Extracts from the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing
Significant Conditions for Promotions
8.17 Before purchase or, if no purchase is required, before or at the time of entry or application, promoters must communicate all applicable significant conditions. Significant conditions include:
8.17.1 How to participate How to participate, including significant conditions and costs, and other major factors reasonably likely to influence consumers’ decision or understanding about the promotion
8.17.2 Free-entry route explanation Any free-entry route should be explained clearly and prominently
8.17.3 Start date The start date, if applicable
8.17.4 Closing date
8.17.4.a A prominent closing date, if applicable, for purchases and submissions of entries or claims. Closing dates are not always necessary, for example: comparisons that refer to a special offer (whether the promoter’s previous offer or a competitor’s offer) if the offer is and is stated to be “subject to availability”; promotions limited only by the availability of promotional packs (gifts with a purchase, extra-volume packs and reduced-price packs) and loyalty schemes run on an open-ended basis
8.17.4.b Unless the promotional pack includes the promotional item or prize and the only limit is the availability of that pack, prize promotions and promotions addressed to or targeted at children always need a closing date
8.17.4.c Promoters must be able to demonstrate that the absence of a closing date will not disadvantage consumers
8.17.4.d Promoters must state if the deadline for responding to undated promotional material will be calculated from the date the material was received by consumers
8.17.4.e Unless circumstances outside the reasonable control of the promoter make it unavoidable, closing dates must not be changed. If they are changed, promoters must do everything reasonable to ensure that consumers who participated within the original terms are not disadvantaged sales promotions
8.17.5 Proof of purchase Any proof of purchase requirements
8.17.6 Prizes and gifts Promoters must specify the number and nature of prizes or gifts, if applicable. If the exact number cannot be predetermined, a reasonable estimate of the number and a statement of their nature must be made.
8.17.6.a distinguish those prizes that could be won, including estimated prize funds, from those prizes that will be won by someone by the end of the promotional period and
8.17.6.b state whether prizes are to be awarded in instalments or are to be shared among recipients
Geographical, personal or technological restrictions such as location, age or the need to access the Internet. Promoters must state any need to obtain permission to enter from an adult or employer
The availability of promotional packs if it is not obvious; for example, if promotional packs could become unavailable before the stated closing date of the offer
8.17.9 Promoter’s name and address Unless it is obvious from the context or if entry into an advertised promotion is only through a dedicated website containing that information in an easily found format, the promoter’s full name and correspondence address must be stated.
8.18 Marketing communications that include a promotion and are significantly limited by time or space must include as much information about significant conditions as practicable and must direct consumers clearly to an easily accessible alternative source where all the significant conditions of the promotion are prominently stated. Participants should be able to retain those conditions or easily access them throughout the promotion.
8.19 Promoters must not claim that consumers have won a prize if they have not. The distinction between prizes and gifts must always be clear: items offered to a significant proportion of consumers in a promotion should be described as gifts, not prizes, or any other term for either word likely to have the same meaning for consumers. If a promotion offers a gift to a significant proportion and a prize to those who win, special care is needed to avoid confusing the two: the promotion must, for example, state clearly that consumers “qualify” for the gift but have merely an opportunity to win the prize. If a promotion includes, in a list of prizes, a gift for which consumers have qualified, the promoter must distinguish clearly between the two.
8.20 Promoters must not exaggerate consumers’ chances of winning prizes. They must not include a consumer who has been awarded a gift in a list of prize winners.
8.21 Promoters must not claim or imply that consumers are luckier than they are. They must not use terms such as “finalist” or “final stage” in a way that implies that consumers have progressed, by chance or skill, to an advanced stage of a promotion if they have not.
8.21.1 Promoters must not falsely claim or imply that the consumer has already won, will win or will on doing a particular act win a prize (or other equivalent benefit) if the consumer must incur a cost to claim the prize (or other equivalent benefit) or if the prize (or other equivalent benefit) does not exist.
8.22 Promoters must not claim that consumers must respond by a specified date or within a specified time if they need not.
8.23 Promoters must avoid complex rules and only exceptionally supplement conditions of entry with extra rules. If extra rules cannot be avoided, promoters must tell participants how to obtain them; the rules must contain nothing that could reasonably have influenced consumers against buying or participating.
8.24 Promoters of prize draws must ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners are selected by a computer process that produces verifiably random results, by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person.
8.25 Participants in instant-win promotions must get their winnings at once or must know immediately what they have won and how to claim without delay, unreasonable cost or administrative barriers. Instant-win tickets, tokens or numbers must be awarded on a fair and random basis and verification must take the form of an independently audited statement that all prizes have been distributed, or made available for distribution, in that manner.
8.26 In competitions, if the selection of a winning entry is open to subjective interpretation, an independent judge, or a panel that includes one independent member must be appointed. In either case, the judge or panel member must be demonstrably independent, especially from the competition’s promoters and intermediaries and from the pool of entrants from which the eventual winner is picked. Those appointed to act as judges should be competent to judge the competition and their full names must be made available on request.
8.27 Withholding prizes (see rules 8.15.1 and 8.28.2) is justified only if participants have not met the qualifying criteria set out clearly in the rules of the promotion.
8.28 Participants must be able to retain conditions or easily access them throughout the promotion. In addition to rule 8.17, prize promotions must specify before or at the time of entry:
8.28.1 any restriction on the number of entries
8.28.2 whether the promoter may substitute a cash alternative for any prize
8.28.3 if more than 30 days after the closing date, the date by which prize winners will receive their prizes
8.28.4 how and when winners will be notified of results
8.28.5 how and when information about winners and results will be made available. Promoters must either publish or make available on request the name and county of major prize winners and, if applicable, their winning entries. Prize winners must not be compromised by the publication of excessive personal information
8.28.6 in a competition, the criteria and mechanism for judging entries (for example, the most apt and original tiebreaker)
8.28.7 if relevant, who owns the copyright of the entries
8.28.8 if applicable, how the promoter will return entries
8.28.9 any intention to use winners in post-event publicity.