EU directive to ban BOGOF promotions

Marketers may be banned from using buy one get one free (BOGOF) tactics, when a European Union directive that restricts the use of the word “free” kicks in later this year. The EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive is laid before the Parliament today (March 3).

The Institute of Sales Promotions has warned marketers that the directive lays out that the word “free” will only be allowed in relation to samples and gifts that do not require more than the “unavoidable” cost of a postage stamp or telephone call.

An ISP note adds that: “This does not stop any existing promotional mechanics. It simply means that the word free cannot be used in relation to them. For example, it would appear that ‘buy one get one free’ will not be acceptable, but the mechanic will remain perfectly legal and will have to be described as something like ‘Two for the price of one’.”

It says it does not believe there is any serious risk of any enforcement action against companies that launch promotional marketing campaigns before the may 26 implementation date. However, the ISP is now advising members to be aware of the requirements of the legislation.

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