Articles | Can you use another company’s product as a prize?

This article looks at the recent ASA ruling relating to the use of third party products as competition prizes.

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Cathrine Ripley

Cathrine Ripley

You decide to run a competition to promote your products. Offering a desirable luxury item as the prize seems like a good way to attract interest – but what if the manufacturer of the prize objects to this?

This should not be a problem now, following the ruling in September by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Stella McCartney Limited (SML) complained to the ASA because SCA Hygiene Products (which makes Bodyform sanitary products) ran an online draw to win Stella McCartney underwear.

SML complained to the ASA that the advertisement was denigratory and took unfair advantage of the Stella McCartney brand by associating it with the Bodyform brand without SML’s permission.

However, the ASA accepted Bodyform’s argument that there was no implied comparison between the two brands and that consumers would understand the advertisement as being a claim by Bodyform that the Stella McCartney underwear was a product of value and a desirable prize. Bodyform had not stated that its brand or the competition was endorsed by SML and so Bodyform was not required to obtain SML’s consent to refer to the Stella McCartney brand.

This decision gives helpful clarification on an issue that often arises in practice. But care should still be taken whenever promoting a third party product as a competition prize – and certainly it would not be a good idea to use such a product as a booby prize!