PrettyLittleThing criticised for offering “unfair” promotions

// PrettyLittleThing found to be breaching advertising codes in Instagram post
// The retailer’s post included a caption which stated “Valentine’s Giveaway would you love to win all these V-Day goodies”
// The complainant challenged whether the promotion was administered fairly

PrettyLittleThing has faced criticism after an Instagram post was accused of unfairly administering promotions.

The post, which was uploaded back in February, included a caption which stated “Valentine’s Giveaway would you love to win all these V-Day goodies”.

The complainant, who believed it was not possible for the promoter to track who had fulfilled the promotion’s entry conditions, challenged whether the promotion was administered fairly.

READ MORE: PrettyLittleThing names Molly-Mae as creative director

The Advertising Standards Authority found that the retailer’s promotion was not administered fairly and therefore breached the code.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules (Promotional marketing), (Administration) and (Prize promotions).

ASA told Prettylittlething to ensure that future promotions were administered fairly and that prizes were awarded to genuine winners in accordance with the laws of chance or by an independent person or under the supervision of an independent person.

The post included the image of several PrettyLittleThing-branded shopping bags with several products displayed in front.

PrettyLittleThing responded to the complaints by highlighting that it used an independent third-party website which could download a range of data from Instagram posts, such as ‘likes’, comments and hashtags, relating to the prize draw.

It added that the computer mechanism allowed it to produce verifiable random results and select a winner.

PrettyLittleThing said it then took additional steps to check the eligibility of the chosen winner by manually checking that all entry requirements had been satisfied before awarding the prize.

The CAP Code required promoters to conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants.

Promoters were required to avoid causing unnecessary disappointment. The CAP Code also required promoters of prize draws to ensure that prizes were awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners were selected by a computer process that produced verifiably random results, this was done by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person.

The ASA said it understood that PrettyLittleThing used a computer program to download certain data, such as ‘likes’, comments and hashtags, from the promotional Instagram post and from that data a potential winner was chosen at random.

It was not clear exactly which data the program downloaded, and we understood that data from the post would not show who had fulfilled other entry requirements, such as those who had saved the promotional post or those who had commented with a heart emoji on any post.

The ASA said it considered it was important that a promoter was able to independently verify that the conditions for entry were met without requesting that information from a competition entrant.

The promotion also allowed entrants to qualify for a bonus entry by sharing the promotional post as an Instagram Story.

The ASA said that by drawing a potential winner based on the selected data from the post and then verifying whether that individual had met the entry criteria, PrettyLittleThing would be unable to verify if a post had been shared before the draw was made, and they would therefore be unable to assign those entrants who had fulfilled that requirement an additional entry.

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