A promotion to win a tablet, featured in The Skinny magazine in April 2011. Text stated "Edinburgh International Science Festival is Scotland's biggest and best celebration of science and technology. From 9-22 April there will be special events, talks and interactive activities happening all over Edinburgh. To celebrate the opening of the 2011 Festival, we've teamed up with the Science Festival and one of their major sponsors to offer one lucky reader a Samsung Galaxy Samsung Tablet PC... Q: WHEN WILL THE 2011 SCIENCE FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE? To enter, visit [website address]. Terms: price is not redeemable for cash. Closing date: 30 April 2011. The Terms and Conditions were available at a website address listed in the ad and included "12.1.3: Winners will be notified via email after the closing date and prior to the expiry date of the prize".
The Institute of Promotional Marketing (IPM) challenged whether the competition had been administered fairly, because the winner was given only one week to respond to the promoter to claim the prize.
Radge Media trading as The Skinny (The Skinny) said the magazine was an events-based free magazine which ran around four competitions/promotions each month. They said each competition related to a time-specific promotional period and each prize required different response times from winners; for example, if a prize was tickets to a particular show, it would have to be claimed before the performance date. They said most winners were contacted by e-mail, and accepted their prize via e-mail.
They said the promotion to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet was advertised in print and online from 29 March, with a closing date of 30 April, which was clearly displayed wherever the competition was advertised. The potential winner was first informed of her win via e-mail at 10.15am on 3 May. They said no deadline to reply to accept the prize was set out in that first e-mail, but because they did not receive a response from the winner, they sent a further e-mail at 9.44am on 6 May 2011 setting out a deadline to claim the prize: the evening of 8 May. They stated that this deadline passed without reply and the prize was therefore offered to another person who accepted almost immediately. They believed the time given to respond was reasonable and was sufficient in light of the average response times of competition winners The Skinny dealt with on a regular basis. They noted they had not received any notification that the winner had not received the message that she had won by way of e-mail responder or auto-response, but stated that if they had been aware the original winner had been on holiday and had known her return date, they would have awaited her return.
Edinburgh International Science Festival said they supplied the prize and promotional copy for the competition but The Skinny was responsible for the administration, including selecting a winner and ensuring that they received the prize. They acknowledged that they were considered jointly responsible for the competition and would ensure they were involved in the management of all future promotions.
The ASA recognised that some prizes, such as theatre tickets, were time specific and might therefore require a short deadline by which winners should claim the prize. We noted that the prize in this case was not time specific. We also noted that, in this case, neither the ad nor the terms and conditions specified that winners must claim their prize by a specific date.
We understood that the original winner, the complainant, had first been contacted on 3 May by e-mail, but the advertisers had received no immediate response. We understood that she was then contacted a second time on 6 May and a deadline was set for 8 May at that stage. We noted that the complainant had therefore been given less than a week to claim the prize and, in the absence of any information in the ad or terms and conditions setting out a final date by which a prize should be claimed, we did not consider that six days, which we noted was less than a week, was a reasonable period of time to allow a winner to respond. We understood that the complainant had not responded during that time because she had been on holiday and had not picked up her e-mails during her holiday, but did not consider that it was common practice for people to leave an 'out of office' notification on personal e-mail accounts. We noted that she did respond on her return on 9 May.
Because we considered that, in the absence of any information in the original ad setting out a deadline for claiming the prize, the complainant had not been given a sufficient period of time to respond, we concluded that the promotion had not been administered fairly.
The ad and promotion breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising), 8.2 8.2 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. and 8.15 8.15 Promoters must allow adequate time for each phase of the promotion: notifying the trade; distributing the goods; issuing rules if relevant; collecting wrappers and the like and judging and announcing results. (Sales promotions).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told the advertisers to include the date by which winners must claim their prize in future ads.