Magazine article Marketing

In Danger of Missing the Vote

Magazine article Marketing

In Danger of Missing the Vote

Article excerpt

IN DANGER OF MISSING THE VOTE

A few short years ago a leading figure in the French sales promotion industry was talking about pan-European promos at a Brussels conference. Later I asked him why he had made no mention of the possibility of common legislation across the Community. "It's not a problem," he said. "Since the whole purpose of the Single Market is to increase trade, any legislation will be as liberal as they can make it."

No one believes that now. On the evidence of the controversial draft directive on data protection, Brussels bureacrats favour the most restrictive approach to consumer regulation.

Also scotched is the view that sales promotion is of such low priority -- in the context of everything else that has to be done in establishing the Single Market -- that Brussels will never get round to looking at it. Observers now believe (Marketing, December 12) that a swathe of directives is on the way covering everything from sales promotion and direct marketing to databases.

Iain Arthur, deputy chairman of Tim Arnold and Associates, represents the UK's Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP) on the European Federation of Sales Promotion (EFSP). He revealed that the EFSP recommended putting funds into a newly established lobbying body, the Federation of Direct Marketers (FEDIM). But this upset some in the ISP and premium supplier bodies, because a decision was due to be taken this month on just which lobbyists the British would support.

And the latest situation is -- no decision has yet been taken. "It is not that we don't take the matter seriously," says Peter Holloway, chairman of research specialist Promotional Insights, and a member of the ISP's management committee. "Rather, it is so serious that we are not rushing things until the picture becomes a little clearer. It may well be that the directives are not specific to individual marketing disciplines, but cover all-embracing topics like distance selling.

"Currently, the advertising industry has got its lobbying act together and is doing its bit, the direct marketing people are in the process of finalising their plans, and the EFSP will be formally puting its proposals to members at the end of this month. Until we know more about all these plans it is difficult to know what is the best course."

But it remains the official view of the ISP -- which is the umbrella organisation representing clients, consultants and suppliers -- that sales promotion must be proactive in communicating with the Brussels "law shapers". …

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