Sorry, no iPads allowed in your promotion

The iPad must be one of the hottest consumer devices at the moment and are popular prizes in promotional competitions. Unfortunately Apple forbids companies from using iPads, iPhones and iPhone gift cards in their promotional competitions. Apple’s promotional guidelines which date back to April 2010 open with the following clause:

If you choose to give the product away in any form of promotion or use Apple products in promotional materials such as advertising, you must follow these guidelines. Strict adherence is essential because you and/or your company may be held responsible if your use of Apple products for promotional purposes do not conform with the following guidelines. In any event, we reserve the right to revoke our consent to your use of Apple products in your promotion at any time and for any reason. For purposes of this Agreement, “Apple products” include: iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod classic, Time Capsule, Apple TV, Apple Gift Cards and iTunes Gift Cards. iPod touch is only allowed to be used in special circumstances and requires a minimum purchase of 250 units. iPad, iPhone and the iPhone Gift Card may not be used in third-party promotions. Please contact a sales representative for more information.

Did you notice the emphasized line in the quote: “iPad, iPhone and the iPhone Gift Card may not be used in third-party promotions”? This line, alone, presents a real challenge to companies like Afrihost (my DSL provider) which has become known for the vigour with which it promotes its services through giveaways like this iPad promotion:

Afrihost promo

Fortune magazine recently reported how an ABC affiliate gave iPads away as part of an effort to promote the station, not realising that its giveaway contravened Apple’s Guidelines for Third Party Promotions. These Guidelines are clearly designed to protect Apple’s brand and perceptions of its products. The Guidelines specify how Apple products may be represented and in which contexts. They prohibit the use of Apple’s proprietary Myriad Set font (Apple owns a variation of the Myriad typeface) and requires that promotions using Apple products be approved by Apple beforehand.

What could happen to companies that ignore Apple’s Guidelines? For one thing Apple could contend that its trade marks are being infringed by the unauthorised use of its products and brands. The bottom line for any company looking to lean on Apple’s attention grabbing products to promote its services or products is that it should pay very careful attention to Apple’s Guidelines, in addition to other rules and guidelines it may already be subject to.

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