Are your promotions disability friendly?
A recent ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority highlights the important issue of disability discrimination and rights, something marketers often neglect to consider.
Most of you will know that your promotions, and their terms and conditions, need to conform to the CAP Code (as overseen by the ASA). But failure to consider the implications of wider statutory legislation can lead to PR disasters and damage to brands’ reputations, not to mention the threat of legal action.
One recent example is the case of Go Provence Supported Holidays Ltd. They ran an advertisement in a disability lifestyle magazine offering the chance to win a week long all-inclusive holiday at a supported resort for adults and children with learning disabilities. However, a complaint was made by the winner, a wheelchair user, that the prize, an adventure experience involving kayaking and swimming, did not take into consideration the needs of those with physical disabilities or wheelchair users.
The complaint was upheld by the ASA, with the Ruling stating that because the advert was placed in a disability focused magazine the promoter should have made it clearer to entrants that there were restrictions. This Ruling is also a nod to the wider implications of the Equality Act 2010 and the risk to budgets and reputations of not considering all risks and eventualities.
The Operations team at PromoVeritas have been trained to consider the needs of all aspects of disability in the management of prize winners and our Legal team frequently raise queries with promoters on whether a particular prize is suitable or how to bring restrictions to the attention of the right audience.
Keep your eyes on the prize: Whatever you are giving away, make sure you sense check it first and decide whether it would be unsuitable for certain entrants.
Do some research: If your prize is specific to a venue, hotel or location make sure you check how accessible it is first. For instance, many older theatres are not wheelchair friendly or there may be a physical element to the prize that could be difficult for a disabled person to access.
Spell it out: Never exclude disabled people from entering – this is discrimination. But when prizes are inaccessible do include clauses in your T&Cs that make it clear that elements of the prize are beyond the promoter’s control and therefore it may not be suitable for disabled entrants.
Have a contingency: When a person with a disability wins a prize there are always solutions. PromoVeritas have experience of finding alternative arrangements or ensuring that accessible travel is organised. There may be additional costs involved – for carers, different hotels, taxis etc. – but the the result is priceless; a happy winner and no threat of bad publicity.
ASA rulings and widespread criticism of campaigns can undo all of the hard work a marketing team conducts to build a brand’s integrity and strengths. PromoVeritas are experts in reviewing campaigns and promotions to ensure they are free from risk and are legally compliant, so brands can be secure in the knowledge. For help and advice running successful promotions contact PromoVeritas at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 203 325 6000.