In September, the former Love Island star posted a photograph to her five million followers of several luxury goods, including five accessories from Louis Vuitton and a smart watch.
In the caption, Ms Hague claimed that the gifts included all came from her and were not acquired through sponsors, writing: “The thought of one of you receiving all of these things makes me so happy, I can’t wait to see who wins!
“To ENTER my giveaway and be in with the chance of winning £8,000 worth of gifts (NO SPONSORS ALL FROM ME!) then follow the steps below.”
Ms Hague proceeded to urge her followers to do the following:
- like her Instagram post
- tag a friend in the comments
- ensure they had followed her on Instagram, in addition to following the account of her cosmetics brand, and to subscribe to her YouTube channel.
Ms Hague’s post garnered almost 1.2 million likes and close to three million comments as her fans rushed to enter the competition.
However, the ASA received 12 complaints about the post, with people asking whether Ms Hague had included all the entrants in the draw to give them an equal chance of winning.
They also challenged whether the promotion was administered fairly.
In response, Ms Hague told the ASA that the post “did not provide an incentive to engage with a brand or a product and therefore they believed the post was not a promotion and would not fall under the scope of the Code”, the watchdog has said on its website.
“That notwithstanding, Ms Hague said that, in the presence and under the supervision of an independent person, she had instructed a member of her management team to pick a group of participants at random that could be publicly seen to be following her profiles. These were all manually selected out of a hat at random.”
Ms Hague claimed that this was the chosen method due to the fact that so many people entered the competition that it would not have been possible to use any kind of software to choose a winner.
The ASA stated: “Ms Hague said the response to the promotion was overwhelming and unexpected. She believed she had dealt with it in the best possible way considering how many people had entered.”
However, the ASA ruled that computer software was in fact available, “but that Ms Hague had chosen not to use it”.
“Instead, Ms Hague’s response to the complaints stated that a group of 100 participants were chosen at random out of a hat, from which a winner was chosen by a computer programme. However, we had not seen evidence to show that the initial selection was made randomly.”
The ASA added that it was not clear what criteria had been applied to select the smaller pool, other than that they were publicly following Ms Hague’s profile.
The watchdog concluded: “We understood from Ms Hague’s response that the full competition requirements had only been applied to the selected group of 100 entries.
“At the same time, an Instagram Story from Ms Hague’s account after the promotion’s closing date stated that a smaller shortlisted group of 25 was entered into a computer programme to determine the winner, and stated that all those selected had entered more than once.
“We were concerned by the inconsistencies in the information provided, but in either case, we had not seen evidence to show that the shortlisted participants were chosen randomly.”
The ASA concluded that Ms Hague informed them the prize winner was selected randomly using computer software, but that they had not seen evidence to show that was the case.
“We had not seen evidence that the prize was awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and by an independent person or under the supervision of an independent person,” it added.
“We concluded that the promotion was not administered fairly and therefore breached the Code.”
The Independent has contacted a representative for Ms Hague for comment.
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