Fashion Rider is back again to provide professional advice on some major areas within the world of Fashion. In last weeks article we spoke to Tahir Basheer who is an Industry member, specialising in fashion and media law for leading London-based law firm, Sheridans. This week we will be focusing on how to stay in line with the related legal and regulated obligations of holding fashion competitions.
Competitions are one of the most interactive and effective strategies to get involved with consumers. They have the power to get your brand known, accelerate social media activity and generate sales. Therefore, it goes without saying that it is worth doing your research and follow the legal rules to avoid embarrassment, negativity and brand damage.
Nearly every major fashion brand holds various competitions from time to time, especially on social media platforms. Recently, Next Model Management launched a competition that asked Instagram users to upload a “selfie” to aid their search to find model talent. Another well-known brand Urban Outfitters had a Vine competition named “#YourChunks” where users had the chance to win a pair of Converse trainers.
So you can see how effective they can be, right?
But giving prizes away isn’t always the main objective of a fashion competition. Promotion can be a way of scouting hot new talent in areas such as designing. H&M and Saville Row have well established design competitions for students and graduates and the British Fashion Council is currently working in partnership with Topshop, Nicole Farhi, Adidas and Warehouse on similar competitions. Check it out if you think you have what it takes!
Whether your promotion has a marketing or human resources goal, it is vital to have some understanding of how the law views competitions. If you promote an illegal competition, you could face various outcomes such as legal action, investigation by regulators and damage to your brand’s reputation. No brand wants complaints from their customers so here are some simple steps to avoid this completely.
The UK draws a distinctive line between competitions, prize draws and lotteries. Lotteries are classed as gambling as they involve chance and are paid for by the entrant. However competitions and prize draws demand a significant element of skill to remain within the law that requires fairness, promise and definitely no cheating.
The Skills Test:
Another way that differentiates a competition from a lottery is the demand for the entrant to use their own skills, judgement or knowledge. As previously said, a competition cannot rely wholly on chance so the question asked (or task required) will put some people off from entering if they do not know the answer.
The CAP Code:
The Committee of Advertising Practice also has a code which regulates promotions and prize promotions (although it is not codified by law). Under the code, a promoter (i.e. the brand offering the competition) must ensure that the terms and conditions are clear.
Below are some tips Tahir has listed for key areas to clarify when writing competition terms and conditions:
1. The competition start and close times and dates.
2. Any rights to cancel the competition.
3. Who the competition promoter is – this will normally be the brand involved.
4. Any restrictions on entering the competition (e.g. aged 18 and over, or resident in the UK only, or one entry per person, or not open to employees of the brand or a student of a fashion college).
5. How the winner will be selected. If this involves judges they should be identified and also must be independent.
6. A detailed description of the prize(s) and any limitations or restrictions on the prizes.
7. How/when the winner(s) will be contacted.
8. Information required from entrants and any company use of the winners name, photo etc.
9. To ensure as far as possible the ‘free to enter’ nature of the competition, a statement that ‘no purchase is necessary’ should be included, flagging that entrants may be subject to local call charges depending on their own individual arrangements for internet access.
10. Entry to the competition being conditional on acceptance of the competition terms and conditions.
11. Information on who will own intellectual property in the entries. For example, you may want to use and own the rights in the entries if it is a design competition.
Hope this helps guys, keep an eye out for our next Tahir Tips feature.