The ASA has today upheld complaints against Highland Spring and McCain Foods regarding ‘instant win’ promotions featured on their water bottles and French friespackaging respectively.
In both cases the glittering array of prizes said to be “available” to be won were tempting, but in each case the packaging also stated that “not all prizes will be won”. Perhaps predictably, the mechanics used to select winners and allocate prizes in both cases led to only a very small proportion of the advertised prizes actually being won. In the Highland Spring promotion, prizes were only won if you entered your details online at exactly the right “winning moment”. In the McCain promotion, an algorithm allocated random prizes to a small proportion of entrants (only 159 out of 28,515 “available” prizes were awarded, and none of the top prizes of “10 Mini One Countrymans”).
The ASA ruled that both Highland Spring and McCain Foods had breached the CAP Code rules on running promotions. The emphasis upon the list of prizes “available” to be won had the effect of exaggerating in consumers’ minds the chances of winning. Details of the true chances of winning, and of how the selection mechanic worked, had to be more clearly stated to avoid unnecessary disappointment for those participating.
The ASA upheld a complaint against the promotion, pointing out that the terms and conditions on the label gave no explanation of how the promotion worked, or how likely prizes were to be won. "If nobody happened to enter their details during a 'winning moment', the prize associated with that moment would not be won," the ASA said in its ruling. "We considered that the mechanics of the instant win promotion meant that the chances of winning a prize were much lower than the information on the label suggested." Ruling that the ad must not appear again in its current form, the ASA said it was "misleading" and had caused "unnecessary disappointment" to participants.