Continuing in our series of articles on Advertising Review, this month will address promotional pricing and sales. Common advertising topics will be covered in each edition of Biz Notes in the coming months. These are meant to be a brief overview; please contact Benjamin Barbour at email@example.com or (804) 648-0030 for more specific information on the Code of Advertising.
Sales, promotions, discounts, rebates, and similar terms all catch a consumer’s attention in advertising, and are very effective ways to drive business in any industry. In advertising reduced prices or promotions, there are several points to keep in mind. Any good or service that’s advertised as any kind of sale must be a true reduction from its normal selling price, and that reduction must be limited in duration. A “never ending” sale isn’t just a violation of the Code of Advertising; there are state and Federal statutes addressing how sales may be advertised. By the same token, a discount that is offered on a regular basis isn’t truly a discount, but the normal selling price under a specific set of circumstances. As with any other advertising, any terms or conditions relative to the discount, sale, or promotional price must be clearly and prominently disclosed. Any reference to a sale must include the duration of that sale or promotion. Merchandise that is permanently reduced for whatever reason, often advertised as “clearance”, “discontinued”, etc. would naturally not require an ending date other than a reference to “while supplies last” or “limited quantities available”. However, any goods advertised as such should never return to a normal selling price if they had been advertised as permanently reduced. Consumers are very savvy to sales or discounts that aren’t really anything of the sort; they know that certain promotions aren’t really a significant savings, just what a given business might offer every weekend. Advertising your sales or discounts clearly and appropriately will signal to consumers that the given promotion is truly a special price, and motivate them to take advantage of it.