Marketing and communications activities, including but not limited to branding, promotion, sales support, institutional and financial relations, and community outreach, shall endeavor to present a company or organization, its activities and, where applicable, its financial condition, fairly and consistently to all stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and analysts.
No marketer shall engage in the promotion of goods or services that do not exist, either to test demand or discourage possible competition. Market research using informed subjects to predict response to potential future products or services is permissible.
All distributors or other channel partners shall be given equal access to sales incentives and promotional assistance. Accepted practices such as volume discounts are permissible.
Potentially intrusive marketing programs, including e-mail promotions and telemarketing, shall be targeted rather than indiscriminate. They shall also follow accepted industry practices, such as:
• requiring opt-in or allowing opt-out by recipients
• avoiding the use of names gathered by surreptitious methods
• limiting solicitation to those with whom the marketer has an existing or appropriate potential business relationship
Each such promotion shall avoid deceptive communications tactics and offer the recipient an honest opportunity to decline further contact.
Marketers shall not use illegal direct or indirect payments (bribes, kickbacks, non-monetary favors, etc.) to obtain preferred status from channel partners, customers, or government officials, or accept such inducements from suppliers seeking their business.
Business communications shall not unfairly disparage or attack the products, services, or reputation of another company. Clear and factual comparisons between products or services used under similar conditions shall not be considered disparaging.
Marketing activities and messages shall accurately represent the company or organization, its product or service offerings, according to these principles:
• No form of business communications shall be prepared or knowingly accepted that contains untruthful, misleading, or deceptive statements, claims, pricing, warranties, comparative information, or implications.
• No claims shall be made in marketing or business communications whose truth and accuracy are incapable of substantiation through reasonable supporting documentation.
• No form of business communications shall be prepared or knowingly accepted about a product or service that is unsafe and would result in harm to the user unless it gives adequate warning.
• No form of business communications shall be prepared or knowingly accepted that is offensive or in bad taste.
• No form of business communications shall be prepared or knowingly accepted that distorts or changes the meaning of quotes, statements or published material to anything other than that implied by the speaker(s) or author(s).
• No illustrations or photography shall be created or altered to imply that a product is materially different in appearance or performance from its actual state.
All business communications shall offer the user a fair opportunity to purchase products or services at the advertised price, and shall explain (or offer an explanation of) any guarantee or warranty to which they refer.
Marketers and communicators shall not attempt to compromise the journalistic integrity of the media by using the economic power of advertising.
No marketing or communication activities shall be carried out that in any way violate the law or government statutes.
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