The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently reviewed some complaints filed by six complainants that alleged that the 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 contest, which was held a few months ago by Sony and GAME, was not fairly conducted, and concluded that the complaints will be upheld.
The contest allowed users to visit a certain website once a day to try to identify a certain video game character from clues that were given. After the character was identified, users then had to find that character in a graphic depicting around 300 other characters. Doing so gave users the opportunity to place an order for a special 20th Anniversary PS4 console.
However, due to some issues with the websites, users could find the answers and post them online, allowing some people to know the answers before the contest even went live in their region. This gave certain users unfair advantages, and even allowed five users to purchase two consoles each, despite the contest’s rules stating that only one console could be purchased per customer.
Sony and GAME apparently began disqualifying various individuals after discovering the fault in their system, but the ASA still upheld the complaints, saying in a recent statement that the contest “had not been administered fairly.”
Although processes had been put in place to try to prevent consumers from purchasing more than one console, at least five consumers had been able to do so, against the promotion’s terms and conditions.
We also understood that a link to the opportunity to purchase the console could be shared, which meant that neither Sony nor Game could tell whether consumers had accessed the link after having solved the clue, or having been sent the link. We considered that meant entrants who had attempted to enter by solving the clue were likely to have been disadvantaged and therefore unnecessarily disappointed.
Because, for the reasons given, the promotion had caused unnecessary disappointment, we concluded that it had not been administered fairly, and therefore that it had breached the Code.
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