Following a public consultation, Section 8 (Sales promotions) of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing has been amended. Full details of the changes can be found in the Regulatory statement. Many of the changes are technical and the principles underpinning the section remain the same: marketing communications must not mislead and promotions must be administered fairly.
Here are six key things to remember when running and marketing a promotion.
If you’re running a promotion: you’re a promoter
This means you’re responsible for all aspects of the promotion. You must deal fairly and be seen to deal fairly with all participants.
Plan ahead! T&Cs shouldn’t be changed
Consider what might go wrong. Changing terms mid promotion is likely to disadvantage those who entered on the original terms and cause unnecessary disappointment, not to mention potential damage to your brand.
Failing to run a prize draw because there was a lower than expected response rate isn’t acceptable, nor is excluding entrants without evidence of cheating. See advice on the abuse of sales promotions.
Make key restrictions clear
People looking at the ad should know if they are eligible. An ad which doesn’t make clear that a promotion is open to new customers only, causing them to find out only when they’ve gone to enter is likely to be considered misleading.
Don’t miss out important info
Missing out information that will help the consumer decide whether to enter is likely to mislead. For example, if a competition includes more than one stage, the initial ad should make this clear. See advice on terms and conditions here.
Award the prize!
If you cannot award the prize originally offered you must award a reasonable equivalent. If a concert is cancelled, it’s reasonable to arrange tickets for a different date or discuss with the winner an appropriate alternative. Advertising a prize as a family holiday from a variety of airports and instead providing flights from only one airport is unacceptable (as this ruling shows).
Be clear regarding availability of promotional items
If the promotion is a giveaway rather than a prize promotion, a reasonable estimate of likely demand should be made. If it is likely that demand will outstrip supply promoters should provide clear and timely information regarding availability. Stating “subject to availability” is unlikely to be sufficient. There will be practical guidance regarding rules 8.9 – 8.12 in due course.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will be updating their AdviceOnline articles in due course so follow them on twitter @CAP_UK to keep up to date. If you have any questions, contact Copy Advice.
Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the ASA. CAP’s Advice Online entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.
How can we help!
Whether or not something breaches the Code in this way can often be a fine line – marketers who are unsure whether their ads are likely to breach the Code are invited to contact the Copy Advice team.