Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
An Instagram post by the Witcombe Festival, posted on 26 July 2021, for a promotion to win two weekend tickets to the festival. Text stated ‘2X WEEKEND CAMPING TICKETS UP FOR GRABS … Share our poster to your story (make sure you @ us), tag two friends and give us a follow and a [heart emoji] for YOUR chance to win … Stop what you're doing and get ENTERING … Winner announced Thursday at 3pm’.
The complainant challenged whether the promotion was administered fairly because:
1. they believed the promotion was not awarded in accordance with the laws of chance; and
2. the terms and conditions were not easily accessible to participants.
ResponseWitcombe Festival said that they used a random online comment picker to select the winners of the promotion. They also said that the terms and conditions of the promotion had been clearly displayed on their website at the time of the competition, and that they had sent the complainant a copy of those terms and conditions, via the direct message function of Instagram, when they had asked to see them.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA understood that in order to enter the promotion, participants were required to follow the Witcombe Festival Instagram account, share the line-up poster from the post to their own Instagram story, and tag the Witcombe Festival Instagram account and Instagram accounts of two friends in that story post.
The Code required promoters of prize draws to ensure that prizes were awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners were selected by a computer process that produced verifiably random results, by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person. In addition, the Code stated that participants in prize draws must be able to retain conditions or easily access them throughout the promotion.
The Witcombe Festival told us that they had used a random online comment picker to select the winner of the prize draw. However, we were not provided with evidence to demonstrate that the selection was made randomly, and it was not clear from their response how the system worked or how it had been administered.
We noted that the terms and conditions of the prize draw had not been included or linked to in the Instagram post, and we understood from the complainant that when they asked Witcombe Festival to provide a link to the terms and conditions, they instead received a series of messages via Instagram, rather than a direct link. We considered that having to request the terms and conditions from the promoter was not consistent with them being easily accessible or retainable by participants in the draw.
Because we did not receive any evidence which confirmed that the winner of the promotion had been selected by a computer process that produced verifiably random results, or confirmation that the terms and conditions had been easily accessible and retainable, we concluded that the promotion had not been administered fairly and was in breach of the Code.
The promotion breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 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. (Promotional marketing), 8.14 8.14 Promoters must ensure that their promotions are conducted under proper supervision and make adequate resources available to administer them. Promoters, agencies and intermediaries should not give consumers justifiable grounds for complaint. (Administration), and 8.24 8.24 Promoters of prize draws must ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners are selected by a computer process that produces verifiably random results, by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person. and 8.28 8.28 Participants must be able to retain conditions or easily access them throughout the promotion. In addition to rule 8.17, prize promotions must specify on all marketing communications or other material referring to them, the following information, clearly before or at the time of entry, where the omission of any of the specified items is likely to mislead. (Prize promotions).
We told Witcombe Festival to ensure their future promotions were administered fairly by awarding prizes in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners were selected by a computer process that produced verifiably random results, by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person. We also told them to ensure that future ads for promotions clearly included all significant terms and conditions, or clear links to where they could be found and retained by consumers.