A recent ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency (the “ASA”) provides a useful reminder of the importance of ensuring that rules for sales promotions are unambiguous. The ruling concerned a Harrods promotion called “Put The Harrods Green Man On The Map”. For a chance of winning a prize, entrants were instructed to download a paper picture of the Harrods “Green Man” character, take a paper picture of the Green Man “wherever you are in the world” and post the picture on Instagram.

The promotion was subject to both the Harrods general promotion rules and a set of special rules particular to that promotion. The general rules were stated to apply unless otherwise specified. The special rules did not state that the general rules did not apply.

The ASA received complaints about the promotion on two grounds. The first was that the initial three winners of the promotion had submitted multiple entries into the promotion in breach of the general promotion rules which specified one entry per person. However, the special rules did not specify a limit on the number of times an individual could enter the promotion. The ASA said that the two sets of rules were confusing and so it was unclear whether or not multiple entries were permitted.

The second ground for complaint was that two of the winners had not complied with the requirements of entry, in one case because the entry was simply a picture of the Green Man against a piece of paper and in the other, because it appeared that the Green Man had been superimposed onto another image. The ASA held that the promotion rules were not clear about the criteria which the pictures had to meet in order to win and so it was difficult to objectively determine whether or not the entries were eligible.

The ASA concluded that the promotion had not been administered fairly and Harrods was warned to ensure that all future promotions had clear rules. The ruling highlights the importance of taking the time to ensure that promotion rules are clear. For more about this ruling or about the legal requirements for sales promotions, please contact Nicola Broadhurst, Commercial Partner who will be pleased to assist.  A full copy of the ASA ruling can be found by clicking here.