A poster, two Instagram posts and a Twitter post for two Prettylittlething.com promotions:
a. The poster ad, seen in three locations between 25 January and 7 February 2018, stated “WANT FREE CLOTHES? FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @PRETTYLITTLETHING prettylittlething.com”.
b. An Instagram ad, presented as an Instastory, featured on Prettylittlething’s Instagram account, seen on 1 February 2018, stated “SEEN OUR BILLBOARDS? TO ENTER…STEP 1: FOLLOW @PRETTYLITTLETHING STEP 2: COMMENT ‘FREE CLOTHES’ ON ANY POST!”.
c. A Tweet, featured on Prettylittlething’s Twitter account, seen on 21 February 2018, stated “WIN £1000 PLT vouchers find the PLT unicorn on our Instagram, FOLLOW and comment “PLTUnicorn” on the post Instagram.com/prettylittlething”.
d. An Instagram ad, presented as an Instastory, featured on Prettylittlething’s Instagram account, seen on 21 February 2018, stated “SPOT THE UNICORN! TO ENTER: Find the PLT unicorn on @Prettylittlething Instagram feed and comment ‘PLTunicorn’ MAKE SURE YOU’RE FOLLOWING PLT TOO!”.
Five complainants challenged whether the omission of the terms and conditions from the ads was misleading.
PrettyLittleThing stated that with regards to ads (a) and (b) the prize draw was a limited time promotion running from 3 January 2018 to 30 February 2018. They explained that the idea behind the prize draw was to take consumers on a journey by seeing the billboard poster with the caption “WANT FREE CLOTHES? FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @PRETTYLITTLETHING”. The consumer would then visit the @prettylittlething Instagram account, which would feature an Instagram story together with other Instagram activity that provided details on how the consumer could win free clothes by entering the prize draw.
They stated that the entrant would firstly have to follow the @prettylittlething Instagram account, and then the Instastory would be available for the individual to view. They amended the Instastory at a later date so that the terms and conditions could be reviewed by swiping up from the story. These terms and conditions could also be found on the PrettyLittleThing Facebook page. The following Instastory would then set out the steps the consumer would need to take to enter, for example by commenting “Free Clothes” on any of Pretty Little Thing’s Instagram posts to enter the prize draw. They provided a copy of the terms and conditions for the promotion.
In respect of ads (c) and (d), the promotion was a time limited competition running from 19 February to 28 February 2018. They explained that the terms and conditions were linked to the Instastory where the ads directed consumers to Instagram. That enabled consumers to view the full terms and conditions when swiping up from the Instastory. They stated that in future, Instastories would include the URL for the relevant terms and conditions. They explained that the Twitter post (ad (d)) linked to their Instagram page which included a story allowing consumers to swipe up to see the relevant terms and conditions. They provided a copy of the terms and conditions for the promotion.
The CAP Code stated that all marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information was likely to mislead. That could include, for example, providing a prominent closing date for submissions of entries (if applicable) and setting out restrictions such as age.
The ASA welcomed PrettyLittleThing’s action to link the terms and conditions to their Instastories in the future and we acknowledged that the ads (b) and (d) were later amended to include a link to swipe up to view the terms and conditions. However, we noted that none of the ads had referenced or provided links to the terms and conditions at the time they were seen by the complainants which meant that they were unable to retain or easily access the terms and conditions prior to entering the prize draws. We considered that significant terms and conditions such as the closing date of the promotion and applicable age restrictions should also have been included on the main body of the ad itself in both online and offline formats.
We understood that ad (a) did not include any detailed information about how entrants could enter the prize draw other than directing consumers to their Instagram page and this was likely to mean that consumers would have to complete a number of steps to find out how to participate without having access to the full terms and conditions. We also considered that the eligibility criteria set out in the terms and conditions for the promotion featured in ads (a) and (b) had stated that entrants must have been over the age of 18 and for ads (c) and (d) entrants must have been over the age of 16. We understood that consumers were likely to be unaware of the applicable age restrictions as that information was not included in the ads. Additionally, the ads did not reference the closing dates for either promotion. We considered that these were significant conditions that were likely to influence consumers' understanding of these promotions and their decision to participate, and therefore considered that these should have been made clear before or at the time of entry.
Because the ads did not include all significant terms and conditions relating to the promotions, they had breached the CAP Code.
The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
All marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information is likely to mislead. Significant conditions or information may, depending on the circumstances, include:
How to participate
How to participate, including significant conditions and costs, and other major factors reasonably likely to influence consumers' decision or understanding about the promotion 8.17.4 8.17.4 Closing date
(Significant conditions for promotions), 8.17 8.17 All marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information is likely to mislead. Significant conditions or information may, depending on the circumstances, include: 7 (Restrictions) and 8.28 8.28 Participants must be able to retain conditions or easily access them throughout the promotion. In addition to rule 8.17, prize promotions must specify on all marketing communications or other material referring to them, the following information, clearly before or at the time of entry, where the omission of any of the specified items is likely to mislead. (Prize Promotions).
The ads must not appear again in the form complained about. We told PrettyLittleThing to ensure that their ads for promotions clearly included all significant terms and conditions, such as how to participate and the closing dates.