The idea that an ad should be free is a common theme in advertising, but the phrase “free product advertisement” has not always been embraced as a valid label for the type of product advertising that occurs.
According to the Advertising Standards Authority, the term “free promotion” was first coined by the World Health Organization in 1971 and was originally used in an advisory opinion to the European Parliament in 1987.
However, the WHO was subsequently asked to clarify its position.
According to the agency, the phrase has been used by some companies in their marketing campaigns as a label to identify the products advertised as free.
However it has also been used in a manner that suggests that the products are being promoted for free.
The agency stated that it does not see the term as free marketing and that it is intended to provide the impression that the company is offering free products or services, and that such a label is inappropriate.
If an ad is deemed to be free, the advertiser may need to provide additional details about what they are offering and how much money they will pay, such as the price of the product and/or the length of the promotional period.
This could include a disclaimer stating that the product is free, and it is unlikely that a customer would be able to discern whether the advertised price or length of promotional period is comparable to the advertised cost.
The agency also noted that this is an entirely subjective interpretation of a label.
For example, an advertisement may be deemed free if it does include a link to a free trial version of the advertised product, if the advertisement includes an online promotional code or if it refers to a product that is already available in the marketplace.
The ad is also deemed free for a number of other reasons, such like being in the same category as other products that are available at no extra charge.
But the fact that the ad is free does not mean that it’s not commercial.
For example, if an ad does not refer to the product, the consumer may not be able discern whether it is being promoted as free or not.
Similarly, an ad that is not labeled as free may not indicate that the advertising company is not in any way financially responsible for the product or service.
“Advertisers who do not use free advertising may still be able claim that the ads are being used for free,” the agency noted.
“However, they should also ensure that the terms are clearly marked.”
If you have any questions about the use of the term free product advertisement in an advertisement, contact the Advertising and Marketing Standards Authority.