Carlsberg glass promotion victim of own success

Carlsberg has been slammed by the advertising watchdog for failing to provide enough pint glasses to support an on-pack prize promotion.

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The promotion ran in January alongside information about a weekly prize draw with 14 big ticket prizes. The copy read “Everyone who buys a promotional pack will also be eligible to send off for a free pair of Carlsberg pint glasses … Glasses available while stock lasts”.

One complainant challenged the availability of the free glasses because after sending the required pack token he was sent a discount voucher instead.

Carlsberg said it was clear that it could only supply glasses while stock lasted. It estimated levels of demand by comparison with a previous promotion to claim free England World Cup glasses during the World Cup.

It distributed 681,498 packs in the first promotion and experienced a redemption rate of just under 0.2%.

The brewer said, based on its World Cup promotion data, it produced 3 million promotional packs for the new initiative and initially allocated 12,000 glasses to cover an estimated 6,000 redemptions. For contingencies, it added a further 8,000 glasses to cover an extra 4,000 redemptions.

However, the company said the response far exceeded anticipated demand and it increased the number of glasses to 60,000 to cover 30,000 redemptions – ensuring it should meet a 1% redemption rate.

It has now ordered enough glasses to fulfil all redemptions.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that Carlsberg had stated glasses were available while stock lasts but this did not relieve the brewer “of their obligation to do everything reasonable to avoid disappointing participants.”

The ASA pointed out that the World Cup promotion did not run alongside a prize draw, so was not similar enough for comparison purposes. It asked Carlsberg to make sure it made a reasonable estimate of demand to promotions in future.

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