A prize draw, seen on 23 February 2018 on the label of a Highland Spring water bottle, offered entrants the opportunity of an "instant win". The label stated “WIN PRIZES WITH H20omph 10,000 to be won”. Further text stated “Open 01/02/18 - 30/06/18. "Enter online "instant" win at www.highlandspring.com/H20omph & enter details, bottle batch code and time stamp". Prizes: 50 3-night stays for 4 (2 adults, 2 children 2-11 yrs) in an unusual location; 50 train journey experiences (2 adults); 9,900 experiences for 2-4D cinema, aqua assault course or Segway. Restrictions apply. Not all prizes may be won. Retain bottle to claim. No purchase necessary, NI and ROI only. Bonus draw 01/07/18-31/12/18. Ts&Cs on website.
The complainant, who understood that in order to win, an entrant's time stamp would have to correspond with the "moment" randomly selected by a computer system, challenged whether the promotion was misleading.
Highland Spring Ltd stated that there were ten thousand prizes available to be won over the promotional period, which ran from 1 February 2018 and was due to finish on 30 June 2018, with a final “bonus draw” that was due to operate between 1 July 2018 and 31 December 2018.
They stated that entrants had to submit a promotional code found on their bottle, which consisted of a time code and batch stamp, during a winning "moment" – a second-long period selected at random by an independently verifiable process, to win a prize.
Highland Spring stated that short terms and conditions were provided on the pack and full terms and conditions were available on the promotional website alongside frequently asked questions. They referred to the relevant section in the full terms and conditions on the website, which stated that "Prizes are allocated randomly to predetermined winning moments (‘Winning Moments’) via a secure, independently verified computer system. The entry submitted at the relevant Winning Moment will win a Prize. Although all Prizes are available to be won, there is no guarantee they will all be won".
They stated that there was an expectation that consumers would read the terms and conditions for any promotion and that on the back of their packaging it stated that prizes were available to be won but not guaranteed.
The CAP Code stated that marketers must be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants and must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment. It also stated that marketing communication must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information was likely to mislead.
The ASA noted that the most prominent claim relating to the promotion appeared on the front of the label and stated "WIN PRIZES WITH H20omph 10,000 TO BE WON". Although we acknowledged that the back of the label stated “Not all prizes may be won”, the short terms and conditions on the label did not give any information on how the promotion worked or otherwise explained how likely a consumer was to win a prize. From the information provided on the label, we considered the most likely expectation was that the bottle batch code determined whether a prize would be won, and that the reason some prizes would not be won was because not everyone with a winning batch code would go to the website to claim their prize.
We understood that neither the batch code nor any other information unique to the bottle purchased determined whether a participant won a prize. Instead, they had to enter their details at exactly the same second as randomly selected by a computer, with each prize being linked to a “winning moment”. If nobody happened to enter their details during a “winning moment”, the prize associated with that moment would not be won. It was therefore possible for the number of prizes won to be significantly lower than the 10,000 that were available. We considered that the mechanics of the instant win promotion meant that the chances of winning a prize were much lower than the information on the label suggested.
We considered that the terms that related to the awarding of prizes were likely to significantly influence a consumer’s understanding and decision to participate in the promotion. Whilst we recognised that the full terms and conditions were available on the website, it was not sufficient for significant conditions to appear only in the terms and conditions.
Because the label did not make clear how prizes were allocated, or otherwise manage prospective participant’s expectations of the likelihood of winning, we considered that the promotion was misleading and that it had caused unnecessary disappointment for participants.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment.
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 (Significant conditions for promotions) and 8.20 8.20 Promoters must not exaggerate consumers' chances of winning prizes. They must not include a consumer who has been awarded a gift in a list of prize winners. (Prize promotions).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Highland Spring Ltd to ensure that their future ads managed prospective participants’ expectations of the likelihood of winning, or otherwise made significant conditions, such as how prizes were allocated or awarded, clear in order to avoid misleading or causing unnecessary disappointment.