An Instagram post by @anastasiakingsnorth for a Play Social promotion, seen on 15 April 2021, featured an image of Anastasia Kingsnorth sitting next to various products, including Prada shopping bags and Prada handbags. Text in the post stated “ad PRADA GIVEAWAY PRADA, MACBOOK PRO, iPHONE 12, DYSON AIR WRAP, PS5 & XBOX S, HUGE GIVEAWAY WORTH THOUSANDS It’s FREE & easy to enter & only takes 20 seconds … Go to @playsocialuk Follow them and EVERYONE they are following … Tag a friend below and comment ‘done’ (More comments = More Entries) 10x BONUS PRIZES! Repost this on your story to get bonus prizes from @glhairuk and SURPRISE VOUCHERS! and INCREASE your chances of winning! … Remember the more comments the more entries. Must follow ALL 55 accounts to be part of the giveaway (They check!)”.
IssueEight complainants, who understood that the 55 accounts followed by @playsocialuk frequently changed, challenged whether the promotion was administered fairly.
SR2AN Ltd t/a Play Social said that of the 55 accounts that entrants were required to follow throughout the promotion, there were 20 that were always present and were used for checking whether entries qualified. Those 20 accounts were not disclosed to consumers. They said that was communicated in the promotion terms and conditions on the Play Social website, and through Instagram stories.
Anastasia Kingsnorth’s representatives said they had been assured by Play Social that 20 out of the 55 accounts that consumers needed to follow in order to engage with the promotion remained the same during the promotion. They said that information had been relayed to consumers through the terms and conditions on Play Social’s website, and Instagram story posts throughout the promotion. They said they had been sent instructions by Play Social regarding how Anastasia Kingsnorth could select the winners, using an independent third-party organisation.
The CAP Code required that marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information was likely to mislead.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand the statement “Go to @playsocialuk Follow them and EVERYONE they are following”, along with the text “Must follow ALL 55 accounts to be part of the giveaway”, to mean that in order for their entry to qualify, they had to follow all of the 55 Instagram accounts followed by @playsocialuk during the promotional period.
We understood that when assessing whether entries qualified, Play Social only checked that each entrant had followed 20 “core” accounts out of the 55 listed as being followed by their Instagram account. We also understood that the names of those 20 accounts were not disclosed to entrants and noted there was no information in the post explaining that they would only be checking that the 20 core accounts had been followed for an entry to be valid.
We acknowledged that the requirement to follow 20 core accounts was less onerous than the requirement to follow 55 accounts, particularly as the 35 non-core accounts changed during the promotion and participants would have needed to keep track of that. We considered that information was likely to be significant for consumers when deciding whether or not to participate in the promotion. Also, there might have been some Instagram users who would have entered had they known that they were required to only follow 20 accounts for their entry to be valid, rather than the 55 stated.
We noted information explaining that only 20 core accounts needed to be followed for an entry to be valid had been presented in the promoter’s Instagram stories and in the terms and conditions on Play Social’s website. However, we considered that because it was significant information about how to participate, the omission of that information from the ad itself was likely to mislead. We also noted that it would have been possible for consumers to make a valid entry without following all of the 55 accounts being followed by Pay Social. We considered that would have disadvantaged those who had followed all 55 accounts, by lowering their chances of winning.
On that basis we concluded that the promotion had not been administered fairly and breached the Code.
The promotion breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.1 (Promotional marketing), 8.14 (Administration), 8.17, and 8.17.1 (Significant conditions for promotions).
We told SR2AN Ltd t/a Play Social and Anastasia Kingsnorth to ensure that their future promotions included significant information regarding how to participate.