Can The ISP Seal the Deal on Consumer Competition Protection?

Posted on: May 12th, 2009 by Jason 3 Comments

Not every competition runs smoothly and quite often compers can be left frustrated and bewildered by issues relating to competition mechanics and prize fulfillment. There’s little in the way of regulation and avenues of complaint are often closed or difficult. Is that all about to change? We’ve received a press release from The Institute of Sales Promotion, the body which represents UK marketers who run promotions and competitions who are launching a new scheme – the ISP Seal.

The Seal will appear on promotions which the ISP’s Legal Advisory Service determines are legal and follow the marketing industry’s self-regulatory code, and where the promoter has signed up to a code of conduct. The ISP Seal has been created to reassure consumers that they can respond to promotions, safe in the knowledge that they are properly run. Its launch is in response to consumer concerns following recent media coverage of problems with some high-profile promotions and competitions.

According to the press release “ISP members are responsible for the bulk of the competitions, prize draws, two-for-one deals, money-off coupons, vouchers for free or reduced price holidays, free or reduced price tickets for attractions and similar offers that appear on packs of consumer products or are advertised in the press, magazines, direct mail, leaflets or on the Internet”.

The ISP Seal logo includes the web address of a microsite which carries information about the Seal, a list of promotions that have been granted the right to use it and other information about how promotions are regulated, consumer rights and how people can complain about activities they think break the rules. At time of writing no promotions, other than The ISP’s test data, are listed!

Any initiative which protects compers is a good one, but with so many competitions and offers around we do wonder whether The ISP will be able to provide an effective long term solution or whether anyone will really care? Are the seals just a gimmick that will appear for a few months before being discarded as an extra bit of unnecessary hoop jumping for promoters on tight deadlines to deal with?

Will these seals make any difference to day to day comping issues, for example the recent Magnum competition problems? Will promoters pick up a seal and suddenly start to run competitions properly? And will compers, who are usually attracted by the prizes, be bothered to look for a seal and be comforted by it’s presence or concerned by it’s absence?

We’re not so sure… only time will tell whether The ISP can really seal the deal on consumer competition protection.

Why not let us know your views?

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  • jan1972

    I think it’s a great idea, If a comp with the seal does happen to have technical difficulties at least we will have the reassurance of knowing that all prizes will be given and that it will be resolved. Rather than the not knowing we all had with magnum.
    Janette x

  • felixthecat

    its a great idea and should be considered by all running competitions fairly!! i think the magnum fiasco has been more a problem with the cards pairing up to the validation codes sent, a rather large oversite but perhaps they wernt contemplating so many multiple winners lol ! so a hold on notifying winners perhaps was the only way to sort new cards out, something perhaps we will never know.

  • And having a seal would have made what difference? This is where I’m confused by it… mistakes will still happen and surely major companies will want to rectify these things (or people can complain via ISP or ASA).

    Just because a comp will have seal doesn’t equate to it running as the promoter expects… problems will still occur, but I guess ISP may preferentially treat issues for “sealed up” promotions vs those that are not?

    Most problems in comps tend to appear because of an oversight – most of the time they get rectified.

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