Shifting consumer habits, globalisation, new technologies and the law that regulates them are changing the face of advertising. We understand that developing and building the value of your brand is an integral element of your business and advertising and marketing is a key to doing that effectively. In this new world, an in-depth, commercially-focused knowledge of the law is crucial.
Our dedicated advertising and marketing team is consistently ranked as one of the leaders in the field and our lawyers have gained in-depth commercial knowledge and experience through secondments to leading brands across various industry sectors. So, whatever your advertising and marketing needs, we can help you develop and promote your brand effectively in all forms of media, including established traditional media, digital media and methods of communication, and new emerging media.
We can provide domestic and multi-jurisdictional advice on all types of advertising and marketing activities, from advising on advertising copy and ASA complaints to operating prize promotions on social media platforms. We can also assist and advise you on your third party relationships with media agencies and other suppliers.
Our position as a leading advertising practice is endorsed by our appointment to advise the UK’s two leading advertising industry bodies, the Advertising Association, a federation of trade bodies and organisations and ISBA, the representative body for individual advertiser members.
Complying with regulations
Our copy clearance work covers all regulations impacting on marketing, including those that are generally applicable, such as the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Practices Regulations, and those that are industry specific. We can advise on multi-jurisdictional clearances, particularly for US brands looking to expand outside of the US.
Our wealth of experience working with regulators gives us a valuable insight into how they approach an investigation and what degree of substantiation is required for claims. Through our own and affiliated offices we advise clients across the EMEA region.
We see our role as working with clients to enable them to communicate the messages they need while remaining within the requirements of regulation. We don’t take the easy option and raise barriers. Instead we work with clients to suggest alternative wording where appropriate, and provide a practical and commercial risk assessment for any copy that risks infringing the regulations.
Dealing with regulators
Aggressive marketing and the ASA's extended remit to cover digital media has resulted in a significant increase in ASA complaints. In addition to auditing our clients' own copy we regularly audit competitor material and lodge competitor challenges where necessary. We defend clients during ASA investigations and have an extremely good track record, with successful appeals to the ASA’s independent reviewer and experience in the strategic use of judicial reviews.
We advise on the mechanics, viability and administration of all forms of sales promotions, including price claims, prize draws and prize competitions. We can advise on the operation of such promotions on third party social media sites, taking account of their own rules and regulations, and we provide legal and commercial advice to ensure prize promotions are fully compliant and do not infringe lottery and gaming regulations.
Through our European offices and network of international specialists in other jurisdictions we coordinate the clearance of promotional programmes worldwide. We ensure that clients receive all the answers they need together with a workable set of terms and conditions to get their campaign off the ground. We handle the process of getting a promotion cleared in all relevant jurisdictions, including amendments to the terms and conditions and, if necessary, translations and local registrations, and we advise on related promotional copy.
We work on price promotions, such as buy one get one free offers, discount offers, price comparisons and lowest price offers.
We work with advertising agencies to draft and negotiate agency contracts, creative and media buying and planning contracts.
We can advise on and draft appropriate advertising agency agreements to provide protection and prevent costly litigation in the event of a dispute between the advertising agency and advertiser.
We also advise on all aspects of loyalty and reward programmes, which are increasingly prolific. We have advised clients on all sides of the fence – those wishing to participate in an existing loyalty scheme, those wishing to set up their own scheme and those wishing to provide rewards under such schemes.
Data protection legislation impacts the ways and means by which consumer information is collected and we advise on legislation governing unsolicited direct marketing initiatives, rights of access and the collection and usage of data, both inside and outside the EU.
We advise a number of high profile clients on the EU data protection regulatory aspects of pan-European e-marketing campaigns, including on opt-in, soft opt-in and opt-out requirements, viral marketing campaigns and strategies for maximising data exploitation potential. We also regularly advise clients on data ownership arrangements with suppliers, to ensure that brand owners do not find themselves unable to exploit data in the way they want or locked into a particular supplier on contract renewal.
Our team is particularly active in the internet-based advertising sector, advising publishers, advertisers and advertising networks on strategies for achieving EU data protection compliance, including with respect to Europe's new requirements for consent when serving website cookies, whether for targeted advertising or other purposes.
Sponsorship and endorsement
Sponsorship and endorsements are valuable marketing techniques and can be highly profitable. The ever-increasing awareness of an individual’s image rights means that advice should always be taken before using an individual’s name or likeness in any marketing campaign. We advise on the commercial terms of endorsement contracts and the protection of endorsement rights through passing-off, registration of trade marks, the tort of defamation and copyright.
Sponsorship raises the public profile of corporate names, logos and brands. We advise many leading brand owners, sponsor seekers and sponsorship consultants on event, film and TV, product and personality sponsorships.
We advise on compliance with UK legislation relating to product labelling and CE marking requirements in a number of sectors, including medical devices, food and nutrition, cosmetics, textile manufacture and energy monitoring devices. We advise on the content of labels, labelling requirements and the risks of off-label use, as well as on related product literature and packaging requirements.
Notable deals / highlights
Advised Parago, a leading provider of consumer and corporate incentives in the US, on its acquisition of Intuitive Group, a UK-based provider of multi-channel, multi-touch global marketing programmes in Europe and the US. Intuitive Group's platform includes complete channel and partner relationship management capabilities, combined with an international rewards and incentives offering, allowing companies to improve performance, provide training incentives and reward and recognise employees.
Advised Invisalign on all aspects of its European marketing communications to consumers and its network of qualified practitioners, including copy clearance, sales promotions, prize promotions, social media activity, TV sponsorship arrangements and content, advertorials, endorsements and testimonials, use of images, loyalty programme and various other marketing activities including advising on and drafting participant and release forms, and blogger contracts.
Provided legal and commercial advice to promotional agencies on a number of multi-jurisdictional prize promotions for its clients, to ensure that the prize promotions are legal, do not infringe lottery and gaming regulations, and are compliant with local law requirements.