Promotional marketing: Prize winners

Mar 28th '19

Promotors should make select winners randomly or independently, make a reasonable attempt to inform winners and award the prize.


Selecting prize winners

Promoters of prize draws should ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance. If a verifiably random computer process is used, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) would expect to see evidence of this. If such a computer programme has not been used winners must be selected under the supervision of an independent observer.


If the winner selection is open to subjective interpretation, there should always be an independent judge. If there is only one judge, they need to be independent, if there is a panel there should be a least one independent member. The ASA ruled that a promotion was unfairly administered and breached the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code where the promoter did not provide details of the independent panel of judges (Rebecca Penny t/a Bridleworks 28 January 2015).


See also Promotional marketing: Independent judges and observers


Informing prize winners

The terms and conditions of a sales promotion should include information on how and when winners will be notified of results (Code rule 8.28.4). A tweet promoting a competition was upheld because there were no full terms and conditions, and it was not made clear to consumers how or when winners would be notified (Hard Rock Cafe (UK) Ltd, 11 February 2015).


Terms and conditions should be clear on how winners will be contacted, and if there are time limits on claiming prizes these should be made clear in the terms and conditions to avoid unnecessary disappointment. It is a promotor’s responsibility to ensure that they take adequate steps and make adequate attempts to contact winners and alert them to the fact they have won. Ringing a winner once will not be considered sufficient (Walkers Snacks Ltd 28 August 2013).


Announcing prize winners

Following a consultation on changes to its rules on the collection and use of data for marketing, CAP amended Code rule 8.28.5 on 28 March 2019. The previous rule which stated that promoters must publish, or make available the full name and county of all major prize winners has changed in line with the law on data protection, contained in the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The new rule states that promoters must either publish or make available information that indicates that a valid award took place – ordinarily the surname and county of major prizewinners and, if applicable, their winning entries. They must also inform entrants at or before the time of entry of their intention to publish or make available the information and give them the opportunity to object to this or to reduce the amount of information published or made available. In such circumstances, the promoter must nevertheless still provide the information and winning entry to the ASA if challenged.


Promoters may also wish to seek legal advice or contact the ICO to ensure that their promotions do not breach the GDPR.


See also Promotional marketing: Prize draws


Source: CAP


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.


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