Advertising significant conditions

Sep 11th '20

Not all conditions are created equal – a significant insight into significant conditions.


When running a promotion, the likelihood is that there will be certain terms and conditions which participants need to take into account.  Some of these terms and conditions will be so important to a consumer’s understanding of a promotion, that they will be considered ‘significant conditions’.


Code rule 8.17 of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code states that all marketing communications, or other material referring to promotions, must communicate all applicable significant conditions, or information where the omission of such conditions or information is likely to mislead.


What makes a condition significant?

If a condition is likely to influence a consumer’s understanding of the promotion, it’s a significant one. These conditions could affect whether someone chooses to participate in a promotion or not, and if they are omitted from the ad, it is likely that the ad would mislead materially.


Code rule 8.17 includes a list of conditions which are likely to be considered significant, if they apply. These will differ depending on the promotion but normally include a clear explanation of how to participate, a closing date, the nature and number of prizes or gifts, any restrictions on who can participate, and availability.  Sometimes, it is easy to recognise which conditions are likely to be considered significant, such as a description of the prize, or the closing date for entries into the promotion.


However, the list set out in 8.17 is non-exhaustive, and it’s important to consider whether there are any other conditions specific to a promotion which are likely to be considered significant, such as any unusual entry requirements or particular instructions on claiming a prize once selected as the winner.


Where should these be included?

As stated in Code rule 8.17, these must be included in all ads which refer to the promotion. This means any initial online banner ad, tweet, facebook or Instagram post, email, website, or any other advertising which references an offer.  If a promotion has too many significant conditions to include in media with limited space, it might not be the right place to tell people about it.


Significant conditions should be presented in a clear and prominent way, and should be easy for a consumer to understand, taking into consideration the media in which the ad will appear.  It will not be sufficient to include these on a webpage after the consumer clicks through from an ad, or in full terms and conditions that are separate from the ad, even if the ad makes it clear that terms and conditions apply, or provides a link to these.  It’s also unlikely to be enough to include these in a pop up box.


What about the other terms and conditions?

Any other terms and conditions should be clearly signposted in your marketing so they’re available to consumers before or at the time of entry.


They need to be easily accessible and remain accessible throughout the promotion.  These may include (but are not limited to); any restriction on the number of entries, whether there is a cash alternative to a prize, and how and when winners and results will be announced.


Source: CAP


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