How to run successful promotions overseas
There is currently no single unified approach to administering consumer or trade promotions across the world – every country has its own rules or laws. This can make running promotional campaigns across different markets a legal and regulatory minefield. In addition, compliance legislation is constantly changing making it even harder for marketers in one country to truly understand the latest requirements in other countries.
One rule for Europe?
Within the EU an attempt was made to provide a common legal framework, via the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2008. This seeks to protect consumer rights, outlaw misleading marketing techniques and reduce barriers to cross-border trade. However, it has yet to create a fully ‘level playing field’. Some countries still take entirely different approaches to marketing laws. For instance, Sweden has a ban on prize draws, whether free or purchase linked, promotions in Portugal require a €500 government authorisation, and in Spain there is a 30% tax on all prizes, whilst Italy, one of the strictest markets, has many complex rules for any prize activity. These include the need to register 15 days in advance, have a public official involved with winner selection and gather entrants’ data on Italian soil.
Pushing the boundaries further afield than Europe is even more challenging. There are entirely different laws, taxes and red-tape to deal with – and in large countries such as the USA and Australia, they even vary across internal states. Other countries have their own quirky laws to consider –for instance in Turkey you cannot giveaway cash, in Russia prizes worth over 4000 Roubles are taxed and in Hong Kong you must publish the winners in both English and Chinese in a newspaper within 10 days of the promotion closing. In a nutshell, the cost of legal fees, administration, translations of T&Cs and generally ensuring the promotion is compliant from start to finish can be significant and time-consuming. Multiply this by numerous countries simultaneously and you could easily run into trouble.
We are pleased to say that there is always a way to make overseas campaigns work and the results are well worth the effort: opening to new markets, global brand recognition, and an increase in sales are just some of the benefits. So, what should brands consider when running a promotion across many countries? At PromoVeritas, we have been working on multi-country promotions for years and our global network of legal experts have dealt with all types of problems. The first stage is to understand your brief: which countries, what mechanic, what prizes etc. We then conduct a Legal Review. This will identify, country by country, the likely issues and we will always suggest options, from tweaking the prizes, replacing chance with skill etc.
This is followed by the careful drafting of Terms & Conditions, tailored to the markets, that ensure the promotion is compliant. We then get involved in filling in authorisation forms, paying bonds, registering terms and selecting winners. And don’t forget that even in the less heavily regulated countries there are still complex self-regulation rules to be considered. In the UK, we have the Advertising Standards Authority, in Czech Republic it is the Rada Pro Reclama etc. These consumer watchdogs exist to ensure poorly administered promotions are publicly sanctioned and their rulings can do great reputational damage to a brand.
Plus, promoters that ignore the laws of the country can be hit with hefty fines and, in some cases, even imprisonment. In short, it can be costly and risky to proceed without doing your homework first – or using PromoVeritas!
Don’t be put off! You can make it work.
In our experience, there are ways of getting promotions to work in virtually every country, as well as across multiple countries. But every situation is different and will require its very own solution and compliance strategy. Often a promotion can be run in “clusters” of countries that adhere to very similar rules of marketing compliance. These clusters make it easier to group prize pools and stretch a promotion across multiple countries, maximising marketing budgets and brand synergy.
In addition, under certain circumstances, it may be possible to run the promotion in the Cloud, ‘floating’ over countries with even the toughest of marketing laws.
Our top 5 rules to running overseas promotions
- Start early. Allow sufficient time for us to consider the compliance requirements of the target countries. PromoVeritas have a team of in-house lawyers plus a network of legal experts around the world to advise on the best practice and the pitfalls of promotions anywhere in the world.
- Keep it simple. The easier it is to understand and enter a promotion, the more likely it is to translate or be legal in other markets.
- Your view may be local. Just because you can do X in your country, does not mean you can do it the same in any other country
- Be prepared to compromise. Often the only way to achieve your cross-border ambitions is to adjust the mechanic, tweak a few options. One size does not fit everyone.
- Strong T&Cs. Ensure that you have well written Terms & Conditions that avoid ambiguity and are translated properly in every applicable language. They are a legal contract between the promoter and entrants and are the only way to avoid fraud and abuse of a promotion.
- Back End is crucial. Time spent on thinking about how the promotion will be delivered could save your from significant disasters.
PromoVeritas have developed a wealth of knowledge and practical expertise of the rules for marketing globally. This ensures that we can help plan and implement any campaign compliantly anywhere in the world. From taking care of registrations and authorisations, to drafting multi-language Terms and Conditions, to hiding winning packs in different countries to delivering prizes with care to winners all around the planet we make sure we Run it Right.