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 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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By January 19, 2012on
Last week on Twitter we stumbled upon the perfect example of how to attract criticism, lose followers, and ruin your business reputation all because of a poorly executed prize draw.
An online travel agency launched a follow and retweet draw offering a decent prize. Said company’s announcement of the winner was followed by outcry – other entrants could see that the winner had only ever tweeted a handful of times and had never once retweeted the actual prize draw message – it wasn’t difficult to discover, they merely had to check the winner’s timeline. If this wasn’t bad enough, the winner was located very close to the agency’s HQ. A deluge of complaints were tweeted and the agency blocked anyone on twitter who enquired about the outcome, whilst also deleting posts on its Facebook page. Allegedly they have also subsequently deleted previous tweets with any mentions of an external agency conducting the draw. Within hours, followers had decided this company were totally untrustworthy and the message was spread quickly amongst their followers, too.
What a mess.
We asked the twitterverse to feedback details of other suspect prize draws and the response was staggering. For every prize draw that is conducted to code and within industry guidelines, clearly there are at least another five which are not. We heard more stories of companies awarding prizes to fictional users, to users who hadn’t followed the instructions and other unacceptable behaviour.
We’re not the Twitter Prize Police but we are an agency that advocates good promotional behaviour. Compliance is essential. Run your prize promotion properly and everyone is happy. Run it badly and you will be found out. Your followers will tell their followers and rather than building a solid foundation for your business, you are essentially destroying your reputation. Prize draws that are conducted badly always attract more publicity than those which are carried out well.
It doesn’t matter who you are, what prize you are giving away or the size of your company, terms and conditions are not only essential they are a CAP code requirement. They protect both the promoter and the consumer and leave no room for ambiguity. Recently we conducted a twitter draw for a prize which had to be sent in costly refrigerated units – one of the winners was in the USA. Because our terms were robust and because they excluded non-UK residents we were able to politely explain to the winner why a redraw had to take place. The winner understood and there were no hard feelings.
Decide on the route of entry and communicate this well. Do people simply have to follow, follow and retweet once or retweet a number of times? Make it clear and ensure only qualifying entrants are put into the draw.
The draw itself must be conducted by an independent person. That is someone who doesn’t work in your office or for your company, and isn’t a relative or fictional character.
Be aware that the Advertising Standard Authority’s digital remit includes Twitter. If a consumer makes a complaint and this is upheld, you might find yourself at the receiving end of a fine, having to fork out for extra prizes, redirection of any Google search for your company to the ASA complaint rather than your homepage or even a trade embargo.
If there’s any doubt of the point we are trying to make, we’ll spell it out again. Run your prize promotion properly. No one is above industry regulations and twitter users are not fools.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
If you’d like some help compiling robust terms and conditions, or need an independent person to conduct a prize draw please contact us at email@example.com
- competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules, prize draw terms and conditions, prize promotion, Twitter
By August 3, 2011on
Every month we fulfil stacks of prize draws – we send winners on fabulous holidays, arrange delivery of home entertainment systems, package up kids toys and occasionally even notify winners of big cash wins. But for every great winning whoop of joy, we are considered suspiciously by others who think their prize notification is a hoax.
The CAP code is very clear ‘promoters must not claim that consumers have won a prize if they have not’ and fake prize draw scams in the UK are illegal. However, according to consumer watchdog Which? prize draw scams are the second most common scams in the UK. So how do you know if you really are a winner?
Firstly, did you enter the prize draw or competition? If not, then quite simply you cannot possibly be a winner. We can prove that all our prize winners entered a prize draw – we’ll have their entry postcard, or SMS, phone and online records mean we have exact date and time of entry. If you receive a letter saying you’ve won a prize draw by a company claiming you’ve been ‘specially selected’ to win a prize, put it in the bin. Immediately.
Are you being asked to pay a fee to claim your prize? We never, ever, EVER, ask our prize winners to part with money in order to claim their prize and there’s no such thing as a required administrative fee either. You might have to pay for an element not included in the prize itself, such as train fare to a hotel, but this will be stipluted in the terms and conditions. But you should never pay to actually claim a prize. In fact, it’s a criminal offence to say that someone’s won a prize and then ask them to pay money to receive it. It comes with a prison sentence of about two years.
Do you need to call a premium rate phone number to claim this prize? Pretty much as above. When we notify winners we generally send a letter that contains all the prize details plus we provide our office phone number and email address as a point of contact. You will never have to call an expensive phone number to speak to a prize supplier or their administrator.
Have you been asked to provide details of your bank account? We once had the joyous task of awarding a prize winner £10,000. We gave her the choice, a cheque or direct money transfer. She chose a cheque. There is never a need to give your bank account details to claim a prize. Especially if you haven’t even won money.
Oh, and finally, if you get an email from someone overseas claiming you’ve won millions of dollars in a lottery, you know where to file it…
If you receive a prize notification and you think it’s a bit iffy, then get in touch with the Advertising Standards Authority in the first instance.
- competition rules, competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw hoax, prize draw rules, prize draw scam, prize draw terms and conditions, scam
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By May 24, 2011on
If you’re planning to run a prize promotion on Facebook, be aware that not only will it come under the remit of the Advertising Standard Authority (click here for more details), but Facebook itself levies strict conditions for such a promotion. Whether you’re running a straight prize draw or more complex competition (don’t know the difference? Click here), Facebook expects you to follow these guidelines or could suspend your page. For example, notifying winners via Facebook is a big no no, as is asking people to ‘like’ a page or ‘check’ into a place as a means of entry. It’s not difficult to keep the people at Facebook happy and here’s a link to help you get it right http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php. Use these guidelines in conjunction with the CAP code and your promotion won’t attract criticism, complaints or negative publicity. And no one needs bad publicity. Just think Hoover…
- competition rules, competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules, prize draw terms and conditions
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By October 8, 2010on
We’re often asked by clients ‘is there really a difference between a prize draw and a competition?’ Yes, is the answer and here’s why…
A prize draw is very straightforward. It requires absolutely no skill or judgment to enter – the winner is chosen purely by chance. A competition, however, does require an element of skill or judgement in order to enter. For example, consumers may be expected to answer a number of questions and then complete a tie-breaker. In both cases an independent person must be involved in the selection process.
The above seems relatively simple, but there is an area which causes further confusion to our clients; can consumers pay in some way to enter either a prize draw or competition and when does a ‘no purchase necessary route’ become necessary? The Gambling Act 2005, which came into force on 1st September 2007, clarifies this issue. For a prize draw, as long as the price of a product is not inflated and there is no other charge to the consumer, there’s no need to offer a no purchase necessary route. However, if the means of entry has a charge attached to it, like a premium rate phone line for example, a free route must also be offered, such as email or post. The only exception to this is for prize promotions in Northern Ireland where a no purchase necessary route must be available to customers.
For competitions, it’s not necessary to offer the no purchase necessary route, but the winner’s success must absolutely be dependent on a ‘substantial degree of skill’ otherwise it is considered unlawful. The Institute of Promotional Marketing aptly summarises The Gambling Act 2005 definition of ‘substantial degree of skill’ as ‘it must be sufficient to either prevent a significant proportion of people who take part from winning or put off a significant proportion of people from entering’. So it’s okay to charge people to enter a competition as long as there really is an element of skill involved.
Hopefully this straightens up the matter but if you’re still not certain, it’s always best to have your promotion checked before it goes live to check that you’re skating on the right side of the law. Get in touch if you’d like our help.
- Competition management, competition rules, competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules, prize draw terms and conditions, Prize promotions
By September 30, 2010on
When it comes to prize promotions, we understand the importance of compliance. It drives our clients’ nuts but we won’t allow short cuts. We don’t want consumers to feel cheated and we wouldn’t want a client to be named and shamed by the Advertising Standards Authority. So if you’re thinking about running a prize promotion, and you’re not sure what’s right or wrong, we’ve selected five offences to avoid.
1. We didn’t receive many competition entries and they’re all rubbish, so we’ve decided to move the closing date until we get some that are better.
A closing date cannot be moved to suit a promotion. If consumers have made the effort to enter, the prize must be awarded, even if the winning entry doesn’t meet the standard that you would have liked. If you want to avoid this scenario include a clause in the t’s and c’s to make it clear you are looking for a certain quality of entries in order to award the prize.
2. The winner will be chosen at the promoter’s discretion.
A winner cannot be picked by anyone involved in the promotion. A prize draw must be conducted or overseen by an independent person and a competition must be judged by a panel with at least one member who is independent. There are agencies, like Spark & Fuse, that can conduct a fair draw on your behalf, but it’s fine to find your own adjudicator as long as they are truly independent. A teacher is okay, your mum is not.
3. We have a prize for our magazine, but the t’s and c’s spoil the page so they’re all online instead.
Prize terms and conditions help consumers make an informed decision before entering a draw. If entry is exclusively online, then it is okay to feature all the t’s and c’s here as that’s where you’re sending consumers. However, if there are a number of entry options, say post and SMS, then not all consumers will automatically go online, therefore some of the key t’s and c’s must appear on the page.
4. We only want to use premium rate telephone numbers for entry.
Offering a premium rate phone line as the only entry route would be in breach of the Gambling Act 2005 and is an illegal lottery – this is because payment is required to enter and inflated above the normal cost of an item, in this case the cost of a call. In order to keep things within the law, you’ll need a free route of entry too, like post or email.
5. We want to include this in our t’s and c’s: The promoter reserves the right to amend the terms and condition and the right to withdraw the promotion.
A promoter can’t stop a prize promotion once it’s live. And the terms and conditions must remain the same for the entire promotional period, too. There’s never a good reason to stop a promotion before the closing date and such action only results in complaints and criticism.
- Competition management, competition rules, competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules, prize draw terms and conditions, prize promotion, Prize promotions
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