Molly-Mae Hague faced a torrent of backlash from some of her social media followers this week after an Instagram giveaway she posted sparked controversy.
While a lucky winner took home £ 8,000 worth of Louis Vuitton, Apple and beauty products, many complained that the competition was unfair after the ex-Love Islander entered just 25 of the two million who took part in a random generator.
Many of the participants took to social media to claim this was a ‘scam’ and ‘not well done’ after the social media star revealed on her Instagram live story how the winner was chosen.
What conditions should have applied and should influencers, such as companies, undergo stricter controls when organizing a competition?
Molly-Mae’s giveaway was criticized after she put just 25 contestants into a random generator
To enter, those who wanted to win had to like her Instagram post and tag a friend, subscribe to her YouTube page, and follow her and her tanning bed brand on Instagram.
For an additional submission, followers had to share her first post on their Instagram story for a bonus submission.
Many influencers are now using these giveaways to gain more followers, while Molly-Mae is gaining about half a million extra followers as a direct result of the competition.
However, these contests are regulated by both laws and the Advertising Standards Authority.
Jeremy Stern, CEO of PromoVeritas, promotional compliance experts, said: “ The law provides a regulatory framework and deals with high-level issues such as misleading consumers, selling under cover, making paid ads look like editorials and writing from fake reviews. ‘
The Advertising Standards Agency, through the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising and Direct and Promotional Marketing (CAP Code), covers many more of the details and execution aspects of running a marketing campaign.
It states that prizes must be as stated and delivered within 30 days unless otherwise stated, and clear terms and conditions must be available at the time of entry.
It adds that prizes must be clearly described, all entry requirements must be clearly stated and, if it is a prize draw, the winners must be selected in accordance with the rules of chance and by an independent entity or supervised by an independent entity.
Stern said, “In the case of Molly Mae, she has failed on all of the above. When it says you get a year’s supply of hair tan and a full BeautyWorks hair transformation, what is a year’s supply? She says you get tons of Apple goodies – what’s a lot? ‘
‘Dishonest’: backlash on social media
A number of social media users took to the internet to complain about the giveaway, and many thought it was unfair.
Some went so far as to say it was like a ‘scam’ after just 25 names entered into a random generator.
However, some defended Molly-Mae, saying contestants should be happy for the winner.
This Twitter user labeled the giveaway as unfair and blamed the random generator
Another user claimed it was unfair to choose only 25 people
One person said the giveaway was a ‘scam’ after choosing just a handful of names
He adds that the rules do not specify who can enter the competition and that there should be age and geographic limits – if only because prize draws are regulated or illegal in some countries.
However, as it doesn’t say it’s a giveaway for the UK, when Molly-Mae says the match closes at midnight, it leaves it open to interpretation as to what time zone that is.
Stern believes that Molly-Mae should have had a simple summary explaining the rules, for example ’18 +, UK only prize draw. One entry per person. Closes 11:59 p.m. 9/20/20. ‘
Additionally, there should be a link to read the full terms and conditions, such as ‘Terms apply essentially meaningless’.
Molly-Mae said she discussed with her management the best way to select the winner as there was no software or app that allowed her to post two million Instagram comments without logging in with her password, which she’d never to do’.
Fame: Molly-Mae gained millions of followers after appearing on Love Island last summer
Stern added that it is not always easy to extract data from Instagram unless you have certain types of accounts.
In this case, you may have a limit, say, to get information from only 1,000 accounts, which is why Molly-Mae struggled to find a way to choose from two million names without using her Instagram password.
Even if you get all the data, the draw itself shouldn’t be conducted by Molly-Mae herself, without proper independent oversight. It is a simple practice designed to avoid room for abuse, fraud or deception.
Besides, she has a closing time of midnight. We always try to avoid this. When is midnight on Monday? Is it the time between Sunday and Monday or between Monday and Tuesday? Saying Monday at 11:59 pm is so much clearer. ‘
It does not appear that an independent assessment has been made.
However, Molly-Mae avoided a common problem with influencers where they did not identify commercial relationships with brands.
Many influencers get freebies or are paid to promote products and by law they have to say it is advertising or a paid relationship – even for 12 months after a formal period has ended.
Since Molly-Mae bought all the products with her own money and stated this, she didn’t have to worry about breaking any ad rules.
Molly-Mae had to post this on her Instagram stories to defend the winner of the giveaway
This is an area in which the Competition and Markets Authority is increasingly taking harsh action, as it violates the law.
This is Money contacted Molly-Mae’s management about the giveaway, but it said it had no comment.
Prize draws, where the winner is randomly selected, rather than a competition where prizes are awarded based on skill, are likely within the purview of the ASA as a promotion.
A spokesperson for the ASA said: “We cannot say whether an ad / post is likely to break the rules without first having been reviewed by our Complaints team.
‘Our role is to ensure that all advertising is accountable. That’s why we encourage anyone who thinks a message may have broken the rules to file a complaint with us. ‘
According to the ASA, the winners of the prize draw must be chosen randomly. This can be done by using a computer process that provides verifiably random results.
If no such computer process is used, the draw should be done or supervised by someone who is independent.
Important terms and conditions related to the prize draw must also be stated in the initial marketing materials.
Other terms and conditions for promotions with prizes must be available before or at the time of entry, but do not need to be given as much attention.
Prize draws do not have a ‘game’ element, unlike many TV competitions, because there is no skill involved. If it took skill to win, it would likely be classified as a competition.
While the ASA will take action against ads that violate our rules, it said it would not comment on posts for matches that are advertised legally and responsibly.
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