“Save 50 %”, “Bargain price” or “Before 399, Now 199”. The new rules on price marketing will come into force soon. On 28 May 2022, the requirements for advertising with savings will be amended based on an EU Directive. The rules will have great practical importance for the planning of special offers.
So far, a comparison of a product’s previous price and the reduced price has required that the previous price had applied for a preceding period of minimum six weeks (four weeks for convenience goods and seasonal products). This preceding period is called the reference period.
Short campaigns of up to three days have not suspended the reference period. It has therefore been possible to advertise with e.g. the same 20 % saving on the product range on both Black Friday and in connection with the Christmas trade.
The new rules imply that:
- The reference period is reduced to 30 days (14 days for products with a short shelf life). Consequently, there may be a shorter time between the special offer periods in the future.
- The exemption concerning short campaigns will be deleted. If the price of a product is reduced on Black Friday, the special price will be considered the product’s new normal price for the next 30 days, and the product must be reduced further to advertise with a saving in connection with the Christmas trade.
- If the price is reduced progressively during a marketing campaign, it is allowed to compare with the price that applied before the first reduction. For example, if the normal price is DKK 100, and the product is first reduced to DKK 80 at Black Friday and then to DKK 60, you may advertise with “Save 40 %”.
The new rules appear from section 9a of the Executive Order on information on sales price and unit price for consumable products. Even though the provision is brief, the European Commission implies the following into its guidelines to the underlying EU Directive:
- That expressions such as “Bargain price”, “Special offer” or “Black Friday offer” must be considered a notification of a measurable price reduction. This means that the previous price must be stated when using this type of expressions and the reference period of 30 days must be observed.
- The rules do not apply to loyalty programmes and personalised offers. In this situation, the general provision on misleading information still applies.
We will have to wait and see how the European Commission’s interpretative aids are reflected in the Consumer Ombudsman’s revised guidelines concerning price marketing - these guidelines are being negotiated at the moment. The guidelines are expected published in May.