By May 23, 2013on
One of the most common mistakes we find when checking prize promotion terms and conditions is to do with geography. The CAP code 8.17.7 requires that promoters must make include any geographical restrictions in their terms and conditions so if a promoter wanted to only allow astronauts on the International space station to enter, this is acceptable within the code along as it was made clear upfront to consumers.
Most promoters however, simply want to exclude residents overseas from entering their promotion and this is where the error regularly rears its ugly head – promoters often seem unclear what constitutes the United Kingdom as per the following examples; ‘prize promotion is open to all UK residents and Northern Ireland’, ‘prize draw is open to UK residents excluding Northern Ireland’ – you’d be surprised at the number of variations we see.
Promoters please note: Northern Ireland is part of the UK. The correct term to use is ‘The prize promotion is open to all residents of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)’.
If you need to exclude residents of NI – and there are legitimate reasons why you may need to do so, the Gambling ACT 2005 for instance, then your prize should be open to residents of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).
We hope this helps you got get it right, too!
By September 11, 2012on
There’s been a huge trend towards online voting competitions and many of our clients are keen to introduce this type of prize promotion into their marketing plans. Here at Spark & Fuse, however, we are less keen on this genre and warn anyone considering implementing a voting competition to proceed with caution. The fact is they spell trouble. Voting competitions are plagued with problems that most promoters either have not considered or of which they simply are not aware. The outcome is often far from what may otherwise be expected – disappointed customers, loads of complaints and negative feedback across all social media. Some really big brands, like Yazoo, Co-op and 118 118, have already experienced first-hand the difficulties of running such a campaign.
To run a voting competition without issue is possible but help from an experienced third party is essential. It’s something we know about at Spark & Fuse and advise our clients that if their brand is looking to create a positive customer interaction, they must give the promotion great thought, compile extremely robust terms and conditions, a well built back-end, and allow plenty of time post promotion to research entrants/winners. In short, voting competitions should not be considered lightly, created within a short timeframe or produced without a budget.
We were planning a blog to outline some of the problems with voting competitions, but our good friend and comping blogger Di Coke, has recently written a great piece on the flaws of this very subject – so here’s a link for you to see for yourself what can go wrong.
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By August 3, 2012on
When PR expert, blogger and Cybher organiser, Sian To (www.geekisnewchic.com) asked if we would put together a definitive guide for bloggers to help them run prize promotions properly, we jumped at the opportunity. We see so many truly dreadful online competitions and prize draws that we’re quite regularly picking our chins up from the desk. It doesn’t matter if you’re a micro company, blogger or huge corporate, anyone running a prize promotion must adhere to certain rules and regulations. Get it wrong and you could even be breaking the law.
So for our most comprehensive guide on how to put together a prize draw or competition –click here http://cybher.com/12/2012/07/is-your-blog-giveaway-or-competition-legal/. Remember, it doesn’t matter who you are, absolutely no one exempt from industry regulations.
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By July 25, 2012on
We’ve seen a rise in creative competitions that request for entries to be pinned to Pinterest, or uploaded to a Facebook page or a website gallery. While it might not fit your marketing requirements, making competition entries public before the closing date breaches the CAP code – the rule book for how prize promotions in the UK must be conducted.
‘What? Why?’ you’re probably shouting (our best practise advice on this particular subject is generally met with some surprise). Put simply, competitions which are conducted in this way are unfair. If everyone can see entries as they are posted, the competition ceases to be a level playing field. Those people that enter at the beginning may have had an original idea but there will always be others that just use these entries for inspiration and submit a similar yet improved version, while some contestants will wait until just before the closing date to see what has already been submitted then use this to their advantage to upload something better and unique to improve their chances of winning.
The CAP code states that ‘Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably…. must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment.’
There is nothing equitable about a competition where everyone can see entries as they are submitted. It doesn’t matter if you’re asking contestants to upload a recipe, or a photo, or even just leave comment, if you are judging these entries against a set criteria, the principle remains the same. To avoid contestants complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority, or complaining loudly on social media sites and forums, ensure all entries to your competition are not received in an open forum. You can put them all online the minute the competition closes, even if they haven’t been judged.
- CAP code, competition, competition terms and conditions, photography competition, recipe competition
By July 11, 2012on
Not only must a prize promotion in the UK adhere to the CAP code, if it’s on Facebook, it must also meet regulations set by Facebook, too. And if you breach its terms, you could find your page is removed. And we don’t want that, do we! Not everyone is aware that Facebook has its own regulations, so we’ve put together a little summary which will help you to get it right.
First and foremost, you cannot run a prize promotion from your wall. Facebook stipulates that you must use a third party application to build and administer your promotion. This means you have to add a tab to your page from which your run the prize promotion. Don’t panic if this sounds like an enormous and expensive coding job. There are loads of apps online which you can download to help administer your prize promotion. Here are just a few: Wildfire, Snapapp, Strutta and Shortstack.
Once you’ve built this prize promotion platform, the only functionality you can use as a condition of entry is either liking the page, checking in to a place or connecting to your app.
What you can categorically not do is use liking your wall post, leaving a comment on your wall or uploading an image to your wall as a means of entry or condition of registration. And this is where most promoters fall foul of the regulations. You can ask entrants to do any of these things as part of the process but it cannot be the actual entry – entrants must leave their details via the lovely app you’ve built. Otherwise how can you tell the difference between someone just liking your page because they like it, or because they are entering your prize promotion?
To see the do’s and don’ts for yourself, the full regulations can be found here: www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
Good luck with your prize promotion!
- CAP code, competition terms and conditions, compliance, facebook, prize draw rules, regulations, rules, terms and conditions
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By May 13, 2012on
Here’s an overview of what we covered at Cybher 2012 for anyone that missed it, and for those of you who’d like to see the points again.
We are not electricians
All UK Marketing Communications must be legal, decent, honest and truthful. A prize promotion is a marketing communication.
Name your prize promotion correctly – a competition requires an element of skill while a prize draw/giveaway is a game of chance and winners are chosen randomly.
Under the Gambling Act 2005 it is illegal to charge people an inflated price to enter a prize draw or to pay an entry fee. It is within the law to charge people to enter a competition as long as there is a genuine element of skill. ‘Where do Florida Oranges come from?’ – is an example of a competition question for which there is no element of skill.
There is a code for UK Marketing Communications written by the Committee of Advertising Practice and applied by The Advertising Standard Authority – it’s called The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing and is known as the Cap code. It’s recognised by the courts, OFT and Government and the established means of consumer protection in non-broadcast media. All prize promotions must adhere to the code.
The ASA’s digital remit covers non-paid for space. This includes Facebook, Twitter, websites and blogs. Anyone can complain to the ASA about a prize promotion that is not conducted properly.
This is a real example of a response to a compliant made to the ASA. It will remain on the ASA’s website forever ‘Bentleys of Blackpool stated they had withdrawn the competition because the first winners had left the guest house unimpressed and they did not wish to offer prizes to such people and therefore cancelled the competition’
You can download a copy of the code for free from www.cap.org.uk
It is not acceptable to like something on a wall as a means to entering a prize draw on Facebook.
Rafflecopter facilitates prize draw – but that is all. It is a US application.
Think about who can and can’t enter your prize promotion. Do you really want to send a prize to Hawaii?
Include a closing date and time. And don’t change it once the promotion is live.
State how many prizes you are giving away and make it clear what is, or isn’t included.
Creative competitions require judging criteria. Stating the winner will be the ‘best’ entry is not enough information for anyone to understand what the judges will be looking for.
Pick winners appropriately – draws should be conducted randomly by a person who is independent to you and the results verified. Competitions should be judged appropriately by an independent person with related experience in the subject of the competition.
A real example of how prize draws should not be conducted: ‘I was given some tickets to LEGOLAND. I kept three for myself then picked winners within a reasonable distance from my office so they could come and collect their prize tickets’.
Post promotion, don’t give away entrants details or contact them for any reason other than prize fulfilment, unless you have their permission to do so. Check to see if you should register with the Information Commissioners Office to store entrants data www.ico.gov.uk
We love prize promotions and just want everyone to understand how to conduct them well.
For great inspiration on how to run fun comps and prize draws from your blog, take a look at our Cybher session host Di Coke’s blog.
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By May 10, 2012on
Only two sleeps until Cybher 2012! We’ve polished our talk (and our shoes) and now we’re feeling excited (and actually quite a bit nervous) about the big day. We’re so excited and honoured to be included in such an impressive line up of speakers.
In keeping with the title given to us by @Geekisnewchic as ‘Competition Gurus’ we want to make sure that everyone who comes to hear us talk leaves with lots of best practice advise and the confidence to run a prize promotion properly. We’ll have some handy postcards with top tips for you to take away, too. We’re looking forward to meeting Di Coke as we’ll be taking the stage with her and we can’t wait to meet all our Twitter friends!
Love Spark & Fuse x
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By April 15, 2012on
If you are running a prize draw you’ve probably already decided who will pick the winning entry. Perhaps the job will fall to someone that works within your business? Maybe you’re a blogger and there’s no one to ask, so you’re doing it yourself? Or maybe you’ve enlisted your mum? Quite probably you have also considered on what basis you are going to select your winner – the ‘best’ tweet or the most eye-catching email address, or perhaps you’ll look for a person who lives nearby so that delivery of the item is easy and inexpensive. Maybe you’re even planning to ignore a whole section of entrants who you feel comp ‘professionally’.
Unfortunately we’ve seen this approach too many times, and it does not comply with the CAP code and IPM best practise guidelines. The CAP Code states ‘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’.
We’ve heard all manner of excuses from promoters as to why they don’t need to use an independent source or verifiable computer process, ‘it’s not a serious prize draw’ and ‘it’s not a very high value prize’ or ‘I’m just a blogger so it doesn’t apply to me’. Some businesses are simply unaware of this requirement altogether.
Fact is, if you are hosting a prize promotion, it must comply with the CAP code. It matters not if you’re a micro business and the pool of entrants is a bit on the teeny tiny side. A draw has to be conducted appropriately. If entrants take the time to interact with your promotion, then you, as the promoter, must run the draw fairly and ensure everyone has an equal chance of winning. All promotions, big or small are devised to create excitement around a brand or product, so stating ‘it’s only a bit fun’ is not an excuse to flout the code.
Prize promotion entrants can be a vocal bunch, and, quite rightly, don’t appreciate it when a draw is conducted in an unfair manner. And don’t think you won’t get found out either! Every week we are sent numerous Twitter and Facebook examples where promoters have clearly awarded a prize on a basis which suits themselves. And who can forget the Blue Peter fiasco? Don’t open yourself (or a client) to public outcry and criticism. It only takes one person to complain to the Advertising Standard Authority and you could be expected to fund additional prizes, pay a fine or face a social media and PR nightmare. Can you imagine a potential customer googling your brand instead to be taken directly to the ASA site with details of the breach? Persistently flout the code and this is exactly what will happen. We don’t make this stuff up!
Call us biased, but we know that running a prize draw IS fun and it IS a brilliant way to create excitement and positive discussions around your brand on- and offline. It’s a great way to engage old and new customers. Have your winners properly selected and you’ll see how satisfying it can be. Pick them because they’re your mates, and it might end up being the last promotion you ever want to see …
Is this how you do your draw?
By April 2, 2012on
Recently we asked the people of Twitter what product they would most like to win. The response was unanimous – an iPad. Equally, the one product used predominantly as a prize incentive at the moment, not only on Twitter but in other digital space too, is an iPad. Promoters are well-tuned into the public’s continuing desire for Apple’s latest product and how it can be used to generate a good response to promotions. But are promoters actually allowed to offer an iPad as a prize?
The answer is, no. Well, not if you ask Apple. It’s old news that Apple does not give permission for anyone to give away its latest iPad and iPhone models and that it will enforce this rule. In the first instance Apple will not sell these products if the sole purpose is a prize promotion and anyone who buys a quantity of units is likely to raise suspicion at Apple HQ and will be denied further purchasing rights.
Protecting the exclusiveness of a brand is fair play, but we would argue that once you’ve paid for a product it’s yours to do with as you will, as long as you don’t imply the brand is actually endorsing the giveaway or break any laws. However, we do believe that it is for these very reasons you should proceed with caution before going ahead with an Apple product giveaway.
For those products which Apple does permit third-party promotional activity, a set of detailed instructions is available as to how these promotions can or cannot look. Like all big companies, Apple controls the way its brand image is used, which is absolutely their prerogative. If your product giveaway is authorised, you can use the Apple logo and make reference to the product in its entirety. If your giveaway is not authorised, you can’t use anything which has been Trademark protected – such as the Apple logo or the word iPad. We’re not lawyers and neither do we claim to be experts in this area, and it’s quite possible we’ve oversimplified the matter, but making your promotion look as though it has been enforced by Apple, or using their icons without permission would breach The Trade Marks Act 1994. It is via this route that Apple could enforce its rule and promoters could find themselves in trouble.
Apple has been known to sue on grounds of breach of trademark but we do not know if it is actively pursuing misuse under these circumstances. We do know though that every day there are a huge number of promotions offering much coveted Apple products as prizes and all promoters should be aware of The Trade Marks Act 1994 before deciding whether or not to offer one as a prize.
We’d love to know what you think, especially if you’re giving away an iPad or iPhone. And we’d be keen on feedback from anyone better qualified to comment on trademark laws – are we right?
- Competition management, competition rules, competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules
By March 30, 2012on
We’re delighted to announce that both Spark and Fuse will be speaking at Cybher 2012 – the first female blogger event of its kind in the UK. This one-day event will bring together the most influential bloggers and speakers from all corners of the blogosphere to network, inspire, share and learn. It’s taking place on 12th May 2012 at 8 Northumberland Avenue in the heart of London. The line-up of speakers is seriously impressive with some heavyweight bloggers taking to the stage. We’ll be there to share our expertise, wisdom and experience on how to conduct online prize promotions properly. We’re looking forward to advising everyone how to get the details right on their blogs, twitter and Facebook. And we’re really excited about meeting all the great bloggers we’ve met on Twitter in person. Do come and say hello if you’re there!
Read more here …
- Competition management, competition rules, competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules, prize draw terms and conditions
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