Magazine article Marketing

Free Gifts to Face Ban under EC Programme

Magazine article Marketing

Free Gifts to Face Ban under EC Programme

Article excerpt

Free gifts and promotional competitions could be outlawed in the UK as the European Commission attempts to harmonise the pan-European regulation of promotions.

The EC's internal market division announced this week that it will take a definitive stance on free gifts during April, and promotional competitions in June.

It may decide to harmonise regulations based on the conservative laws that cover promotions in Germany, Austria and Belgium. In these countries, many types of campaign are illegal.

The EC has invited client marketers and agencies to put forward their opinions on the issue of cross-border harmonisation. So far, more than 550 UK-based companies have contacted the EC.

The Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP) has hit out at agencies in France, Germany and Belgium for creating a serious threat to the UK industry. Simon Mahoney, the ISP's president, said: "Agencies in these countries have a vested interest in protecting their markets because they are scared other agencies with more expertise will move in. Consumers and the promotions industry will lose out if they get their way."

An EC directive on promotional offers is likely to be implemented some time in 2001. …

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