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27 October 2023

For many retailers in Ireland and across the globe, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most important shopping days of the year. A key driver of sales is successful targeted marketing campaigns, but there are legal consequences to getting a marketing campaign wrong, which is why it is vital that direct marketing communications are compliant with the law.

Here’s how to ensure your marketing messages are compliant.

Am I engaging in direct marketing?

Direct marketing involves targeted communications to an individual, where a product or service is being promoted. This includes messages to promote events, ideals or organisations, or to get potential customers to request additional information about a product or service.

Further, if a communication has multiple purposes, and just one of those purposes is the promotion of a product or service, it will be categorised as a direct marketing communication.

If your Black Friday marketing campaign involves sending promotional emails, texts, or other targeted advertisements to individuals, then you are engaging in direct marketing and you need to make sure you’re compliant with the law.

How can I ensure compliance?

In Ireland, direct marketing is governed by the GDPR, the Data Protection Act 2018 and the ePrivacy Regulations.

As a general rule, in order to ensure compliance with the law, specific and informed consent should always be obtained from an individual prior to sending any form of direct marketing communications. The GDPR makes it clear that silence, pre-ticked boxes, or inactivity on the part of a data subject will not amount to valid consent. There may be circumstances where a soft opt-in can be relied upon as a basis for direct marketing under the ePrivacy Regulations, provided certain conditions are met.

Further, it is important to make sure that data subjects are made aware of their right to withdraw their consent at any time. To facilitate this an “opt-out” must be included with each marketing communication.

We also recommend you review your marketing lists to ensure they are up to date and that any customer who has opted out of receiving marketing communications is removed from the database and does not receive any communications.

We’re here to help

With Black Friday and the Christmas season approaching, retailers need to ensure compliance with direct marketing rules in order to avoid data subject complaints, potential data protection fines, or negative publicity. We recommend that all relevant businesses / organisations take steps to familiarise themselves with best practices when it comes to direct marketing.

For more information regarding direct marketing and data protection concerns, including how it might be possible to rely on the lawful basis of legitimate interests for a marketing campaign, a marketing soft opt-in, or how to differentiate between a marketing message and a service message, contact a member of our data protection team.

Contact the team

emma ritchie

Emma Ritchie

Head of Data Protection & Privacy