Mailings, email, phone/fax and messaging
Ads sent and received by post, email and SMS are often sent in bulk to a database of addresses and phone numbers. Ads sent and received by these methods are covered by our rules and should not mislead, harm or offend.
They should also be carefully targeted to prevent vulnerable groups, such as children, seeing inappropriate content.
There are also important rules advertisers should be aware of when sending out ads by post, email and SMS surrounding database practice.
The advertising rules on database practice broadly reflect relevant data protection law but do not replace it. Both the advertising rules and the relevant legislation should be adhered to in conjunction with each other.
The relevant legislation advertisers need to take note of when using databases for direct marketing purposes include the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. Guidance for these laws is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
For the purposes of the advertising rules, database practice concerns the buying, selling, renting, use and administration of databases for direct marketing purposes. These databases typically store contact or other information about individual consumers or businesses.
Consumers should always be informed who is collecting their data, why it is being collected and what it is going to be used for. They should also be told in advance if their data is going to be disclosed to third parties or be put to a significantly different use than what they initially agreed to, and they should have the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of this. Furthermore, they should also be offered the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of marketing communications from the company collecting the data.
In summary, the rules for database practice relate to the need to obtain consent from the consumer, respecting the rights of the consumer to not be contacted if they have so indicated, and respecting the rights of the consumer to not be exposed to additional marketing communications that they do not want to see. The rules also outline the rights of individuals to privacy and to have their data suppressed on request.