HomeInsightsCommittee of Advertising Practice publish guidance on advertising of “free trials” or other promotional offer subscription models

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CAP reminds advertisers that these offers can be a good way to introduce and showcase a product but, if a consumer must enrol into an ongoing payment arrangement to take advantage of the offer, this must be clear and upfront in the ad.

Ads for “free trial” or promotional subscription offers must make the following significant conditions clear:

  • whether a paid subscription starts automatically (after the trial) unless cancelled;
  • the extent of the financial commitment if the subscription is not cancelled (during the trial) and;
  • any other significant conditions, for example, significant costs to participate.

If significant conditions are not displayed with sufficient prominence, the ad is likely to break the rules, the guidance states.

Stating “T&Cs apply” is not sufficient, CAP says. The significant conditions must be prominent and distinct from other information in the ad, and should immediately follow the most prominent references to the trial or offer.

The significant conditions should not be placed away from prominent “free trial” or promotional text, prominent action buttons, e.g. “start free trial” or “rush my order”. Significant conditions must be immediately visible: pop ups are not sufficient.

Finally, significant conditions must be clear and legible both in size and clarity of font. To access the new CAP guidance, click here.