Are You Unknowingly Breaking The (Marketing) Law?

A scary title for this one, perhaps, but the 194,000 times the Institute of Promotional Marketing had to step in to offer advice or training to unbeknown law-breakers says differently.

Sadly, a huge chunk of marketers are conducting their trades unlawfully and without even knowing it… so just to ensure we weren’t part of the number, Rosie, James and Jade (along with our IPM board member, Jess) trotted down to a fascinating/interesting/suitably scary session with the IPM about what you can, or more to the point cannot, do as a marketer.
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There’s a lot to digest, and rather than regurgitate our scrawled notes (which include more red crosses than gold stars), here’s our top three tips:

• Be honest! Obvious perhaps, but last year, over 3,300 promotions had to be pulled for breaking the rules – we’re talking over-estimating prize worth (sometimes even fabricating products completely), changing rules mid-competition, breaking industry rules (alcohol to minors, just no), or not signposting paid content (#ad or #spon if you want to avoid the YouTube police)

• Play by the rules. This is more for the impending Olympics / Euro 2016, but essentially if you’ve not got a ticket, you’re not getting in. Best not to jump on the sponsor bandwagon if you’re not one. Yes, you’ll get more impressions, but is it worth the fine?

• Be clever. We’ll say it quietly, but if you’ve savvy, you can get around the rules. Take KitKat during Euro 2012, or Oreo during a recent Superbowl. Both had no association to the event, yet both marketing campaigns (one a themed billboard, the other a reactive tweet – to which we heard from a little birdie their comms team set up dozens of posts just so they could react to any occasion) hit the spot beautifully

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The long and short of it though, is that unless you have a masterstroke – and we’re talking a truly unique, out of this world masterstroke – brands need, need, NEED to be aware of the risks associated with promotional marketing. If you don’t, it’s probably best to give the IPM a call, otherwise don’t expect us to bail you out…