Email and the Law

Pushing boundaries: covering your nuts in honey

It is what we all should be aiming for: memorable and exciting marketing emails. If yours look like everyone else’s then there is nothing to distinguish them from the crowd. We want an edge, a little advantage over the competition. 1% would be great.

One tried and tested technique is to place a new, or perhaps under-performing, product next to an established one with an excellent reputation. What could go wrong?

It went wrong for Nestlé in circumstances which they should really have avoided. But if the big guys make mistakes, is there any chance for us?

Sheriff the WizEmail WizBot is taking care of compliance and the law - howdy!The regulations are clear enough. We cannot make a statement regarding the ingredients of a product which makes an implied nutrition claim by presentation without being able to back it up. In this case Shredded Wheat was advertised with the by now familiar to all claim that it contained ‘no added sugar’. The bit in quotes is a nutritional claim, one that Nestlé have been able to support.

Next to it they presented a box of Honey Nut Cornflakes. Honey is somewhat sugary, as we all know. However, it was not made clear that the ‘no added sugar’ claim did not apply to the Honey Nut product. 

You might feel that Nestlé should have completed some simple checks before going live. It seems remarkable that they did not appreciate the problem with placing two similar items in the same advertisement and claiming for one item what was, in effect, one of the two main differences between the two products without making it clear that it applied to just the one.

The Advertising Standards Authority thought so too.

We should push the boundaries to make email marketing adverts give sufficient returns. However, we need to pick our ground. This must have been quite an easy decision for the ASA and we should not let that happen. Every easy decision reduces the freedom of action for the rest of us.

There is a chance for us to be inventive, exciting and to get excellent returns on our ROI with clever and compliant email marketing. The rules are clear without, at the moment, being too precise. Use imagination but temper it with discretion.

>>More news on the ASA



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