1.    Vivobarefoot ran a competition on www.vivobarefoot.com which invited participants to design a t-shirt.  The winner would win three pairs of shoes and would have their t-shirt sold on the website. Those shortlisted would receive one of those t-shirts as well as a pair of shoes. 

A complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Authority that the competition had breached the ASA’s Code provisions on prizes and promotions, because the complainant understood that 

  (1)  the closing date had changed, and 

  (2)  the number of entries that were to be shortlisted was reduced.

Vivobarefoot responded by stating that most of the entries were not deemed to be strong enough to publish to the broader public, in the interests of brand integrity. It had extended the closing date in an attempt to get more entries, after which only nine were deemed acceptable for publication. A number of entries contained statements about the brand that could not be substantiated, and to publish them would likely generate more complaints.

The ASA nevertheless held the competition to have been administered unfairly because it ought to have foreseen the complications and provided for them in its terms. The extension of the closing date had not arisen from circumstances beyond the control of Vivobarefoot.

2.    “Sam’z Boutique”

The Facebook page of Sam’z Boutique ran a competition in which the winner would win a dress. A complaint was brought by the apparent winner, who never received the prize.

Sam’z Boutique did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries. The complaint was therefore upheld as the ASA was satisfied that the complainant was in fact announced of the winner and there was no evidence before it that the prize had ever been sent.

Take home points

Fashion businesses which run competitions can avoid issues with the ASA by foreseeing complications and responding to enquiries from the ASA. 

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