The product packaging for Nescafe Gold Vanilla Latte instant coffee, seen in May 2019, featured a promotion to win a magazine subscription. White on red text at the top of the front of the pack stated "WIN A MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION. 100 AVAILABLE TO BE WON EVERY DAY*". Smaller text at the bottom of the front side of the pack stated "UK, IoM & CI. 18+. Online instant win between 28.03.19 to 08.05.19 plus catch-all draw to win one of five prizes ends 28.07.19. Purchase, registration, till receipt & Internet access required. No purchase necessary in NI. See back for details". Text on the back of the pack stated "1. Find your unique code inside promotional packs. 2. Enter your code online at www.nescafe.co.uk/win-a-mag-subscription to find out if you're a winner. 3. Choose from hundreds of magazine subscriptions to the value of £30". Smaller text stated "UK, IoM and CI residents only. 18+ ... 4,200 prizes available to be won in total. 100 winning moments available per day, each as 30 seconds slots only when the prize is available. These winning moments have been randomly allocated each day for 42 days".
The complainant, who believed that the promotion exaggerated consumers’ chances of winning a prize, challenged whether it was conducted fairly and equitably.
Nestle UK Ltd said that the independent third party they used for promotions had confirmed that the odds of winning a subscription were close to 28 to 1, which was exceptionally generous. They said their insurers had agreed with the statistical analysis done by the operator. They provided spreadsheets showing the number of entries and winners, and calculating the chances of winning. Nestle said they believed that they had provided more than enough information on the pack.
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 communications must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information was likely to mislead. The front of the pack stated "WIN A MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION. 100 AVAILABLE TO BE WON EVERY DAY*". The ASA considered that was likely to give consumers the impression that all of or at least the majority of those prizes would be won, in the absence of sufficiently prominent information explaining the details of how the promotion worked.
The claims at the top of the front of the pack were linked by an asterisk to smaller text at the bottom of the same side that stated, “Online instant win” and included dates for which the promotion was valid and also stated, “See back for details”. The back of the pack featured a three-step description of how the promotion worked, though there was no mention of the fact that consumers would only win if they entered codes at precise, randomly-selected moments throughout the day, which we considered was crucial to their understanding of the likelihood of winning a prize. Beneath this was further small print that stated the total number of entries available and explained that codes would need to be entered during one of 30 randomly allocated “winning moments” throughout the day in order to win a prize. However, we noted that the information was two steps away from the headline claim.
We reviewed the data provided by Nestle, which indicated that 10% of the total prizes available had been won throughout the promotional period and on some days wins had been very low. We considered that was unlikely to be in line with consumers’ understanding of the claim “100 AVAILABLE TO BE WON EVERYDAY” in isolation.
Given the importance of the “winning moments” mechanism to consumers’ understanding of their chances of winning, we considered that information had not been presented with sufficient prominence in this instance. On that basis, we considered that the ad exaggerated consumers’ chances of winning prizes and concluded that it breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.2 (Promotional marketing), 8.17 and 8.17.1 (Significant conditions for promotions) and 8.20 (Prize promotions).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Nestle UK Ltd to ensure that they did not exaggerate consumers’ chances of winning, including by presenting significant conditions to the promotion in a way that was insufficiently prominent.