McCain and Highland Spring promotions: ASA complaints upheld

The Advertising Standards Authority have finally published their ruling on the McCain Great Village Raffle, concluding it wasn’t run fairly and McCain ‘exaggerated’ the chance of winning.

I’ve written about the Great Village Raffle several times on SuperLucky since it launched in February 2017, as I felt the advertising was misleading and likely to confuse consumers. £3 million of prizes (including ten prize cars) were advertised on packs and in adverts, but less than 1% of those prizes were awarded.

McCain Great Village Raffle ‘exaggerated’ the chance of winning

On the ASA website, we finally discover how many promotional codes were printed onto packs – 53,317,540. So the chance of winning one of the 28,515 advertised prizes if you entered your code was 1-in-1870. This is the important information that I would like to see featured in the small print if a brand decided to run this type of promotion – it’s honest, and we can then decide whether to buy the product or not based on the chance of winning! In this case, only 342,713 promotional codes were entered online, so only 159 prizes (approximately 0.56% of the advertised prize fund) were won.

The ASA upheld the complaint, stating:

Because the ads for the instant win promotion significantly exaggerated the likelihood of consumers’ chances of winning prizes, we considered that the promotion was likely to cause unnecessary disappointment and concluded that it had not been conducted fairly.

McCain told the ASA that they have decided not to use the same mechanic in future, which is great news.

Read the ASA ruling on the McCain Great Village Raffle

Highland Spring on-pack promotion branded misleading by ASA

Highland Spring H2Oomph promotion was ‘misleading’

The ASA have also ruled that the Highland Spring H2Oomph instant win promotion was misleading. Again, the format was designed so the 10,000 advertised prizes were only available to be won. In order to be a winner, you needed to enter a batch code and upload a photo of your water bottle during an exact moment – but this important information was not printed on the product packaging.

At the time of the promotion launch, there was no information in the T&Cs about how long the winning moment was (which significantly affects the chance of winning), but after I contacted Highland Spring, they did add in that it was one second long. This gave consumers the necessary information to calculate the odds of winning – across the five month promotional period, there were 12,960,000 seconds. Divided by 10,000 prizes = a 1-in-1296 chance of hitting a winning second with each code you entered.

The ASA stated:

We considered that the mechanics of the instant win promotion meant that the chances of winning a prize were much lower than the information on the label suggested… the promotion was misleading and caused unnecessary disappointment for participants

Read the ASA ruling on Highland Spring

Unfortunately, the ‘algorithm’ type of instant win promotion where prizes aren’t guaranteed to be won is still being used by big brands like Coke and Belvoir Cordials – and no doubt the format will continue to confuse and mislead consumers in the future. As compers, we should continue to demand that the promoters make the chance of winning clearer on the packaging (Coke have done a reasonable job of this in their Summer 2018 promo), and where it isn’t clear, we can report to the ASA as misleading and hope that big brands and agencies will understand that they should be more transparent with their prize promotions in future!

If you’d like to know more about algorithm promotions, where prizes advertised are only ‘available’ to be won, please read my post on Misleading Instant Win promotions.

If you’d like to register a complaint about a competition or prize draw with the ASA, see How to complain to the ASA

2 Responses

  1. Ailsa says:

    This is great news. Well done!

  2. Francesca Jones says:

    I haven’t bought a McCain product since and I always bought McCain before this promotion, feel royaly conned that so few prizes were awarded!
    Highland Spring, what a faff to enter! I only entered o e time from a 6 pack because it wasn’t straightforward, photo struggled to load.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.