CAP tips on social media prize promotions

Published on 20 December 2018

What steps do you need to take to run a compliant prize promotion on social media?

The background

The Committee of Advertising Practices (CAP) publishes guidance on how the CAP Code applies to different industries and advertising platforms.  Recently it has released a series of notes about how its rules apply online. 

On 22 October 2018 it published a guidance note which focuses on the way that prize promotions are run on social media.  This new note builds on the information in Rules 8.18-8.28 of the CAP Code and the guidance on prize promotions published in July 2016.  It provides detail on steps that businesses should take and on how the ASA has interpreted the rules in past investigations.

The development

In the note, the ‘key things to remember’ are:

  • putting important information in the initial ad – the ad should include the closing date and any conditions of entry.If the participant is required to purchase an item this should be clear from the start
  • signposting to the full terms and conditions – participants should be able to access a copy of the terms before they enter the promotion (whether by hyperlink or signpost).This is particularly important where they will immediately be entered if they like or share a post
  • dealing with participants fairly and avoiding undue disappointment – promoters need to demonstrate that they have a clear way to gather all entries, that all entries are put into the draw and that participants have a genuine chance of winning
  • picking prize draw winners at random – promoters need to show that the winner was selected at random.The selection process can be done by a computer program, by an independent person or under the supervision of an independent person
  • awarding the prize – if the prize isn’t available, promoters need to ensure that they provide an appropriate alternative.The promoter must take adequate steps to alert winners that they have won.

Why is this important?

The key message is that whenever a prize promotion is being run it is important to comply with the CAP Code.  The use of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram doesn’t exempt a business from the requirements to conduct prize draws fairly, and display information so that it is clear to consumers.

Any practical tips?

Businesses should ensure that their promotions and social media teams are briefed on the guidance in this note and that it becomes integrated into their processes.  Faster and less formal interactions between customers and businesses can make it harder for businesses to ensure that the rules are being followed.  This may be stating the obvious, but building in time to check that the rules are indeed being met is always a good idea.

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