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What Is Advertising Mail Compliant?


The Royal Mail offer a discount for advertising mail but they are very stringent on what they consider to be compliant to qualify for the discount.  In essence to qualify the recipient must not expect to receive it.

The specific critera are that the mail piece is:

  • Contain 100% advertising items *
  • Must be letter, large letter or parcel format
  • More than 4,000 items
  • Largely uniform message

There are many other technical aspects which Stannp.com take care of in terms of data processing, sortation and submitting samples but you don’t need to worry about this we all make it happen seamlessly in the background.

You just need to ensure that your creative is compliant.  Here are 28 examples of campaigns which will hopefully shed light on whether your campaign is compliant or not.

  Example Compliant? Why?
1 A credit card company, store or retailer sending an offer of a new credit card. YES Promoting the sale or use of products or services.
2 A charity / society sending a reminder mailing to renew the subscription. YES Encourage donation to a cause.
3 A mail order company sending its new or seasonal catalogue to an existing or prospective customer base. YES Promoting the sale or use of products or services.
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. YES Promoting the use of a product / service.
5 A travel company/tourist board sending its new or seasonal brochure unsolicited to an existing customer base or prospective customer base. YES Promoting the sale or use of products or services.
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 re- purchase. YES Promoting the sale or use of products or services. No obligation to send.
7 An organisation sends a letter to its customers/prospects to notify dates of future events promoting its products or services or cause. YES Promoting product/services/cause.
8 A company sends a sample of its products/services with or without a voucher, (unsolicited) YES Promoting the sale of products.
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). YES Promoting the sale or use of products or services.
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. YES 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.
11 Insurance company sending letter to existing or prospective customers with quotes for products and services provided that the letter is not detailing a value of a previous/current policy YES Promoting the sale of products/services
12 A company/bank sending a statement which includes a leaflet advertising insurance NO Primary purpose is the statement (the ad/promotion is secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
13 Utility bill with advertising on back for other services NO Primary purpose is the bill (the ad/promotion is secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
14 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 NO Message is not uniform as it is unique to the individual (promotional material is secondary)
15 Mailing customers with a uniform message informing them of a price increase NO Purpose is the information on prices (this is not an ad/promotion)
16 A company sending a shareholder annual report NO Purpose is providing information not promotion
17 Membership or subscription magazines / publications, with or without advertising NO The recipient has requested it or is expecting it(the promotional material is secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
18 A company/charity informing their customers/members of a change to their bank details or their VAT rate NO Purpose is providing information
19 Fulfilment of requested tickets / invitations (e.g. purchased by the customer for an event/holiday etc) NO Purpose is fulfilment / transaction, not promotion
20 A school/college/society newsletter or bulletin (publications), including alumni NO Purpose is providing information not promotion
21 A wine mail order company sending wine ordered by a customer containing leaflets advertising other services from different companies NO Purpose is fulfilment (ad/promotion secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
22 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. NO Purpose is the execution of a public service duty not promotion
23 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. NO Purpose is to seek information / data for data collection not promotion
24 An AGM mailing informing shareholders of the AGM meeting NO It is a legal requirement under the Companies act for shareholders to be notified of the AGM.
25 A company sending out a loyalty/membership card to a subscribed customer NO The loyalty/membership card has been sent as fulfilment to conclude the service that the subscriber has already responded to and purchased
26 Local utility company explaining forthcoming changes to utility ownership. e.g. water company detailing changes to ownership and responsibility of sewage/water pipes NO Purpose is to provide clarity of boundary ownership and responsibility.
27 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. NO There is no elasticity for this type of political mailing and the purpose is to influence a political view point

Prize draw letters informing customers that they have won a prize

NO Purpose is information. It is not selling a product or service nor does the message promote a cause

Link to Royal Mail Guide