Category Archives: Political/Legal


o2 can’t do?

When the laws in Germany changed and for the first time it was permitted to carry out comparative advertising, the carmakers in particular were quick to jump on the bandwagon. I captured a whole series of ads at the time as BMW battled it out with Mercedes. Earlier this year, I witnessed some aggressive ads in the telecommunications sector, but … Continue reading


Drinks are drinks, no bull

Many markets are made terribly complicated by government legislation and restrictions that, to marketing people, do nothing but make life difficult. But the P for political/legal in the PEST model won’t go away, so you have to decide whether to go with the flow or do something about it. Two stories that have recently caught my attention are typical of … Continue reading


Unbent bananas and curvy cucumbers

What do the following have in common: onions, apricots, Brussels sprouts, watermelons and cauliflowers? Since 1 July 2009 they’re on the list of 26 items that can be marketed in Europe with knobs, bumps and curves. The money-wasting regulations that classed cucumbers with a bend of 10mm per 10cm of length differently from cucumbers with twice as much bend have … Continue reading


Always read the small print

There are strange laws and legal obligations in every country. In England banks promoting mortgages have to warn you that your house may be at risk if you fail to keep up payments. In many countries medical companies have to warn you about the possible side effects, in Germany with “Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible risks and side … Continue reading


Selling the sales to Germans

Changes in the law often present marketing departments with unexpected headaches. Now that the bizarre German law relating to “Kaufzwang” (purchase obligation) has disappeared, German retailers can have sales whenever they want (as long as the goods on offer are genuinely reduced). This is nothing new in many other countries, but in a country that was only allowed to rush … Continue reading


Local produce or a marketing con?

My eye was caught recently by an article in an English newspaper on a loophole in the law. Marketing johnnies have been quick to exploit it. Like many nations, the Brits are keen on home-grown foods (and although others mock us, there are actually some superb dishes in British cuisine). One such product is the Cumberland sausage. Of course to … Continue reading

Screenshot from:

Drink sparks off controversy

I’ve heard it said that any publicity is good publicity – as long as you can repair the damage when it’s not positive. I wonder if SABMiller agree. In the states, their brand “Sparks” has been creating a ripple or two. Critics and lobbyists keen to nip teenage drinking in the bud claim the company is deliberately targeting young people … Continue reading

Source: BBC screenshot

Too sexy for Scandinavia?

As a Brit abroad I’ve often seen sexist advertising that would upset the traditionalists in my home country, so it’s interesting to see people in other countries struggling with the issue. This article from the BBC shows an interesting angle from Scandinavia. The Norwegians have clearly come down in favour of a ban on any use of sexy images that … Continue reading

The brand with the 3 blobs.

Chinese whispers

As the MBAs travel the world, I am seeing more and more examples of the random nature of legal restrictions in different countries. These recent examples where snipped by Ralph in China. First we have what looks like an imitation of adidas. Clearly the Chinese have no way either of controlling this blantant imitation, or of responding to the complaints … Continue reading

Heineken cans in France

Dealing with alcohol

How differently alcohol is sold in different countries… Starting with some examples from Anja (thanks for your input!), it looks like the French are taking the issue of drinking during pregnancy very seriously. So seriously in fact that warnings now feature on cans. Whether this is a legal requirement I don’t know, but if it is then that can’t be … Continue reading


Coke nearly upsets the Chinese

Poor Coke, minding its own business when suddenly it finds itself in the middle of a global controversy. The first it heard about it was when a Chinese blogger came out with the following Germany has started to really show adverts for Tibetan independence. Coca-Cola! Okay, I will remember. From now on I will not touch this shitty product! The … Continue reading