Written by Ebony Ezekwesili

In response to an increasing number of complaints about online prize promotions run by brands and influencers, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) have recently published a new resource page and infographic checklist to help brands and influencers comply with advertising rules relating to prize promotions.

The resource page includes helpful articles, videos, webinars and guidance for complying with advertising rules in relation to giveaways, prize draws, competitions and other types of prize promotions on social media. It also reminds promoters that the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (the CAP Code) applies to all non-broadcast promotions, including those on social media.

The infographic checklist highlights a number of key issues for influencers and brands to consider when running a promotion. These include:

  • Ensuring there is sufficient time, people and technical capabilities to run the promotion fairly as described;
  • Stating all significant conditions of the promotions in all promotional posts from the outset (including information such as the closing date, how to participate in the promotion and any restrictions);
  • Ensuring terms and conditions are clearly signposted and include all other information relating to the promotion;
  • Considering how winners will be chosen fairly – for eg. an independent judge (or a panel with at least one independent judge) is required for a subjective skill-based competition, whereas winners must be chosen randomly for prize draws or giveaways. In the latter case, the promoter must be able to demonstrate that the winner has been chosen at random;
  • Checking the winner has met all the entry requirements before awarding the prize; and
  • Ensuring the prize is awarded within 30 days of selecting a winner.

The new resources and guidance reflects ASA’s increased scrutiny in this area, with three recent rulings on promotions run on social media.

ASA’s enforcement powers in relation to advertisements that have breached the CAP Code are wide-ranging, including requesting the withdrawal of the infringing advert and publication of its rulings online, potentially resulting in negative publicity and reputational damage for the brand or influencer involved.

As such, it is essential that brands and influencers consider all relevant ASA guidance to ensure they comply with the advertising rules when running prize promotions and giveaways on social media.