What’s the deal?

November 6th 2023

In recent years Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become important events in the marketing calendar, bridging the gap between Halloween and Christmas. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published some timely guidance for advertisers ahead of this year’s Black Friday weekend, which starts on 24 November.

  • Savings claims – such as “70% off” or “Save £50” – must be genuine, accurate and not exaggerated. Comparisons with the usual selling price must be with the most recent price available and that price must have been established for long enough for the Black Friday price to represent a true saving.
  • Claims such as “up to 50% off” or “prices from £10” will only be acceptable if the advertiser can show that a significant proportion of the items included in the sale are discounted by the highest percentage or available at the lowest price stated in the promotion.
  • Promotional offers that are advertised as applying to “everything” or “all items” should not be qualified. An attempt to exclude certain items from the promotion is likely to be considered misleading and in breach of the legislation and/or voluntary Codes that regulate advertising in the UK.
  • Advertisers must be able to demonstrate that they have made a reasonable estimate of demand for the products to be included in a Black Friday promotion. Any restrictions on availability, for example “only 1,000 available” should be made clear from the outset: a general statement such as “subject to availability” is unlikely to be sufficient. 
  • If it becomes clear during the course of a promotion that, because of unexpectedly high sales or for other reasons beyond the advertiser’s control, the advertiser will be unable to meet the estimated demand, this must be communicated to consumers as soon as possible and before the end of the promotional period. 
  • Significant conditions, i.e. conditions that could affect whether someone decides to participate in a promotion, should not be omitted. These would normally include the start and end dates of the promotion, clear instructions on how to participate, the nature and number of the products available and any restrictions on availability.
  • Promotions should be prepared with a sense of social responsibility. Not all products and services are appropriate for time-limited offers. In the last two years. the ASA has upheld complaints relating to Black Friday advertisements for cosmetic surgery and shared property ownership, on the basis that consumers could feel rushed into making decisions on matters which would normally require time and thought. 

Any savings claims, e.g., “70% off”, “Save £50”, etc, must be genuine, accurate and must not exaggerate the saving that could be made.