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HOW TO: Stay on the right side of the marketing law

Traditionally, marketing has been a self-regulated discipline largely free from the interference of legislation – or so most marketers think. Yet marketing is subject to common law – ie. decisions made in courts over the years – as well as statutes enacted by parliament and EU directives, and the relevant body of case law stretches back at least 200 years. The somewhat laissez-faire attitude stems from the fact that few laws regulate marketing directly, but many more touch on marketing activities in certain areas.

From the legislation point of view, the control of marketing has developed haphazardly, and certain areas are far more constrained than others. The law governing marketing activity depends on the product (for example tobacco and medicines), the sectors (such as gaming and finance) and even the method of marketing (on-pack, via SMS, email etc.).