The £8,000 (approx. $11,000) giveaway Molly Mae Hague offered on Instagram in September 2020 “was not administered fairly, and therefore breached the Code,” the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled.
Hague, who starred on Love Island in 2019, currently has 5.2 million followers on Instagram. She offered the giveaway, to celebrate reaching 1 million YouTube subscribers.
But the ASA received 12 complaints from people questioning whether all contestants were included in the final draw. That raised two issues for the watchdog:
- Did Hague’s Instagram giveaway adhere to the “laws of chance?
- Was the promotion administered fairly?
Hague’s Instagram Giveaway
View this post on Instagram
ASA Dismantles Hague’s Defense
Hague claimed: The post did not provide an incentive to engage with a brand or a product and therefore wasn’t a promotion or under the scope of the Code.
The ASA said: There was a limited-time offer with the chance for a prize based on a set of conditions.
That’s considered a promotion bound by the Code.
AND the ASA noted that participants were required to follow the Instagram account of Hague’s tanning brand, Filter by Molly Mae, and the prize included the brand’s products.
That’s an incentive to engage with a brand or product.
Hague claimed: The high number of entrants prohibited the use of computer software in selecting the winner.
The ASA said: “Computer software was available which could have made a random selection from the respondents to the post, but Ms Hague had chosen not to use it.”
Hague claimed: [Instead of using software] She told a member of her management team to randomly select a group of participants that could be “publicly seen to be following her profiles”, and that team member selected 100 names out of a hat.
Those names were checked, and any entrant who hadn’t followed the entry rules was replaced with another name.
Each person on this short list was assigned a number and an independent person who was not on her management team or part of her brand used a Google number picker to choose the winner.
She said she wasn’t involved in any of this process.
The ASA said: It didn’t find evidence showing the initial selection was made randomly.
And it was unclear how many entrants were pooled in the hat before the final 100 were drawn.
It was also unclear what criteria was used to select that group of 100 other than that they were publicly following Hague’s profile.
Furthermore, regulators pointed out that Hague’s statement didn’t match what she told her followers.
The ASA added: An Instagram Story from Hague’s account stated that a group of 25 was entered into a computer program…
“We were concerned by the inconsistencies in the information provided, but in either case, we had not seen evidence to show that the shortlisted participants were chosen randomly.”
Hague claimed: She handled things the way she described because response to the promotion was overwhelming and unexpected.
The ASA said: With over 5 million followers and a prize valued at over $11,000, a high level of response “should have been anticipated.”
The ASA Rules on Hague’s Instagram Giveaway
The ASA wasn’t sold on Hague’s story or moved by the excuses.
Although Hague claimed that the eventual prize winner was selected randomly using computer software, the watchdog said there was no evidence to show the participants were randomly selected or the prize was awarded in accordance with the laws of chance.
We concluded that the promotion was not administered fairly and breached CAP Code, said the ASA.
But it seems Hague got off with a stern warning.
“We told Molly Mae Hague to ensure their future promotions were administered fairly and that prizes were awarded to genuine winners in accordance with the laws of chance and by an independent person or under the supervision of an independent person,” the ASA concluded.
According to BBC, the ASA upheld another complaint against Hague last year for failing to make it clear that a post featuring a Pretty Little Thing outfit was an ad.
Listen: Facebook vs Australia: Who’s Winning? (Podcast)
Connect: Keep up with the latest news for freelancers, content creators and digital hustlers with KnowGoodWords Flipboard magazine.