Space NK rapped for ‘unfair’ advent calendar competition

By Julia Wray | Published: 1-Mar-2024

The UK’s advertising watchdog ruled that not all valid entries and some invalid ones were potentially included in Space NK’s prize draw

A Space NK advent calendar competition has been branded ‘unfair’ by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ruling followed a complaint about a 13 September 2023 Instagram post on the beauty retailer’s account, featuring a video that demonstrated its 2023 beauty advent calendar. 

A caption below the video stated “A COMPETITION YOU’LL WANT TO ENTER! WIN The 2023 Space NK Beauty Advent Calendar… to enter all you need to do is Follow Space NK; Comment a [present emoji]; Tag 3 Friends; Get 0 Likes on your comment; Share to your stories for TWO bonus entries”.

In addition to the criteria in Space NK’s caption, the promotion also allowed entrants to qualify for two bonus entries by sharing the promotional post as an Instagram story.

The complainant challenged whether the prize was awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and whether the promotion was administered fairly.

According to the ASA, Space NK was able to demonstrate that the final winner was selected via a piece of online software that produced a verifiably random result. 

However, the premium retailer failed to demonstrate that all valid entries were included in the final draw and that invalid entries had been excluded. 

The ASA said Space NK could not show that the manual review conducted before entrants were placed into the online software excluded entries that were ‘liked’ after the prize draw closed, but before the list of valid entries was compiled.

Additionally, because Space NK could only review whether a private account had mentioned the company in a story post (rather than if they had shared the promotional post itself), the watchdog believed two bonus entries could have been awarded to participants who had not necessarily met the full requirements. 

The ASA also noted no evidence of terms in place to prevent the ‘zero likes’ component of the promotion being abused; it observed that by liking another’s comment, participants could increase their chances of winning.

It concluded the promotion had not been administered fairly, breaching several UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) rules. 

As well as querying the fairness of Space NK’s advent calendar promotion, the complainant  challenged if the ad also breached the Code because it omitted ‘significant conditions for promotion’.

This was also upheld by the ASA, which noted that the Instagram post did not state the specific time the draw started, or the specific closing time. 

Nor did it state that participants could make more than one entry into the draw by posting more than one comment. 

The ASA said it considered these significant conditions, which were likely to affect consumers’ understanding of the promotion and their decision to participate.

The marketing watchdog warned Space NK that any future promotions must be administered fairly and designed in a way not open to abuse, and that they include all significant conditions.

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