CAP - Committee of Advertising Practice, have this week
announced the new set of rules which will come into force on 1st
Whilst there may not be any fundamental changes to the existing
legislation governing Advertising, Direct Mail and Sales Promotion,
there is a warning that the rules may be enforced more stringently
in the future. So you can expect dawn raids from the promo police;
visits from mystery cop-shoppers; stop and search of suspected
account 'handlers'. You have been warned!
Rules are rules after all, and with the major TV
vote-rigging scandals that brought the whole concept of
promotions in to disrepute in 2007, just beginning to fade from
consciousness, the industry is keen to avoid future incidents.
So, it makes sense to acquaint yourself with the latest edition
of the code. Whilst they do not post exhaustive lists (why not?)
the information on current legislation is available on www.asa.org.uk or
www.cap.org.uk. You can also check out recent
adjudications on these sites which can help with specific
Are there any major changes for promotional marketers to
concern themselves with?
Specific areas of the code which are worth noting from a sales
promotion point of view are provided below.
Section 3.23 - 3.26 - Use of
the word FREE in marketing communications
No product may be described as free if:
- the consumer has to pay anything to take receipt of
- if the consumer has to pay for packing, packaging, handling or
- the Cost of responding, or purchasing a 'qualifying' product,
has been increased to cover the free item (Any increase in cost
must be unrelated to the cost of running the promotion)
- the quality of the qualifying product has been reduced
If the free product is an element of a package of products, it
may not be described as free unless the previous package price
Further, a 'Satisfaction or your Money Back' style offer must
not be described as a 'Free Trial' neither can offers for which a
non-refundable purchase is required.
Section 8.17.6 - Prizes and Gifts
Promoters must specify the number and nature of prizes or gifts
available that can be won. If the exact number cannot be
pre-determined, a reasonable estimate of the number and a statement
of their nature must be made.
Promoters must distinguish which prizes can be won
(including estimated prize funds) from those prizes that
will be won during the promotional period.
Section 8.25 - Instant Win promotions
Participants in instant-win promotions must receive their
winnings at once or must be informed immediately what they have won
and how to claim without any delay, cost or admin barriers.
Instant-win mechanics must be distributed on a fair and random
basis. Verification must take the form of an independently audited
statement that all prizes have been distributed or made available
for distribution in that manner.
Section 10.15 - 10.16 - Database Practise in relation to
Marketers must not knowingly collect personal information from
children under 12 for marketing purposes without parental
Marketers must not knowingly collect personal information
relating to other people from children under 16.