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29/01/2020

ASA rules The Sun promotion for Legoland tickets breached CAP Code

Subject: Selling and marketing/Advertising Codes

Source: Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

A promotion run by The Sun for tickets to Legoland was challenged for not making clear the limitations of the promotion to participants; it did not state that there was limited availability for tickets during weekends or school holidays.

The Sun claimed that there were sufficient tickets over the entire period of the promotion. However it admitted that tickets for the school summer holidays sold out on 21 April 2019, which was the first day that readers could book.

In its ruling, the ASA noted that the CAP Code stated that promoters must be able to demonstrate that they had made a reasonable estimate of the likely response to a promotion and either that they were capable of meeting it, or that they clearly presented sufficient information to consumers to make an informed decision on whether or not to participate. Phrases such as “subject to availability” did not relieve promoters of their obligation to do everything reasonable to avoid disappointing participants.

The CAP Code also stated that promoters must not encourage the consumer to make a purchase or series of purchases as a precondition to applying for promotional items if the number of those items were limited, unless the limitation was made sufficiently clear at each stage for the consumer accurately to assess whether participation was worthwhile. The terms and conditions stated that tickets during school holidays had limited availability, although this was not stated on the ad itself.

Although tickets for dates over the school summer holidays had run out on the first day that readers were able to book, readers were still able to collect codes for a further nine days and were not informed that there was no longer availability over the school summer holiday period. Therefore, readers did not have the opportunity to assess whether or not participation was worthwhile, as they would have continued to purchase newspapers to collect codes without knowing that key dates were no longer available.

The ASA ruled that the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.2 (Promotional marketing) and 8.9, 8.10 and 8.12 (Availability).

 

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