Walkers crisps in hot water over holiday competition

Gary Linker won't be happy.

Gary Lineker promoting Walkers crisps
Salt & Vinegar anyone? Gary Lineker promoting Walkers crisps. Image Picture Walkers

Walkers crisps have found themselves in hot water over their latest promotional competition.

The snack firm’s “spell and go” promotion, offering 20,000 holidays to everywhere from New York to Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority after being met by customer complaints.

The promotion, which was advertised by Gary Lineker across social media, offered players the chance to swap letters and codes on crisp packets to spell out the names of exotic holiday destinations.

However, customers complained that the letters C, D and K were impossible to get, and fewer than 800 holidays have actually been won.

The ASA’s ban revolves around the Walkers website’s “random swap” feature, which allowed users to exchange letters and claimed “all letters are treated equally” – not so much the case if you’re on the hunt for the elusive C, D or K, which Walkers relegated to a second letter pool, making them hard to acquire.

According to the BBC, the ASA deemed the swap function “misleading and likely to cause unnecessary disappointment to consumers”.

Walkers said the “the online letter swapping mechanic could have been clearer”, with a spokesperson keen to stress that they would have fulfilled all prizes for competition winners.

“Twenty thousand holidays could have been won if all the promotional packs in the market had been played and we would have honoured all of those should that have been the case,” they said.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn