Domino’s promo leaves scores without pizza the action

dominosA Domino’s Pizza franchise holder has been battered by the ad watchdog after pulling a “free pizza” promotion due to what it claimed had been widespread abuse of the scheme, in a move which left scores of hungry diners coughing up the full price.

The door drop, which was delivered in February 2023, featured the headline “How to claim your free pizza”. A QR code was included within the leaflet for customers to enter at the checkout.

However, seven complainants, who attempted to redeem the promotion but were told it had been withdrawn, challenged the Advertising Standards Authority to investigate whether it had been administered fairly.

In response, Red Miracle Group, which runs a number of Domino’s franchises, explained it had previously run the same promotion for a free medium pizza in October 2022, and similarly, promoted the offer using leaflets.

In that wave, however, the offer had a low uptake – just 398 redemptions from a total of 262,000 distributed leaflets, a redemption rate of 0.2%.

As a result, the firm distributed more leaflets for the second wave of the promotion in January and February. On this occasion, 583,000 leaflets were distributed, and the promotion was redeemed a total of 10,634 times. Based on those figures, they calculated that the offer had a redemption rate of 2% – ten times larger than the redemption rate for the previous wave.

The firm believed the larger redemption rate was brought about by abuse of the promotion, with local stores reporting the same people were redeeming the promotion in-store and that the leaflets had not been distributed as intended.

Red Miracle had intended for one voucher to be distributed per household, and because that process had seemingly not been adhered to, it had not anticipated that the redemption rate would be ten times higher than the offer which ran in October. The firm said it had to withdraw the offer to prevent further abuse of the promotion.

Acknowledged that it may have caused disappointment among some consumers, the firm said the move was necessary to ensure that its stores were not overwhelmed. However, it did offer a discount of 60% to those who contacted customer services.

Even so, the ASA was having none of it, insisting that neither the ad nor the promotional terms and conditions detailed that the offer was limited to one per household, nor that there was any other limitation on the number of pizzas that could be claimed.

As such, the watchdog did not consider that the promotional terms had been breached by participants using multiple vouchers. In any case, it considered that participants who had not yet had a chance to redeem the promotion were also prevented from receiving a free pizza, and consequently, that they had not been dealt with fairly.

Concluding that the promotion had not been administered fairly and that it was likely to have caused participants unnecessary disappointment, the ASA banned the promotion from running again, warning both Red Miracle Group and Domino’s about future activity.

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