Marketing Communication Code
The Q-Park Advertising and Marketing Communication Code adheres fully to the consolidated ICC code. For reference please check the internet for the latest version of the PDF file ‘The Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice’.
Q-Park’s responsible advertising and marketing communication is therefore based on a widely supported self-regulatory code of conduct and is an expression of our recognition of the community and of our social obligations. The fundamental value of our self-regulation lies in the ability to create, enhance and preserve customer trust and confidence. It is also an instrument for the protection of our goodwill and reputation.
Q-Park judges its communications by their likely impact on the reasonable customer, having regard to the characteristics of the targeted group, the knowledge, experience and discriminatory ability of the typical customer, the medium used as well as social, cultural and linguistic factors. This self-regulatory code deals with marketing communication and does not extend indiscriminately to every type of corporate communication.
The code does not apply to corporate public affairs messages in press releases and other media statements, nor to information in annual reports and the like. Also, communications whose primary purpose is entertaining or educational and not commercial, such as the content of television programmes, films, books, magazines are not intended to be covered by this code.
- All marketing communication should be legal, decent, honest and truthful.
- All marketing communication should be prepared with a due sense of social and professional responsibility and should conform to the principles of fair competition, as generally accepted in business.
- No communication should be such as to impair public confidence in marketing.
- Marketing communication should not contain statements or audio or visual treatments which offend standards of decency currently prevailing in the country and culture concerned.
- Marketing communication should be so framed as not to abuse the trust of customers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge.
- Relevant factors likely to affect customers’ decisions should be communicated in such a way and at such a time that customers can take them into account.
- Marketing communication should respect human dignity and should not incite or condone any form of discrimination, including that based upon race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation.
- Marketing communication should not without justifiable reason play on fear or exploit misfortune or suffering.
- Marketing communication should not appear to condone or incite violent, unlawful or anti-social behaviour.
- Marketing communication should not play on superstition.
- Marketing communication should be truthful and not misleading.
- Marketing communication should not contain any statement, or audio or visual treatment which, directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggeration, is likely to mislead the customer.
Use of technical/scientific data and terminology
- Marketing communication should not:
- misuse technical data, e.g. research results or quotations from technical and scientific publications;
- present statistics in such a way as to exaggerate the validity of a product claim;
- use scientific terminology or vocabulary in such a way as falsely to suggest that a product claim has scientific validity.
Use of 'free' and 'guarantee'
- The term 'free', e.g. 'free gift' or 'free offer', should be used only:
- where an offer involves no obligation whatsoever; or
- where the only obligation is to pay shipping and handling charges which should not exceed the cost estimated to be incurred by the marketeer; or
- in conjunction with the purchase of another product, provided the price of that product has not been increased to cover all or part of the cost of the offer.
- A marketing communication should not state or imply that a 'guarantee', 'warranty' or other expression having substantially the same meaning, offers the customer rights additional to those provided by law when it does not. The terms of any guarantee or warranty, including the name and address of the guarantor, should be easily available to the customer and limitations on customer rights or remedies, where permitted by law, should be clear and conspicuous.
- Descriptions, claims or illustrations relating to verifiable facts in a marketing communication should be capable of substantiation. Such substantiation should be available so that evidence can be produced without delay and upon request.
- Marketing communication should be clearly distinguishable as such, whatever their form and whatever the medium used. When an advertisement appears in a medium containing news or editorial matter, it should be so presented that it is readily recognisable as an advertisement and the identity of the advertiser should be apparent.
- Marketing communication should not misrepresent their true purpose. They should not be presented as, for example, market research or customer surveys if their purpose is commercial.
- The identity of the marketeer should be apparent. This does not apply to communications with the sole purpose of attracting attention to communication activities to follow (e.g. so-called 'teaser advertisements').
- Marketing communication should, where appropriate, include contact information to enable the customer to get in touch with the marketeer without difficulty.
- Marketing communication containing comparisons should be so designed that the comparison is not likely to mislead, and should comply with the principles of fair competition. Points of comparison should be based on facts which can be substantiated and should not be unfairly selected.
- Marketing communication should not denigrate any person or group of persons, firm, organisation, industrial or commercial activity, profession or product, or seek to bring it or them into public contempt or ridicule.
- Marketing communication should not contain or refer to any testimonial, endorsement or supportive documentation unless it is genuine, verifiable and relevant. Testimonials or endorsements which have become obsolete or misleading through passage of time should not be used.
Portrayal or imitation of persons and references to personal property
- Marketing communication should not portray or refer to any persons, whether in a private or a public capacity, unless prior permission has been obtained; nor should marketing communication without prior permission depict or refer to any person’s property in a way likely to convey the impression of a personal endorsement of the product or organisation involved.
Exploitation of goodwill
- Marketing communication should not make unjustifiable use of the name, initials, logo and/or trademarks of another firm, company or institution. Marketing communication should not in any way take undue advantage of another firm’s, individual’s or institution’s goodwill in its name, brands or other intellectual property, or take advantage of the goodwill earned by other marketing campaigns without prior consent.
- Marketing communication should not imitate those of another marketeer in any way likely to mislead or confuse the customer, for example through the general layout, text, slogan, visual treatment, music or sound effects.
- Where a marketeer has established a distinctive marketing communication campaign in one or more countries, other marketeers should not imitate that campaign in other countries where the marketeer who originated the campaign may operate, thereby preventing the extension of the campaign to those countries within a reasonable period of time.
Safety and health
- Marketing communication should not, without justification on educational or social grounds, contain any visual portrayal or any description of potentially dangerous practices, or situations which show a disregard for safety or health, as defined by local national standards. Instructions for use should include appropriate safety warnings and, where necessary, disclaimers. Children should be shown to be under adult supervision whenever a product or an activity involves a safety risk. Information provided with the product should include proper directions for use and full instructions, covering health and safety aspects whenever necessary. Such health and safety warnings should be made clear by the use of pictures, text or a combination of both.
Data protection and privacy
- By complying with the relevant rules and regulations, Q-Park ensures that when collecting personal data from individuals their privacy is respected and protected.
- When personal information is collected from customers, it is essential to ensure that the individuals concerned are aware of the purpose of the collection and of any intention to transfer the data to a third party for that third party’s marketing purposes. When it is not possible to inform the individual at the time of collection, Q-Park does it as soon as possible thereafter.
- Personal data collected in accordance with this Code is collected for specified and legitimate purposes and not used in any manner incompatible with those purposes:
- adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which they are collected and/or further processed;
- accurate and kept up to date;
- preserved for no longer than is required for the purpose for which the data were collected or further processed.
- Q-Park has adequate security measures in place, having regard to the sensitivity of the information, in order to prevent unauthorised access to, or disclosure of, the personal data.
- If the information is transferred to third parties, Q-Park first establishes that they employ at least an equivalent level of security measures.
- In jurisdictions where no privacy legislation currently exists, Q-Park recommends that privacy principles such as those of the ICC Privacy Toolkit are adopted and implemented.
- Q-Park takes appropriate measures to ensure that customers understand and can exercise their rights:
- to opt out of marketing lists (including the right to sign on to general preference services);
- to require that their data are not made available to third parties for their marketing purposes; and
- to rectify incorrect data which are held about them.
- Where a customer has expressed a wish not to receive marketing communication using a specific medium, whether via a preference service or by other means, Q-Park will respect this wish.
- Q-Park takes particular care to maintain the data protection rights of the customer when personal data are transferred from the country in which they are collected to another country.
- When data processing is conducted in another country, Q-Park takes all reasonable steps to ensure that adequate security measures are in place and that the data protection principles set out in this Code are respected. Q-Park has adopted the ICC model clauses covering agreements between the originator of the marketing list and the processor or user in another country.
Transparency on cost of communication
- Where the cost to customers of accessing a message or communicating with the marketeer is higher than the standard cost of postage or telecommunications, e.g. 'premium rate' for an online message or telephone number, Q-Park makes this cost clear to customers, expressed either as 'cost per minute' or as 'cost per message'. When this information is provided on-line, customers are clearly informed at the time when they are about to access the message or online service, and are allowed a reasonable period of time to disconnect without incurring the charge.
- Where a communication involves such a cost, Q-Park will not keep the customer waiting for an unreasonably long time in order to achieve the purpose of the communication and calls are not charged until the customer can begin to fulfil that purpose.
Unsolicited products and undisclosed costs
- Q-Park avoids marketing communication associated with the practice of sending unsolicited products to customers who are then asked for payment (inertia selling), including statements or suggestions that recipients are required to accept and pay for such products.
- Marketing communication which solicits a response constituting an order for which payment will be required (e.g. an entry in a publication), should make this unambiguously clear.
- Marketing communication soliciting orders should not be presented in a form which might be mistaken for an invoice, or otherwise falsely suggest that payment is due.
- Q-Park's marketing communication will not appear to condone or encourage actions which contravene the law, self-regulatory codes or generally accepted standards of environmentally responsible behaviour.
- These general rules on responsibility apply to all forms of Q-Park's marketing communication. Rules on responsibility with special relevance to certain activities or media can be found in the sections devoted to those activities and media.
- Responsibility for the observance of the rules of conduct laid down in the Code rests with the marketeer whose products are the subject of the marketing communication, with the communications practitioner or agency, and with the publisher, media owner or contractor.
- Marketeers have overall responsibility for the marketing communication for their products.
- Agencies or other practitioners should exercise due care and diligence in the preparation of marketing communication and should operate in such a way as to enable marketeers to fulfil their responsibilities.
- Publishers, media owners or contractors, who publish, transmit or distribute marketing communication, should exercise due care in the acceptance of them and their presentation to the public.
- Individuals employed by a firm, company or institution falling into any of the above categories and who take part in the planning, creation, publication or transmission of a marketing communication are responsible, to an extent commensurate with their respective positions, for ensuring that the rules of the Code are observed and should act accordingly.
- The Code applies to the marketing communication in its entire content and form, including testimonials and statements, and audio or visual material originating from other sources. The fact that the content or form of a marketing communication may originate wholly or in part from other sources does not justify nonobservance of the Code rules.
Effect of subsequent redress for contravention
- Subsequent correction and/or appropriate redress for a contravention of the Code, by the party responsible, is desirable but does not excuse the contravention.
- Q-Park has adopted and implemented the Code and the principles enshrined in it nationally and internationally, in our relevant local, national and regional self-regulatory clusters. Where appropriate, all our organisations, companies and individuals involved apply the code at all stages in the marketing communication process.
- Marketeers, communications practitioners or advertising agencies, publishers, media-owners and contractors working for or contracted to Q-Park should be familiar with the Code and with other relevant local self-regulatory guidelines on advertising and other marketing communication, and should familiarise themselves with decisions taken by the appropriate self-regulatory body.
Respect for self-regulatory decisions
- No marketeer, communications practitioner or advertising agency, publisher, media owner or contractor should be party to the publication or distribution of an advertisement or other marketing communication which has been found unacceptable by the relevant self-regulatory body.
- All parties are encouraged to include in their contracts and other agreements pertaining to advertising and other marketing communication, a statement committing the signatories to adhere to the applicable self-regulatory rules and to respect decisions and rulings made by the appropriate self-regulatory body.
- For terms specific to sales promotion, sponsorship, direct marketing, advertising and marketing communication using electronic media and the telephone, and environmental claims in marketing communication, please review the appropriate sections in the PDF file ‘The Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing communication Practice’.