Molly-Mae Hague, 21-year-old reality TV star from the Love Island show, has been identified as a serious CAP code violation with a £ 8,000 giveaway that was not fairly managed by regulators.
In our previous blog, we discussed the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decision regarding influencers and the use of social media filters. This latest ASA ruling again puts the role of influencers on social media under the microscope, this time focusing on the rules of sweepstakes, which are governed by ASA rules and advice on competitions and advertising in general.
Complaint to ASA
One influencer, Molly-Mae Hague, gave her followers the chance to win a basket of luxury goods worth £ 8,000 (about $ 11,000) if they liked her social media post, subscribed to and tagged a friend. The title of the entry said that the winner will be drawn at random. Over a million people “liked” the post and nearly three million comments were left on the post. Although computer software was available that could have made a random selection of respondents for submission, a group of 100 participants was chosen at random and then a winner was selected from a smaller group of 25 participants.
Twelve complaints were filed with ASA because not all entrants were involved in the final draw and therefore did not have the same chance of winning. The complainants alleged that the prize was not awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and that the promotion was not administered fairly.
The assessment of the ASA
The ASA said it saw no evidence that the shortlisted group of entrants was selected at random or that the prize was awarded under random law and under the supervision of an independent person (as required by the CAP) Code). The ASA therefore concluded that the raffle was not conducted fairly.
The regulator ruled that Ms. Hague was violating no less than five provisions of the rules of the GAP Code.
Take away key
As highlighted in our previous blog post, the ASA’s recent rulings reinforce the fact that influencers are being closely watched by the regulator. Influencers need to follow the same rules that apply to any major brand. The ASA continues to focus on enforcing rules on how to use social media. So far, the focus has been on disclosure requirements: ensuring that influencers make it clear when their online content is sponsored or an ad. This decision is a reminder that like any brand, influencers must adhere to all ASA rules when working online, including when running sweepstakes or contests.
Failure to fairly manage promotions, including ensuring that real winners are awarded prizes in accordance with the laws of chance, can ultimately lead to criminal prosecution for failure to comply with consumer protection and advertising laws.
Squire Patton Boggs focuses on advising on advertising, media and brands. Contact Carlton Daniel, Global Head of our Advertising, Media and Brands Group for assistance in running campaigns and promotions in accordance with rules and laws.