Buy one, get one free is part of our shopping culture – ASA bargains with government to keep promotions ‘free’
Well done Baroness Peta Buscombe, the ASA’s chief executive, for securing a pledge from the Government that ‘bogofs’ and other ‘free’ promotions will not fall foul of new consumer protection rules expected to be approved by Parliament next week.
If the Eurocrats had had their way, under the European Union directives on unfair commercial practices and misleading and comparative advertising, they would have shelved the term for fear of misleading the public.
‘Free’, according to the EU, should only be allowed in relation to samples and gifts that do not require more than the “unavoidable” cost of a postage stamp or telephone call.
But ‘buy one get one free’ has become a part of the British vernacular, since its introduction reportedly by the Iceland supermarket chain. People like it. They feel they are getting a bargain – and that’s what’s important.
Everybody here understands perfectly well what ‘bogof’ means (if you buy one, you don’t pay for the other one) and have become very attached to it. To suggest otherwise is patronizing at best, definitely daft and insidious at worst.
And it’s a small semantic step to ‘two for the price of one’, which Brussels are ok with, and importantly the same money to the consumer.
Congratulations to the ASA for keeping Britain free from the semantic meddling of those people who clearly don’t speak our language or understand our shopping culture.
Campaign – 22 May 2008
Rod Geoghegan works with Marketing Services Agencies, Tech Start-ups and Professional Services Firms to plan and deliver growth.
He is Founding Partner at Metropolis Partners