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Product: Food & Beverages
Advertiser: Pepsico Europe - Walkers
Medium: Internet, Social Media, Television
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.11, 5.12, 5.16, 5.18
Advertising for the Walkers Spell and Go promotion appeared on television, on social media and on the Walkers website.
A television advertisement, featured Gary Lineker in various holiday scenes in which he is requested to join in. The first scene featured a group of people playing beach volleyball.
One of the women calls to Gary: "Hey Gary, come and play!" and he replies: "I'd love to but I need a P"
The next scene featured a group of surfers running into the sea to surf, one turns around and says “Come on guys, let’s go” to which Gary replies, “Can’t, I need a P”.
The following scene featured a jeep with three people inside. The driver opens the passenger door while all passengers say "Gary". He replies "Sorry guys, desperate for a P"
A woman, dressed in an Ursula Andress style bikini says "Come".
The scene then switched to Gary Lineker daydreaming in a coffee shop, holding an open packet of Walkers crisps, while it's raining heavily outside. The waiter puts a cup of coffee on the table. Gary is then looking at his tablet and says "I need a P". On the screen of his tablet is the word CY RUS. He presses the space between the letters and a ‘P’ appears revealing the destination ‘CYPRUS’. He suddenly gets up and shouts, "Yes".
The voiceover says “Desperate for a holiday? Collect the letters from Walkers packs, spell a destination and win one of 20,000 holidays.”
On screen text stated: “20,000 holidays to be won in partnership with lastminute.com”
Small print on the second half of the advertisement stated: “Open 10.04.2016 to 31.07.2016. UK&ROI, 18+. Purchase necessary. Spell one of 26 destinations. see walkers.co.uk for T&Cs and to play”
A Facebook post on the Walkers Crisps Ireland page stated:
“Over the next 90 days Walkers will be giving away 20,000 holidays! All you have to do is collect letters from specially marked packs, spell a destination and enter them online at walkers.co.uk/spellandgo. It’s as easy as A,_,C!. T&C’s apply walkers.co.uk/spellandgo/terms”
Details of how to enter the competition were provided on the Walkers website and stated:
“Walkers are giving away up to 20,000 4-star holidays for seven nights for four people. Start collecting letters today for your chance to win! Register your details here and enter the code to reveal your letter. Keep collecting until you have all the letters to spell one of 26 set destinations”.
On promotional packs of Walkers Crisps an instant win promotion stated:
“Plus 250,000 instant prizes! Look inside for a sachet.”
Six complaints were received regarding the advertising for the promotion.
The complainants considered that the promotion was misleading as they were unable to source three letters, ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘K’ that were required for all destinations included in the promotional offer. The complainants advised that they had entered the competition multiple times, in one case over 100 times, without ever receiving any of the above three letters. They considered that the advertisers had deliberately withheld the letters.
The complainants referred to difficulties accessing the promotional website and said that when they attempted to use promotional codes they had received with promotional packs, they would receive error messages or that the website was inaccessible.
Two of the complainants also considered that the statement on the Walkers Facebook page that they were giving away 20,000 holidays was misleading as this statement had given the impression that all of the 20,000 holidays would be given away when in fact they said that less than 800 had been won.
One complainant considered that the terms and conditions of the offer which advised that the letters would be drawn at random was untrue as he believed the letters were not drawn at random.
One of the complainants referred to the instant win element of the promotion saying that he purchased approximately 30 packs without finding a sachet.
In reply Pepsico stated that there were two parts of the promotion, the first of which involved a letter collection mechanism through which consumers had the opportunity to win one of 20,000 holidays. The second part of the promotion was an instant win mechanism where 250,000 coupons for holiday related items were inserted into promotional packs.
In regards to the letter collection promotion they said that there were at least 20,000 holiday prizes to be won in total, of which at least 3,000 were to either Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kerala, Koh Samui, Krabi, Kuala Lumpur, Kuta, Marrakech, New York, Osaka, Phuket, Sri Lanka or Tokyo. The remaining 17,000 were holidays to either Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Budapest, Corfu, Crete, Cyprus, Florence, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Majorca, Munich or Nice.
They said that the primary way for consumers to collect letters was by buying a promotional pack of Walkers crisps, registering their details on the website to create a promotional account and entering their unique 12 digit code found on their packs to collect a letter. They said that the promotion closed on 31st July and was re-opened for a 24 hour period on 4th August. They said that over and above collecting letters from on pack codes, consumers could also collect additional letters by participating in various promotions on Walkers social media pages, ad shells, TV adverts, radio and national newspapers. They said that any letters and holidays given out through these additional channels were over and above the letters on promotional packs facilitating the minimum 20,000 holidays available to be won.
In order for them to ensure that they honoured the claim that 20,000 holidays could be won, they said that they made sure that the holiday wins were for a destination that was made up of Type 1 and Type 2 letters. Type 1 letters being ‘C’, ‘D’, and ‘K’ and Type 2 being the remaining letters of the alphabet apart from ‘Q’, ‘V’ and ‘Z’ which did not appear in any of the destinations on offer. They said that at least one Type 1 letter appeared in all 26 holiday destinations and that there were at least 20,000 of these letters in circulation through promotional packs. They said that the mix of letters needed ensured that there were at least 20,000 holidays to be won.
In regards to the allocation of letters, they said that in order to ensure a random allocation of letters to codes, they contracted an independent service provider (SPI) that specialised in unique code generation and code reading technology using specialised systems to ensure all codes generated were unique. They said that these unique codes appeared on the promotional packaging and were each pre-linked to a particular letter. They said that SPI loaded all of the unique codes on to SD cards which were encrypted and loaded into code readers in the Walkers factory. They said that there was no human interaction and the code printing process was highly secure and they ensured that the unique codes in at least 20,000 of the promotional packs were linked to Type 1 letters.
They said that once a promotional pack was purchased, a consumer entered the 12 digit unique code online and once entered, there was a link from the consumer facing website to a code validation system which validated the code. They said that this was a closed loop system and therefore, very secure. They also said that their promotional website had a swap function which allowed a consumer to select a letter from their dashboard and submit that selected letter to be swapped for an alternate letter from a letter pool. They said that the letter swap was automatically done by a computer system using an algorithm and there was no human intervention in this process therefore negating the possibility of manipulation.
They also said that they were fully insured with a third party insurer for the redemption of 20,000 holidays during the course of the promotion. They said given that it was the purpose of any promotion to drive consumer engagement, it was in their interests to ensure that as many consumers as possible entered their codes and claimed holidays and also that their insurance coverage was based on a fixed fee, therefore, the best outcome for them would be for all 20,000 holiday prizes were to be claimed. In view of this, there was no incentive for them to withhold any letters. They also said that they assessed several potential partners for the promotion and chose to work with Lastminute.com given the confidence that this company would have the capacity to fulfil the 20,000 holiday prize commitment.
They said that the promotion received over 1.9 million valid codes entered by 755,834 unique users and all valid codes were issued with Type 1 or Type 2 letters and they confirmed that 796 holidays were claimed.
They said that it was entirely down to luck if a consumer bought a pack with a code which was pre-linked to a Type 1 letter. They said that while many consumers found a Type 1 letter, they did not find the required Type 2 letters to win a holiday. They said that the terms and conditions on the promotional packs clearly stated what consumers needed to do to enter and possibly win one of 20,000 holidays in this game of chance. They said that the front of the packs had clearly referred to the back of the pack for full promotional terms and conditions and once a consumer turned over the pack, there was a four step guide to how they can enter as well as short terms and conditions whereby consumers are given all the information necessary to enable them to decide if they wanted to purchase the product and enter the promotion or not. They also said that it had highlighted that there were more comprehensive terms and conditions on the promotional website.
They said that they believed that they were clear throughout the promotion that 20,000 holidays were available to be won.
In response to the complaints that their source code was missing the letters ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘K’, they said that as previously advised, their promotional website linked to a code validation system that validated the code entered. They said that it was a secure closed loop system process and once the code was confirmed as valid by their independent service provider it was then sent to a further independent service provider. Neither of these two parties received any consumer data and they had no information about the participant or the codes/letters already collected in their dashboard. They confirmed that at least 20,000 ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘K’ letters were available through promotional packs.
In response to the difficulties the complainants had validating codes they said that the codes were printed at their manufacturing site with between 85 – 100 bags being produced every minute on each machine. They said that they had robust quality checks in place to check the integrity of the codes. They did not consider that there was any material error, technical or otherwise, with the promotion or their packaging. They said that from the total number of packs printed, their customer relations team had received 0.0005% complaints relating to missing digits in codes. In order for them to address any issues with codes, they had included the telephone number of their consumer services team on the pack and on their promotional website. They said that when consumers had alerted them to a missing digit, the incomplete code was sent by them to the relevant technical partners responsible for code validations, who were then able to provide the complete code to the consumer.
In regards to their website, they said that they did encounter an issue on 31st July which was caused by a technical issue at a third party service website provider. They swiftly dealt with this issue and took the step of re-opening the promotion for a 24 hour period on 4th August to ensure that any consumers who had been impacted by the website had another chance to enter their codes.
In response to the complaints regarding their Facebook post, they said that it was correct in that 20,000 holidays were being given away and that it was in their interests to give all of these away, however, due to the nature of the promotion they were unable to control whether or not all of the holidays available to be won were in fact claimed.
In regards to the issue regarding the random draw of letters, they said that Rule 8 of their terms and conditions which had stated “letters will be given away at random through online, television and print forms of media”, had clearly related to additional letter giveaways and not the distribution of letters through on pack codes. They said that where additional letter giveaways were undertaken, e.g., through social media competitions, the terms of those giveaways were made clear at the time. They also referred to Rule 10 of the t&c’s which stated that letters received through the use of on pack codes may appear in different volumes. They again referred to the fact that they ad contracted specialist independent service providers for the technical on pack coding, website administration for processing the codes and again for the validation of the codes. All of the codes were encrypted and there was no human interaction that could impact on the integrity of the random allocation of letters to codes within the parameters of the promotion.
In regards to the instant win promotion they said that they had contracted an independent service provider to print the instant win sachets and a security company to be present at the factory to ensure that a minimum of 250,000 instant win sachets were inserted into the 385 million promotional packs. They explained that insertion of the instant win sachets into the winning promotional packs was done at random in proportion to the product levels of each flavour, with no segregation based on where they were distributed to. They said that the independent third party would not have had access as to the distribution destinations of the packs. They also said that every pack in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland had an equal chance of winning an instant win promotion.
They provided information on the number of instant win prizes claimed by consumers from the Republic of Ireland.
Finally, they did not consider that their promotion had breach the ASAI Code.
Complaints Upheld In Part
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response.
Issue 1 – Not Upheld
The Committee noted that entrants were required to spell out one of the destinations included in the offer by collecting letters from promotional packs of Walkers crisps. They noted that the letters were split into two types by the promoter, Type 1 and Type 2 with Type 1 being the letters ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘K’ and that at least one of these Type 1 letters was required to spell out one of the destinations. The Committee noted the procedures put in place by the promoter to ensure that the allocation of Type 1 and Type 2 letters to the codes was entirely random. The Committee did not consider that the promoter had deliberately withheld the Type 1 letters from the draw and in the circumstances they did not consider that this aspect of the promotion was in breach of the Code.
Issue 2 – Not Upheld
The Committee noted that the promoter encountered technical difficulties with their website on the last day of the promotion due to a third party. The Committee noted that the promoter re-opened the promotional website for a further 24 hours to facilitate entrants impacted by the difficulties.
In regards to the complaints that they were unable to validate codes, the Committee noted the level of complaint compared to the level of codes produced was extremely small. The Committee considered that the steps put in place to deal with such errors by Walkers was sufficient. The Committee did not consider that the technical difficulties using the website or validating codes was in breach of the Code and they did not uphold this aspect of the complaints.
Issue 3 – Upheld
The Committee noted that the Facebook post had stated that the promoter would be giving away 20,000 holidays. The Committee noted that the promoter had an insurance policy in place that was based on a fixed fee for 20,000 holidays. The Committee also noted that the post had included the reference to collecting letters from packs and having to spell a destination in order to win. The Committee considered, however, that the language used in the statement had given the impression that all 20,000 holidays would be won rather than the fact that there was an opportunity to win one of the holidays. As such, the Committee considered that the Facebook post was in breach of Section 5.5 of the Code.
Issue 4 – Not Upheld
The Committee noted that the terms and conditions referenced by the complainant related to an extra draw for letters and not the main mechanism for allocation of letters. The Committee noted the processes in place by the promoter to ensure that allocation of letters by all means was random. In the circumstances the Committee did not upheld this aspect of the complaint.
Issue 5 – Not Upheld
The Committee noted that the instant win promotion had been advertised on packs, stating that there were 250,000 prizes and that consumers should look for a sachet in their pack. The Committee noted that the complainant had purchased 30 packs without finding a sachet. While the Committee considered that the level of instant win packs out of the total promotional packs produced was quite small, they did not consider that the promoter had misled consumers as to the level of availability of the instant win prizes.
The Committee noted that the insertion of the instant win sachets was carried out randomly with no differentiation made in the distribution of the winning sachets between the UK and the Republic of Ireland markets. They had concerns that, from a truly random point of view, the advertisers were not able to guarantee that any of the winning packets would be distributed in Ireland. However, the Committee noted that consumers in the Republic of Ireland had won and claimed prizes and so did not uphold the complaint.
The advertisers should be more specific in any future promotions regarding the opportunity to win the maximum number of prizes and ensure that it can be shown that at the start of the promotion that winning packs have been allocated to the Republic of Ireland where promotions are being run concurrently across multiple countries.