HomeInsightsAdvertising Standards Authority publishes advice for marketers on “back to school” ad campaigns

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Competitions and promotions to drum up more interest in relevant products become more frequent as the new school year approaches, the ASA says. When running a promotion on school supplies, you are probably targeting parents rather than kids themselves, the ASA says, but if you do choose to run a promotion aimed at children, the ASA reminds you to make sure it is clear that adult permission is likely to be required, particularly if there is a cost associated with a prize.

Also, the ASA says, do not forget that marketing communications aimed at children cannot include a direct exhortation to buy a product (or to ask someone to buy it for them) and there are additional database practice considerations when collecting data from children.

Whether you are targeting children or parents, you need to be as transparent as possible with your promotions and make sure that you state all the significant terms and conditions in your marketing, the ASA reminds advertisers. If your offer is running for a limited time only, then state a clear closing date (and, in most cases, do not change it). If you only have limited stock, then make sure you have made a reasonable estimate of the likely demand and provided appropriate information on availability.

If taking the “back to school” angle with your marketing, it is likely that a number of your competitors will be too, the ASA reminds readers. If you want to claim that you can give consumers the best deal or that your promotions represent a larger saving than those of your competitors, make sure you hold the necessary substantiation to support your claims.

Lastly, the ASA advises, even if your marketing is not aimed at school age children or their parents, make sure you keep things responsible. Using a “back to school” theme in an ad for alcohol or other age-restricted products is likely to break the rules and using it in a context that sexualises school-age children will undoubtedly be ruled offensive and irresponsible. To read the advice in full, click here.