01 September 1999

ONE OF THE TECHNIQUES most beloved of UK sales promoters, ‘buy one, get one free’ (commonly known by its acronym, bogof), is thought by the Institute of Sales Promotion to be under legislative threat from the European Commission. According to the ISP, the Commission may be planning to out-law the practice under proposed harmonisation measures, a move that could lead to tightening-up of British sp regulations - currently the most relaxed in Europe. The EC is currently probing bogofs and free draws, both of which are likely to be incorporated into a draft directive for consideration by the Council of Ministers - a body with legislative powers. According to ISP Europe director David Croydon: 'It might change the whole basis of sales promotion. The threat is certainly there and we need to tell people about it.' Prominent in lobbying for an EC-wide ban on all forms of promotional discounting are Germany and Sweden, both of which operate tight controls. The ISP has already presented its case to the EC commissioner for the internal market, alerted other trade bodies to the threat, and is encouraging its members to lobby Brussels.