Direct Agency Challenges Royal Mail’s Right to Filter Direct Mail

17 January 2001

A complaint by Omnicom-owned direct marketing shop WWAV Rapp Collins against the Royal Mail has been rejected by British advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority.

At issue is an ad campaign for The Postal Preference Service, a new Royal Mail-funded direct mail filtering service that allows consumers to opt for (or against) the type of mailings they receive. The PPS is a head-on competitor to the established Mailing Preference Service, backed by the UK Direct Marketing Association, differing mainly in that the former allows the public to select the type of direct mail it wants to receive, whereas the latter blocks all direct mail.

WWAV, the UK’s largest dm shop, argued that the scheme could undermine the whole direct mail sector; its advertising was confusing to consumers, and might also mislead them into believing that completion of the Royal Mail-branded PPS survey questionnaire was mandatory. The ASA ruled, however, that the RM’s promotion of the service had not contravened the British Code of Advertising and Sales Promotion.

PPS managing director Bryan Cassady claimed that 88% of consumers thought the service was a good idea and that seventy of the UK’s top two hundred advertisers had committed to the scheme.

He conceded however, that opposition from within the dm sector was no surprise: "As with any new concept we expected a reaction. I believe that our entry into the industry has brought some key issues to the forefront and this can only be good for the industry as a whole."

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)