Back in Black Friday – Getting your promotional offers in line.

Autumn is truly upon us, and with it comes the inevitable countdown to one of the biggest consumer events of the year, Black Friday.  One day has rapidly evolved into almost two weeks of sales so it is important that you have prepared adequately for all of your promotional marketing.

  • Savings claims

Many promotions will make savings claims such as “70% off” or “Save £50”. The savings claims made must be genuine , accurate and must not exaggerate the saving that could be made.  We generally recommend that the sale price is not available for longer than the normal price, and that the sale price should be set against the most recent price available. In any event, pricing history and sales data are important; both would be used by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to decide whether the higher price is established enough for a savings claim to be genuine.

  • Up To, All and Everything

If you use a claim like “up to X% off” the ASA will expect a significant proportion of the items included in the sale to be discounted by X%.  Likewise, for a claim that prices are “from £X” to be acceptable, you’ll need to show that a significant proportion of the items are available at £X.

If you suggest that a promotional offer applies to “everything” or “all” items then a qualification that excludes certain items is likely to contradict this headline claim and be considered misleading and to break the advertising rules.

Combine both aspects, “UP TO X% OFF EVERYTHING”, and we would expect that all items had some element of reduction from their usual selling price, with a significant proportion reduced by the full X% amount.

  • Sale ending

Promotional offers should not normally be extended beyond their closing dates.  Unless unavoidable circumstances beyond the control of the promoter make it necessary and either not to change the date would be unfair to those who participated within the original terms, or those who participated within the original terms would not be disadvantaged by the change, promotions which are extended beyond the original end date, are likely to fall foul of the rules.

  • Availability

With popular promotions comes high demand. Ensure you have made a reasonable estimate of demand and that you’re able to demonstrate that you’ve done so.  If the availability of promotional items is not sufficient to meet this demand, or if customers need to make a purchase to qualify for the promotional item, you must make any limitations on availability explicitly clear in the ad – “subject to availability” might not be enough.

  • Significant T’s and C’s

Significant conditions are those which could affect whether someone chooses to participate in a promotional offer or not. These will differ depending on the promotion but normally include a clear explanation of how to participate, closing dates, the nature and number of prizes or gifts, any restrictions and availability.  All significant terms and conditions should be made clear within the initial piece of marketing material. If in doubt about whether a term or condition is significant, play it safe, put it in.

Source: Committees of Advertising Practice

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