YouTube and Instagram influencer, Molly-Mae Hague, has received 12 complaints made against her to the ASA following a giveaway she hosted on Instagram in September 2020.

To celebrate reaching one million YouTube subscribers, Molly-Mae wanted to give back to her followers who have supported her on her journey by offering one of her followers to win approximately £8000 of luxury goods, including handbags and a laptop. To enter, her followers had to follow actions such as sharing the post, liking, and commenting. The original post has surpassed 1.2 million likes and attracted almost three million comments.

Although we often see discussions of influencers not clearly stating when a product is gifted or their post is promotional, this was not the case for concern in Molly-Mae’s instance. The complaints that the ASA received in regards to the giveaway were questioning whether the prize was awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and whether the promotion was administered fairly.

Molly-Mae told the ASA that the winner was chosen from a random selection of 100 giveaway entrants, stating that due to the high number of entrants, she was prohibited from the use of the number generating computer software.

“Ms. Hague said that was done due to the high number of entrants which prohibited the use of computer software. Each of the 100 participants shortlisted were manually checked to verify that they had followed all profiles and had completed each step of the competition requirements – if they hadn’t, they were replaced with a different individual.

From that group of 100 randomly selected entries, the profiles were listed and assigned a number and the independent person then used a Google number picker which chose the winner.” said the ASA.

What do the ASA rules state?

After the giveaway closing date, an Instagram story on Molly-Mae’s account stated that a smaller shortlisted group of 25 was entered into a computer programme to determine the winner. Due to the inconsistencies, the ASA decided that the selection of the giveaway winner was not administered fairly, therefore breaching the code.

The conclusion that the ASA decided on is that Molly-Mae must ensure that all future promotions must be administered fairly, with prizes awarded to genuine winners in accordance with the laws of chance.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code states: “Promoters of prize draws must ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and unless winners are selected by a computer process that produces verifiably random results, by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person.”

In terms of transparency, it is apparent that both creators and brands will create a more loyal fanbase or group of consumers if they are authentic and honest regarding promotions. The importance of following the advertising standard guidelines is paramount for content creators in order to avoid both legal battles and losing loyal consumers and fans.

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