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Social media: Is your prize promotion legal?

Molly-Mae Hague’s Instagram prize promotion - a giveaway of luxury goods - fell foul of the Advertising Standards Agency code. Would yours?

Mobile with Social Media signifying legal prize promotion

When running a prize promotion or a prize draw competition there is a lot to consider to ensure that you comply with the various legislation and codes of practice that govern this area.  Non-compliance can attract complaints which are investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – the UK’s regulator for advertisements and promotions.  Such investigations can often lead to negative press/publicity if non-compliance and breach of the code is found by the ASA.

You may have seen the recent decision of the ASA against former Love Island contestant Molly-Mae Hague and the negative press she received.  Hague’s Instagram prize promotion and giveaway of luxury goods was questioned for its process of selecting a winner and whether the promotion was administered fairly.  The ASA concluded that her promotion was not run in accordance with the ASA’s rules.

The main lessons to learn from this, whether on social media or not, for anyone planning a competition, promotion, giveaway or prize draw are as follows:

  • Make sure the promotion complies with the ASA’s Cap Code. Section 8 of the CAP Code has a set of rules for all Promotional Marketing initiatives. This sets out information as to what information should be provided to those wishing to take part such as opening/closing dates of the promotion; what the prize is; how the winner is selected and so on.  Become familiar with the rules of the CAP Codes when setting up the mechanics or details of your promotion or competition.
  • Ensure you have a robust set of terms and conditions in place for any promotion/competition you wish to run. Promoters use the terms and conditions to cover all the rules imposed by the CAP Code.
  • Is your promotion/prize competition legal? Check to ensure that any promotions/competitions which involve payment to enter do not fall foul of the Gambling Act 2005.  If you do not have a gambling licence you will need to incorporate a skill element and/or a free-entry route.

How can we help you?

  • We can help clear up any grey area by drafting of suitable promotion/competition terms and conditions.
  • If you are not sure, we can provide advice on whether your promotion/competition is legal and give clear recommendations to ensure compliance.
  • Our practical advice to get the best out of your promotions/competitions whilst staying the right side of the law will give you complete peace of mind.

For further information about how we can help, contact our Commercial team.

This article was written by Clare Veal

Please note the contents contained in this article are for general guidance only and reflection the position at time of posting. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to specific matters.

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