Radio Hartlepool has come unstuck by breaching Ofcom’s rules with its Specsavers Sticker Spotters competition. The competition offered listeners the chance to win by sporting a station sticker in their car and then having their licence plate spotted.
The rules specified that after the stations’ sticker spotter, as was, announced the plate then the car owner had 102 minutes – reflecting the station’s 102.4 frequency – to claim their prize. If they failed to make it in time then the prize increased by £10 increments each time.
Three listeners noticed that some of the car registration numbers were either “false or incorrect”, prompting Ofcom to check the legitimacy of the plates only to find that some were not publicly available.
In response to the media regulators query, the station responded that, “To carry out such checks itself “would not be cost effective…” The broadcaster added that it had replaced the ‘sticker spotter’ responsible for selecting registration numbers.
Before adding that since 24 March 2009, it had ensured that only genuine and eligible car registration numbers were ‘spotted’ for broadcast so no further “confusion” could occur.
Ofcom concluded that the competition was conducted unfairly and therefore in breach of Rule 2.11 of the Code.