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Home Rulings MCDONALD’S / SUPER MAC BURGER COMPETITION / D NORVAL / 2018 – 8258F

MCDONALD’S / SUPER MAC BURGER COMPETITION / D NORVAL / 2018 – 8258F

Douglas Norval lodged a consumer complaint against the Respondent’s in-store display promoting Super Mac Burger Competition.

The in-store display states, inter alia, that:

- "R150 MILLION IN GUARANTEED REWARDS”;

- PRIZES TO BE WON- Fashion vouchers, kids activities, toy vouchers and more!”.

"New Grand Big Mac™. R59.90 Medium Meal. LIMITED TIME”

At the bottom it states "Promotion runs from 1 June-31 July 2018. At participating restaurants. While stocks last. R2 will be added if a sugary drink variant is chosen.” 

COMPLAINT

The Complainant submitted that the advertisements are placed on the main entrance and in the centre of the menu displays, but the competition ended on 31 July 2018. The information is only shown in a very small writing under the second, not related product, at the bottom of the display.

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE

In light of the complaint the Directorate considered Clause 4.2.1 of Section II (Misleading claims) to be relevant.

RESPONSE

The Respondent submitted that all McDonald’s restaurants were instructed that, at the end of the promotion period (or when all rewards vouchers had been redeemed), all promotional material in respect of the promotion should be removed from the restaurant. It appears that the Grand Big Mac promotional material had not been removed from the Beyers Naude Drive restaurant on 31 July 2018 or on the date that the restaurant issued its final voucher. (It should be noted that certain restaurants still had rewards vouchers available during the month of August and as such, and in accordance with the promotion rules, were permitted to display promotional material and issue rewards vouchers to customers beyond 31 July 2018.)

The Respondent argued that, based on the fact that all McDonald’s restaurants were instructed to remove the posters at the end of the Grand Big Mac promotion, it is clear that there was an oversight by restaurant manager. In the circumstances, it is clear that this situation was a service level error at the particular McDonald’s restaurant in question rather than misleading advertising. The restaurant (and all other McDonald’s restaurants) has again been informed to remove all outdated promotional material for the promotion. 

Notwithstanding the above, it acknowledges that the customer is entitled to receive what was offered to him on the menu board. As other McDonald's restaurants still have rewards vouchers in their possession, it would like to offer the Complainantt the promotional rewards that he would have been entitled to had the promotion still been running at the Beyers Naude restaurant.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING

The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

Clause 4.2.1 of Section II stipulates that advertisements should not contain any statement or visual presentation which, directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity, inaccuracy, exaggerated claim or otherwise, is likely to mislead the consumer.

The Respondent argued that all McDonald’s restaurants were instructed to remove the posters at the end of the Grand Big Mac promotion, and it is clear that there was an oversight by restaurant manager. The restaurant (and all other McDonald’s restaurants) has again been informed to remove all outdated promotional material for the promotion. 

The Respondent also offered the Complainant a voucher.

The ASA has a long standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to amend or remove its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking is accepted without considering the merits of the matter.

The undertaking is therefore accepted on condition that the advertising is amended or removed in its current format within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide, and is not used again in future.


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