Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
A prize promotion, for Walkers Deep Ridge crisps, featured terms and conditions that stated "The winners will be drawn at random from all valid entries received by the closing date under independent supervision on 17th December 2012. The winners will be notified by telephone on the number used for their text entry by no later than 21st December 2012. The prizes must be claimed by 31st December 2012. All reasonable effort will be made to contact winners, however, if any of the prizes are not claimed by 31st December 2012 an alternative winner will be chosen at the Promoter's sole discretion ... The names and counties of the winners will be available between 1st February 2013 and 1st April 2013 upon application with a SAE to Walkers Deep Ridged Scratchcard Competition, Contract Catering, 1600 Arlington Business Park, Theale, RG7 4SA".
The Institute of Promotional Marketing challenged whether the promotion had been properly administered, because:
1. when a copy of the list was obtained, only the first names of the winners were given; and
2. only nine of the 41 prizes had been awarded, when the competition had ended over three months before.
1. Walkers Snacks Ltd (Walkers) said they felt that providing prizewinners' full names may allow them to be individually identified via social media sites and the internet, which would then compromise them contrary to rule 8.28.5 of the CAP Code, which stated that excessive personal information must not be published. They therefore felt that disclosing first names and counties struck the right balance between disclosing sufficient information about winners and protecting them from being individually identified.
2. Walkers said that the winner of the first prize had been contacted on 19 December 2012 and had been awarded their prize and that on the same date, their agency attempted to contact 15 second prize winners, rather than 40, as a result of an internal error. Eight second prize winners accepted their prize and a second round was then conducted in April 2013, when the error was discovered, in which 30 second prize winners were selected and of these 12 claimed their prize. They said that of the 45 second prize winners who were contacted, only 20 claimed their prizes and that a number of others either did not answer their phones, did not return voicemails or declined to accept their prize. They provided details of the individuals who had been contacted and the outcome of each attempt. They told us they felt they had made more than reasonable efforts to source winners and that the terms and conditions made clear that they could exercise their "sole discretion" in choosing alternative winners.
The ASA noted that the CAP Code required promoters to publish or make available on request the name and county of major prizewinners. Whilst we noted that the first name and county of those who had won prizes had been provided, we considered that that was not sufficient to satisfy the requirement under the Code, and that full names should have been provided in respect of any major prizewinners, in the interests of transparency. We therefore concluded that the promotion had not been properly administered.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 8.28.5 8.28.5 Promoters must either publish or make available on request the name and county of major prizewinners and, if applicable, their winning entries except in the limited circumstances where promoters are subject to a legal requirement never to publish such information. Promoters must obtain consent to such publicity from all competition entrants at the time of entry. Prizewinners must not be compromised by the publication of excessive personal information (Prize promotions).
Whilst we accepted that Walkers had attempted to contact 45 second prizewinners, we were concerned to note that the records provided appeared to show that prizewinners were only called once and that there was no attempt to contact prizewinners again if they did not answer on that occasion. Whilst the records showed that some of the prizewinners had been left messages, we considered that more than one attempt should have been made to contact each winner and we concluded that the promotion had not been properly administered.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 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. (Sales promotions).
The promotion must not be run again in its current form. We told Walkers to ensure that adequate attempts were made to contact winners and that winners' full names were made available to those who requested them.