Background

Summary of Council decision:

Three issues were investigated, all of which were Upheld.

Ad description

A website for KS Competitions, www.kscompetitions.co.uk, seen on 3 August 2020, included a promotion for a “Cloud Nine Set”. At the top of the page, text stated “Competition ends: August 31, 2020 12:00am”, “Timezone: Europe/London”. Text underneath stated “This competition has a minimum of 399 tickets”, “This competition is limited to 400 tickets”, “Tickets sold: 14”, “This competition will have 1 winner” and “Only 386 remaining!”. The ad included images of a hairdryer, hair curlers and hair straighteners, alongside which text stated “Cloud Nine Set” and “£0.99” next to a crossed out “£1.49”. A list of text underneath stated “To Enter”, “Login/Register”, “Answer the question” and “Pick a number”. Below that text stated “What is 10+4” with two options to answer, either 14 or 17, and underneath was a grid with ticket numbers. At the bottom of the page, text stated “Notice: If all tickets on this competition are not sold by either the end date or the extended end date (see Terms & Conditions for Closing Date policy), then the winner will receive a cash prize of 70% of all the tickets bought. You will be contacted if you are the lucky winner! Best of luck” and “Look up T&C’s for free entry method”.

Issue

1. The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading because the free entry route was not explained clearly and prominently. The ASA challenged whether the promotion breached the CAP Code because: 2. the competition’s end date would be extended if the maximum number of entries had not been sold; and 3. a cash alternative prize of 70% of ticket sales was given to the winner instead of the prize if the maximum number of entries had not been sold, which was not equivalent to the value of the original prize.

Response

KS Competitions Ltd said they used the same procedure as other similar competition companies. They said that they stated information clearly in each prize description as well as in the terms and conditions.

Assessment

1. Upheld The CAP Code stated that all marketing communications referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information was likely to mislead. Significant information could include information about any free entry route, which should be explained clearly and prominently. The ASA considered that the free entry route was significant information that consumers should have been made aware of so that they could make an informed choice about how to enter the promotion. The free entry route should therefore have been explained clearly and prominently. The ad stated “Look up T&C’s for free entry method” in small text at the bottom of the page, but did not include any other information and did not include a link to the terms and conditions page. On the terms and conditions page the free entry method was stated within a long series of terms and conditions. We considered that by including information about the free entry route only in the terms and conditions meant it was not explained clearly and prominently. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code. On that point the promotion breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules  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:  and  8.17.2 8.17.2 Free-entry route explanation
Any free-entry route should be explained clearly and prominently
 (Significant conditions for promotions). 2. Upheld The CAP Code stated that closing dates for promotions must not be changed unless unavoidable circumstances outside the control of the advertiser made it necessary, and either not to change the date would be unfair to those who sought to participate within the original terms, or those who sought to participate within the original terms would not be disadvantaged by the change. The ad stated that if all tickets were not sold then the closing date would be extended by seven days, and that this extension would be repeated up to four times if all tickets still had not been sold. However, we considered that not selling all available tickets did not constitute unavoidable circumstances outside of the advertisers’ control that made it necessary to extend the closing date even once. We therefore concluded that on that point, the ad breached the Code. On that point the promotion breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules  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:    8.17.4 8.17.4 Closing date
 and  8.17.4 8.17.4 Closing date
  (Significant conditions for promotions). 3. Upheld The CAP Code stated that promoters must award the prizes as described in their marketing communications or reasonable equivalents. The ad stated that the prize was a Cloud Nine Set which included a hairdryer, hair curlers and hair straighteners. We acknowledged that the ad also stated that if all tickets were not sold (after a number of extensions to the closing date) then the winner would receive 70% of ticket sales instead of the advertised prize. However, we considered that was not sufficient to dispel the impression created by the ad that the purpose of entering the competition was to be in with a chance of winning the advertised prize. We considered that a promotion which relied on generating a sufficient number of ticket sales, such that 70% of those sales would be equivalent value to the price of the prize, was likely to breach the Code if they failed to sell the requisite number of tickets. Because we had not seen evidence that the prize or a reasonable equivalent was awarded, we concluded that the promotion breached the Code. On that point the promotion breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule  8.15.1 8.15.1 Promoters must award the prizes as described in their marketing communications or reasonable equivalents, normally within 30 days.
 (Administration).

Action

We told KS Competitions Ltd that their future promotions must include a clear and prominent explanation of any free entry route. We also told them that they must not change the closing date for promotions unless unavoidable circumstances beyond their control made it necessary and that either not to change the date would be unfair to those who sought to participate within the original terms, or those who sought to participate within the original terms would not be disadvantaged by the change. They also must ensure that they awarded the prizes as described in their marketing communications, or reasonable equivalents.

BCAP Code

8.15.1     8.17     8.17.2     8.17.4     8.17.4.E    

CAP Code (Edition 12)

8.15.1     8.17     8.17.2     8.17.4     8.17.4.E    


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