The CAP Code

What are the rules we follow in the UK?

The main regulatory code that affects sales promotions in the UK is the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing Practice The CAP Code which is administered and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (The ASA).

The CAP Code applies to all forms of marketing whether in advertising, on a corporate website or even in a Tweet. The underlying principles of the CAP Codes are that promotions should be legal, decent, honest and truthful (rule 1.1), be prepared with a sense of responsibility towards consumers and society (rule 1.3) and adhere to the principles of fair competition (rule 1.6).

Then are there are numerous other clauses that apply directly to the conduct of prize draws, competitions and Terms & Conditions and act as a frame for our work. Some of the key ones:


8.24 Prize Draws

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.

8.25 Instant Wins

“Participants in instant-win promotions must get their winnings at once or must know immediately what they have won and how to claim without delay, unreasonable cost or administrative barriers. ….. Instant-win tickets, tokens or numbers must be awarded on a fair and random basis and verification must take the form of an independently audited statement that all prizes have been distributed, or made available for distribution, in that manner.”
“…… Promoters should either publish or make available on request the name and county of major prize winners and, if applicable their winning entries.”

8.26 Competitions

“In competitions…..an independent judge or a panel that includes one independent member must be appointed …… In either case, the judge or panel member must be demonstrably independent, especially from the competition’s promoters…..Those appointed to act as judges should be competent to judge the competition and their full names must be made available on request

Advertisers who fail to follow these rules suffer sanctions by the ASA that include disqualification from industry awards, bad publicity, reputational damage and referals to Trading Standards and Ofcom as a legal backstop.