*LATEST* on running compliant promotions

The hot topic on everyone’s lips last week (aside from Brexit obvs) was the launch of proposals for a 9pm watershed on advertising foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS), covering both television and online media. This is the latest in a long line of proposals published in a consultation to combat the rising obesity levels in children.

*GULP* was most likely echoed from inside food & drink companies across the country, who are already weighed down in crisis battles to ensure the nation is fed post Brexit.

But that aside, from a moral and legal perspective, we’d probably all agree we want to do the right thing for the health of our children.

So what does that look like when it comes to sales promotions?

We ask Helen Hart (legal expert in sales promotion compliance)…


What is being proposed around sales promotions?

The consultation was first issued in January of this year and set out some options for restricting sales promotions for HFSS products – you can still respond as it ends on 6 April. In particular, it proposed:

  • restricting volume-based price promotions of HFSS food and drink that encourage people to buy more than they need, for example, ‘buy one, get one free’ offers and free refills of sugary soft drinks; and
  • restricting the placement of HFSS food and drink at main selling locations in stores, such as checkouts, aisle ends and store entrances.

What type of sales promotions will be safe (compliant) to run?

There’s loads of options still available to brands that are looking to boost sales.

Prize promotions (instant wins, winning moments, prize draws, gift with purchase, competitions e.t.c) that aren’t price-related will still be able to run in exactly the same way they are now – obviously still needing to comply to the CAP code of 2017. However selling locations in relation to these will need careful consideration.

If you are a Client of Umbrella, I have come on board to give you guidance around compliancy of your sales promotions and the writing of terms and conditions.

Is there a chance these restrictions won’t go through?

The government’s plans enjoy cross-party support (as well as, for example, for the devolved administration) so are likely to come into force one way or another.  However, there is scope to respond to shape the government’s plans and no need to stop promoting HFSS products as long as you remain within the rules. The government has expressed the hope that manufacturers may reformulate some of the their products so that they no longer fall within the HFSS definition and can therefore be freely advertised.

Where will the biggest impact be felt for advertisers? 

Arguably, the rules introduced to the CAP Code in 2017 have had a greater impact on advertising and sales promotions of HFSS foods than these proposals will, as they relate more to where and when advertising can take place, rather than what can be included in it.  However, one area that could be affected is sponsorship of programmes, rather than actual advertising.  If programmes are aired outside the watershed, it will not be possible for sponsors to be HFSS brands unless the sponsorship clearly relates to non-HFSS products.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions around Helen’s information above, or if you have any specific promotions you’d like to chat through. The main office is 01844 202045.

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