ASA ruling: Adwick Caravans
Caravans. I’ve never been particularly taken with the idea of them. Sure, the prospect of hitting the open road is rather attractive at a time like this; but to be honest the cramped conditions and, er, sanitation arrangements don’t appeal, so I wouldn’t have been tempted to enter a prize draw that appeared on Facebook on 5 December last year.
Win a caravan
The post, which appeared on the Facebook page of Adwick Caravans, apparently the place to go if you’re looking for ‘high-quality pre-owned touring caravans’ in the Doncaster area, read, ‘Chance to win a free Caravan Just Time For Christmas. The lucky winner will be announced on the 21st of December 2019. For your chance to win here’s what you need to do…Step 1. Like our page. Step 2. Share this post. Step 3 Tag 3 friends. Good luck everyone.’
Now we all need small distractions while we’re in lockdown and I’ve been enjoying the quizzes and brain teasers people have been putting up online (Dean’s Games is a fun site that I’ve recently discovered), so in the same spirit, here’s a mini quiz of my own.
Spot the mistakes
Question: ignoring the words that have been omitted and the over-use of capital letters (and I know that’s hard), what do you think is wrong with the Adwick Caravans post above? Go on, get your brain in gear and give it another read.
Did you notice that there isn’t a closing date? That’s right. There’s a date for announcing a winner, but not a closing date. And did you wonder what the prize actually was, beyond a ‘caravan’? If you did, well done you. As you will have gathered, I’m hardly a caravan afficionado, but even I know that there are different types, sizes and probably colours, too. Or do they all come in bland shade of cream?
Anyway, yes, those are the grounds on which a complaint was made about the competition to the ASA. OK, it wasn’t difficult, because essentially there weren’t any proper terms and conditions in the post and there wasn’t a link to the full terms and conditions either.
Looking for a reaction
You might reasonably have answered that not only was this prize promotion lacking in clarity, it was also unlikely to have been very effective, and I wouldn’t disagree with that. We’ve previously published advice on running a Facebook competition and, although it’s now a couple of years old, much of it still holds true.
When asked by the ASA for a response, Adwick Caravans didn’t put up much of a defence, simply stating that the closing date was 21 December and that they believed both the closing date and the entry process were made clear in the post, so unsurprisingly the ASA upheld the complaint.
In its assessment, the ASA pointed out that the CAP Code states all marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information, including a prominent closing date if applicable.
In particular, the ASA commented that it wasn’t explained whether the image of a caravan which accompanied the post was the actual prize – it highlighted that the nature of a prize is important to potential participants’ understanding of any promotion and is therefore significant information which should always be included.
The ASA told Adwick that this promotion mustn’t appear again in the same form and that it must ensure any future promotions communicated all the relevant information, including a definite closing date and full details of the prize on offer.
As you no doubt know, Prizeology runs prize promotions which adhere to the CAP Code. We’re not going anywhere for the foreseeable future – in a caravan, motor home or indeed other vehicle – so do get in touch if you need to.
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist and a National Trading Standards Scams Team Scambassador.