Walkers Snacks has had a promotion for its Deep Ridge crisps banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog for failure to administer it properly when contacting winners.

The scratch card prize promotion, launched by Walkers last year, promised to make “all reasonable effort” to contact the 41 winners by telephone, as part of its terms and conditions. Prizes had to be claimed by 31 December 2012, and if not, an alternative winner would be chosen “at the promoter’s sole discretion”.

The Institute of Promotional Marketing, however, challenged whether the promotion had been properly administered after obtaining a list of winners that offered only the first names of winners and only nine of the prizes having been awarded. The competition had ended over three months before.

Walkers said the winner of the first prize had been contacted on 19 December and had been awarded their prize and that on the same date, their agency attempted to contact 15 second prize winners, rather than 40, as a result of an “internal error”.

A second round was then conducted in April, when the error was discovered, in which 30 second prize winners were selected and of these 12 claimed their prize. 

The snacks maker also said it felt that providing prizewinners’ full names may allow them to be individually identified via social media sites and the internet, which would then compromise them.

The Advertising Standards Authority, however, upheld the complaint and said that while it accepted Walkers had attempted to contact 45 second prizewinners, it was “concerned” that records appeared to show prizewinners were only called once and that no attempt was made to contact prizewinners again if they did not answer on that occasion.

The ASA concluded that the promotion must not be run again in its current form.