Thomas Cook Competition Complaint Upheld by ASA

A promotion run by Thomas Cook was amongst the upheld ASA rulings published today. The travel agent ran a competition in June on their Twitter and Facebook channels, requesting entrants to film and mimic the flamingo/giraffe “strut” which appeared in their TV ads, and submit their video to one of the channels for a chance to win a £5,000 Thomas Cook gift card. A great prize for a seemingly really engaging promotion with their fans. However, what the promoter failed to include was significant information surrounding the technicalities of their competition, such as the closing date and the fact that two entry routes were available… both with different closing dates.

The pinned post for their Twitter promotion included the following information:

“Post a photo/video of your strut and #flamingoroam, for a chance to win a £5,000 Thomas Cook gift car. T&Cs apply:”.

Their Facebook post included the following information:

“We’ve partnered with Three UK to give you the chance to win a Thomas Cook giftcard worth £5,000. To enter, watch their new ad below and post a video or photo of you strutting #flamingoroam style in the comments. T&Cs apply.”

In addition to the above points not being identified upon point of entry, the link to the full terms and conditions did not work, providing no further information for consumers. The complainant challenged whether the promotion had been administered fairly and honourably. Multiple comments have also appeared on the promoter’s social media feeds from consumers unable to submit their entry caused by the lack of closing date. Subsequently, the ASA upheld the challenge.

There isn’t an issue running a competition with multiple entry routes. The CAP Code doesn’t prohibit a promotion being run on two separate platforms with different closing dates. However, this constitutes as significant information which must be made clear to participants at point of entry. Where there are distinct closing dates, each platform must specify that the closing date provided is related to that entry route only. Whilst this remains a possibility within the CAP Code, our Prizeologist recommendation would be to have only one closing date across all entry routes, as to avoid any confusion for consumers.

All abridged terms and conditions must include fair and significant information surrounding the prize promotion, in order for consumers to make an informed decision and not be misled. Such significant conditions include:

  • How entrants can participate
  • Who the promotion is open to (ie UK 18+)
  • Closing date
  • Nature of the prize(s)
  • A link to full Ts&Cs

This may seem difficult to get across on Twitter due to the 140-character limit, however it is possible. Where your message goes slightly over, you can post 2 successive tweets, provided 1/2 and 2/2 are included. However, you would not be able to pin one and leave the other out, as both would need to be clearly accessible and consecutive.

In this instance, Thomas Cook could have tweeted posts along the lines of:
“For your chance to win a £5,000 Thomas Cook gift card, post a photo/video of your strut under this tweet and include #flamingoroam. 1/2”

With the second tweet just behind:

“UK 18+, closing date for Twitter entries 23:59 XX/06/17. Full Ts&Cs apply LINK 2/2”

An alternative solution would be to upload an image to the post, containing these full instructions as to avoid using multiple tweets. This could then be pinned.

And ditto for Facebook. In fact, there is no such character limit per post, so no excuses.

If you’re running a prize promotion on any social media channel and require assistance with your terms, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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