Advertising Mail – Content Guidance List

The list of mailing examples below is indicative and for guidance only. Each request to post Responsible Mail and Advertising Mail must be considered individually on its own merits to determine whether it can be considered to qualify as Responsible Mail and Advertising Mail. All Mailing Items to qualify must be addressed and must comprise a largely uniform message with the primary purpose of promoting the sale or use of products or services, or to encourage contribution to or support of a cause.

*The list is not absolute or exhaustive and is to be used as a helpful guide only*

Information taken from the Royal Mail Royal Mail DM Examples:

Suitable for Advertising Mail:

Example 1: A credit card company, store or retailer sending an offer of a new credit card
Why? – Promoting the sale or use of products or services
Example 2: A charity / society sending a reminder mailing to renew the subscription
Why? –  Encourage donation to a cause
Example 3: A mail order company sending its new or seasonal catalogue to an existing or prospective customer base.
Why? – promoting the sale or use of products or services
Example 4: Customer satisfaction questionnaire which specifically captures information relating to a customer’s experience of the product, service or cause with the aim of using such information to be more targeted when sending further information on such products or services.
Why? – Promoting the use of a product / service
Example 5: A travel company/tourist board sending its new or seasonal brochure unsolicited to an existing customer base or prospective customer base.
Why? – promoting the sale or use of products or services
Example 6: An unsolicited mailing of a discount code or discount vouchers, tickets or invitations with a uniform message to customers / prospects to encourage purchase or repurchase.
Why? – promoting the sale or use of products or services. No obligation to send.
Example 7: An organisation sends a letter to its customers/prospects to notify dates of future events promoting its products or services or cause.
Why? – promoting product/services/cause
Example 8: A company sends a sample of its products/services with or without a voucher (unsolicited)
Why? – Promoting the sale of products
Example 9: Loyalty scheme providing the opportunity to take advantage of offers or redeem coupons, either in store or on line. (this mailing may include details of an individual’s number of loyalty points available for conversion)
Why? – Promoting the sale or use of products or services
Example 10: A customer publication i.e. a magazine or newsletter forming part of a company’s / charity’s customer communication programme to encourage purchase or support of a cause that is not paid for by the recipient or via subscription.
Why? – Promoting a cause or the sale or use of products or services. There is no obligation on the company or charity to send the publication.
Example 11: Insurance company sending letter to existing or prospective customers with quotes for products and services.
Why? – Promoting the sale of products/services.
Example 12: A bulk mailing to request consumer consent to mail to them in future.
Why? – Promoting the future sale of their products and services; positive responders will receive more DM from them.

Unsuitable for Advertising Mail:

Example 1: A company/bank sending a statement which includes a leaflet advertising insurance
Why? – Primary purpose is the statement (the ad/promotion is secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
Example 2: Utility bill with advertising on back for other services
Why? – Primary purpose is the bill (the ad/promotion is secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
Example 3: A company sending personalised documents containing a level of detail that is unique to the individual,with or without advertising material e.g. insurance policy
Why? – Message is not uniform as it is unique to the individual (promotional material is secondary)
Example 4: Mailing customers with a uniform message informing them of a price increase
Why? – Purpose is the information on prices (this is not an ad/promotion)
Example 5: A company sending a shareholder annual report
Why? – Purpose is providing information not promotion
Example 6: Membership or subscription magazines / publications, with or without advertising
Why? – The recipient has requested it or is expecting it(the promotional material is secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
Example 7: A company/charity informing their customers/members of a change to their bank details or their VAT rate
Why? – Purpose is providing information
Example 8: Fulfilment of requested tickets / invitations (e.g. purchased by the customer for an event/holiday etc)
Why? – Purpose is fulfilment / transaction, not promotion
Example 9: A school/college/society newsletter or bulletin (publications), including alumni
Why? – Purpose is providing information not promotion
Example 10: A wine mail order company sending wine ordered by a customer containing leaflets advertising other services from different companies
Why? – Purpose is fulfilment (ad/promotion secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
Example 11: Mailings of a ‘public duty’ nature with or without advertising. Examples include swine flu, tax or car tax reminder, VAT change reminders, Council refuse collection days, etc.
Why? – Purpose is the execution of a public service duty not promotion
Example 12: Marketing Lifestyle / Consumer Survey / Product / Service questionnaire which is specifically seeking to gather information on a range of products/services/habits for trend analysis/data collection purposes and is not looking to further promote products/services. E.g. electoral/census.
Why? – Purpose is to seek information / data for data collection not promotion
Example 13: An AGM mailing informing shareholders of the AGM meeting
Why? – It is a legal requirement under the Companies act for shareholders to be notified of the AGM.
Example 14: A company sending out a loyalty/membership card to a subscribed customer
Why? – The loyalty/membership card has been sent as fulfilment to conclude the service that the subscriber has already responded to and purchased
Example 15: Local utility company explaining forthcoming changes to utility ownership. e.g. water company detailing changes to ownership and responsibility of sewage/water pipes
Why? – Purpose is to provide clarity of boundary ownership and responsibility.
Example 16: Political party mailings which have the aim of influencing the recipient’s political view point or the way in which they may vote in an election.
Why? – There is no elasticity for this type of political mailing and the purpose is to influence a political view point
Example 17: Prize draw letters informing customers that they have won a prize
Why? – Purpose is information. It is not selling a product or service nor does the message