A national press ad and a radio ad for the 11 May edition of The Sun.
a. The national press ad stated, “FREE LEGO TOY WITH THIS PAPER ... PICK UP AT WH Smith, TOYS R US. VOUCHER: PAGE 18”. The ad included text which stated “Subject to availability, terms and conditions apply”.
b. The radio ad stated, “People of Britain every day this week The Sun are giving away free Lego toys. To every corner of the country Lego men will go. Their hearts may be plastic but they are big. Get your free Ninjago Dragon Fight only in tomorrow’s Sun. But hurry. Only while stocks last. Redeem at selected stores.”
1. Six complainants challenged whether the promotion in the press ad had been administered fairly, because they were unable to redeem their vouchers because of low stock levels.
2. One complainant challenged whether the promotion in the radio ad had been administered fairly, because they were unable to redeem their voucher because of low stock levels.
1. & 2. News Group Newspapers Ltd t/a The Sun (The Sun) stated that they intended to give away 2.7 million LEGO sets to their readers and believed they had correctly managed the stock availability. They stated that they had undertaken a study of previous similar offers and believed that they had made accurate estimates of the stock levels required for each of the 660 retail outlets which were supporting the offer. They stated that the stock levels at these individual stores were also altered on a daily basis as a result of the feedback they received from the store managers. They added that, in-line with their on-going customer services policy, they had also made a voluntary commitment that any reader who had been unable to redeem a toy would be posted the missing item or an equivalent within 28 days and that they had put aside 23,000 toys per day in preparation for this.
They explained that they had manned their customer service team with extra staff to explain to customers who were unable to redeem the voucher at their local store, that they could still claim the toy and stated that the out-of-hours message also made this clear.
The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) stated that they supported the advertiser’s comments and considered that stock levels had been accurately estimated to meet the likely demand.
1. & 2. Not upheld
The ASA noted the stock levels of 2.7 million items were based on the response to a similar promotion that had previously been carried out by The Sun. We also noted these stock estimations filtered down to the individual stores at which the offer could be redeemed and that customers who were unable to redeem their vouchers as a result of low stock at those stores were able to redeem the LEGO toy by contacting the customer services team at the Sun.
Although we understood some customers had been unable to redeem the LEGO toy at their local participating retailer, we considered that The Sun had shown that it had taken reasonable steps to estimate the likely response to the promotion and that it had administered the offer fairly.
We investigated the ads for the sales promotion under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. and 3.27 (Misleading advertising), 8.9 and 8.10 (Sales promotions) and BCAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. 3.28 3.28 Broadcasters must be satisfied that advertisers have made a reasonable estimate of demand. and 3.29.1 3.29.1 if estimated demand exceeds supply, advertisements must make clear that stock is limited (Misleading advertising) but did not find them in breach.
No further action required.