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Advertiser: Brentwood Coffee
Medium: Internet (Social Media), Online – Company Social Media Account, Social Media (Company's Own Page)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 5.15, 5.16
The competition details on the advertiser’s social media stated the following:
“Competition Time! We are so excited about opening our first store in Mullingar tomorrow morning that we are giving away another amazing prize!...a 5 Seater Black Rattan Effect Corner Seating + Coffee Table set for your garden https://bit.ly/30ejSWJ
All you have to do to win is:
Like this page
Share this video
Tag 3 friends
2 Double your chances at winning you can enter over on our Instagram: instagram.com/brentwoodcoffee
The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday 14th August – under the comments section of this post only. *
Best of Luck!"
The complainant considered the competition to be misleading as it was not stated that this was an Irish competition only. The complainant was declared a winner of the competition, however, as she was not resident in Ireland, she was advised they would not post the prize to her.
The advertisers said they operated two coffee shops in Ireland, in Mullingar and Tallaght. They said they were a new company, entirely owned and based in Ireland, and served the local community in both locations.
They said that at the time of the Facebook post in question, they were about to open their first store in Mullingar, Co Westmeath and that the purpose of the post was to promote the new Brentwood Coffee shop in the local community in Mullingar / Westmeath and to bring the store to the attention of potential local customers. They said that this was done by way of a competition for a 5-seater Black Rattan Effect Corner Seating and Coffee Table set and that the target audience of the post was the followers of their Facebook page along with potential customers in the Mullingar / Westmeath region.
The advertisers said that, at the time of the competition, it was clear from their Facebook homepage that Brentwood was an Irish coffee shop which was about to open their first shop in Ireland. They said the competition made specific reference to the coffee shop opening in Mullingar, as did the accompanying short video on the Facebook post. They said the links on their Facebook homepage provided further information about them.
In relation to the competition, the advertisers said the only requirements of entry were to “like”, “share” and “tag” the Facebook post. They said that when the complainant won the competition, it became apparent that she was located in Wales, UK, which was a jurisdiction where Brentwood had no commercial presence. They said that while they were prepared to award the prize to the complainant, notwithstanding the complainant’s location in Wales, an issue arose in that it would have been logistically very difficult and extremely expensive for a small organisation, such as them, to deliver by sea a prize of a large table and 5 chairs to Wales, UK. They said, however, that the complainant was informed the prize would be available for collection, which unfortunately was not acceptable to her.
The advertisers said that, while the complainant was dissatisfied with this outcome, the competition was specifically intended for local customers / potential customers of Brentwood in Ireland, not the UK or any other foreign jurisdiction. They said that while rules were not attached to the Facebook post placing geographical restriction on entrants, or alternatively the delivery of the prize to a winner outside Ireland, there was absolutely no intention to mislead by “inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise” entrants or attract entrants from outside Ireland, in view of the profile and intended market of Brentwood.
The advertisers said that steps had been taken by Brentwood to ensure that in relation to all competitions going forward, terms and conditions were attached which clearly restricted entrants to individuals located in the Republic of Ireland. They said that as a new business they were endeavouring to implement the highest standards in their dealings with their customers, notwithstanding the significant operational difficulties encountered during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that this included a commitment to the highest standards of advertising, marketing and promotion.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the advertisers were a new company owned and based in Ireland, and served the local community, and noted their significant operational difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Committee, noting that in this instance the business involved two coffee shops, considered that it was not unreasonable for such a business to understand its social media following to be a local one and not one involving people outside its locality, nor outside the country. Nevertheless, as social media could facilitate engagement from individuals in any geographical location, unless companies wished to offer the opportunity to enter a competition to anyone, promotions should set out clearly the terms and conditions of the promotion and should include a reference to any applicable geographical restrictions. As the competition did not include a term restricting the geographical location of entrants, the Committee considered that the promotion was in breach of Sections 5.15(e) and 5. 16 of the Code.
Future competitions should include terms and conditions which include any geographical or other entry restrictions.