, any restrictions and nature of the prize or gift.

The list in rule 8.17 is not exhaustive and promoters should take to care to consider whether there are any other major factors reasonably likely to influence a consumer’s decision or understanding about the promotion. Which of the listed conditions an individual promoter will need to include depends on the circumstances of their promotion. For example, the start date is only going to be necessary if advertisements for the promotion run prior to the promotion period. If a promotion is not open to everyone, this fact should be made clear to people who may read the ad. Some conditions, such as any intention to use winners in post-event publicity, do not need to be in the initial ad but should be stated before, or at the time of entry (Rule 8.28).

If the initial ad is severely restricted by time or space it must include as much information about significant conditions as practicable (Rule 8.18). In such online marketing communications it may be considered sufficient to have conditions of entry one click away from the display, banner or tweet ad. For example ‘Enter our prize draw on our website to win a [briefly describe prize] by 1pm DD.MM.YY over 18s only see T&Cs [hyperlink]’ might be appropriate for a relatively straightforward online prize draw that is severely restricted in this manner.

The AdviceOnline article Sales Promotions: Terms and Conditions shows how in some circumstances there may not need to be a link to further conditions because the information has been successfully stated in the initial ad.

In traditional media there may be circumstances where limited space available precludes it from being an appropriate medium to advertise a complicated competition. In these circumstances advertisers might like to consider more general trailer copy such as ‘go to our website for all our prize draws and special offers’.

As ever, if you need help and guidance on your promotions, contact the CAP Copy Advice team on 0207 492 2100 or submit a query via the website.

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