A substantial number of companies continue to find themselves repeatedly breaching the same CAP Code rules. The list below highlights: (a) common repeated offences that CAP continue to adjudicate; and (b) common problems with adverts that we (at Dentons) continue to see at the beginning of a campaign.

Closing dates

The closing date of a promotion should not be varied except in extremely limited circumstances and closing dates should be made clear and easily identifiable.

Data collection and use

Within many companies we see a disconnect between marketers and legal. Often, the purpose of a promotion is to obtain and use valuable data. If data is collected, companies must ensure that they comply with applicable data protection regulation and that consent in correctly obtained. 

Product descriptions

Make sure prize/product descriptions (including photographs) match the prize/product available to be won, purchased or advertised. Further, do not mislead consumers by exaggerating a prize/product.

Free claims

Make sure any free promotion does not contain hidden conditions. Transparency is key. 

Child/prize disconnect

Ensure that prizes available to be won are appropriate for the targeted entrants. For example, a prize to a theme park may be suitable for young people, but not if the prize is only redeemable on a school day. 

Significant conditions

Make sure significant conditions are positioned in a clear, prominent position. 

Social media

We are seeing a lot more companies engage with key influencers and celebrities on social media. The purpose of such engagements is to promote products in a subtle, non-invasive, manner. When engaging key influencers/celebrities to promote your company/products, ensure that any promotion/advert is clearly identifiable as such.  

The good news for companies is that the above common mistakes/offences can be fixed through closer collaboration between legal and marketing teams. In addition, where: (a) consumer data is collected; (b) children are targeted; or (c) a campaign is substantially innovative, marketers should be encouraged to involve legal teams early on in their planning. Further, marketers often feel an element of reservation in engaging legal teams due to concerns that they may block exciting campaigns. Therefore, legal teams should aim to be commercial and pragmatic in the advice that they provide.