How to avoid regulatory heartbreak this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. It’s that time of year when the world turns shades of pink and red, when January sales become Valentine’s Day promotions, dating apps compete to be the most attractive, and alcohol advertisers get into the Valentine’s spirit. 

If you are referencing romance in your Valentine’s Day ads follow our tips to ensure you make a good impression.

Don’t be too forward

It’s fine to focus on the raunchy side of romance, or advertise a service that promotes casual encounters, but marketers using sexual imagery or references must take care to ensure that these will not cause serious or widespread offence, and target them appropriately. Keep it mildly suggestive when advertising in untargeted media, and save explicit content – within reason! – for media targeted at adults.

Bragging? Make sure you can back it up

Think you’re the city’s No. 1best-selling, or the nation’s favourite? Check our guidance on comparative claims before stating this in your advertising. If you don’t have evidence to support claims about sales or market share, don’t make the claim.

Don’t over-promise with your promotions

When running promotions, from money off and multi-buy offers to Valentine’s giveawayscompetitions and prize draws, plan ahead to ensure that your promotions don’t ruin carefully laid Valentine’s Day plans by causing unnecessary disappointment.

Include all Significant terms and conditions, Make sure you can demonstrate that you have made a reasonable estimate of demand, and don’t disappoint participants.

If you’re targeting those already in a happy couple, remember not to promise “Guaranteed Valentines Delivery” unless you’re certain you can fulfil orders. You don’t want that on your conscience, or review websites.

Mixing alcohol and romance is a whiskey business

Advertisers may wish to get into the Valentine’s spirit but linking alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or success, or enhanced attractiveness is likely to be a problem. The ASA has upheld complaints about ads which implied that getting drunk increased your chances of sexual success and that alcohol can “make you look better naked”.

Not all depictions of flirtatious interactions will breach the Code. The ASA rejected complaints about alcohol ads which featured a couple dancing, where alcohol did not appear to have played a significant part in that interactions.

For free, bespoke advice on your non-broadcast advertising you can contact the Copy Advice team.  We also offer Advice:am seminars and eLearning modules on some of the topics addressed above.

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