Apple Clamps Down on iOS Device Giveaways

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    Apple's iOS devices have rapidly become popular giveaway items for businesses seeking to boost user interest and participation, encouraging customers to sign up or interact with the businesses in some way for chances to win an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

    But as noted by Fortune, the vast majority of these promotions run afoul of Apple's published guidelines (PDF) on third-party promotions. Those guidelines lay out exactly what procedures companies looking to offer Apple products as promotional items must follow, most notably barring iPads, iPhones, and iPhone gift cards entirely from such promotions and requiring "special circumstances" and a minimum order of 250 units for iPod touch giveaways.
    According to the report, Apple has only just recently begun reaching out to companies to enforce the guidelines, despite that fact that the document has been around for quite some time.

    Article Link: Apple Clamps Down on iOS Device Giveaways
  2. macduke macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Well that's just too bad Apple! People can give away whatever they want.
  3. macbwizard macrumors 6502


    May 23, 2005
  4. r2fa3l macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

    It's just more FREE promo+sales for Apple. I don't get this to be honest
  5. adrian.oconnor, Jun 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011

    adrian.oconnor macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    Nottingham, England
    Before you all jump in with the 'APPLE CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!' comments, I think these requirements are part of a contract that you can enter with Apple in order to supply (or maybe just promote, using Apple materials) iPads etc. It has nothing to do with walking in to a shop and buying an iPad and then giving it away (for example, on a radio show).

    This is my understanding, reading the sources when this story first started spreading this morning. I could be wrong, of course, but I don't think so.

    [edit: not so sure now. I can't tell if the linked PDF forms part of a contract, or whether Apple are expecting to enforce those guidelines through their trademarks. I can't find any info on the Apple site to clarify the matter]
  6. autrefois, Jun 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011

    autrefois macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2003
    Somewhere in the USA
    I'm sure someone will try to tell us how they can legally do this [EDIT: see above], but I don't see why companies and organizations shouldn't have the right to use whatever product they want as a prize or giveaway.

    I can see forcing a notice clearly saying that there is no implied endorsement by Apple of whatever the promotion is. (That has to be the reasoning behind this: they don't want their name sullied by any old company or organization out there.)

    But I don't see how Apple gets to say what their product is used for once it is purchased or legally obtained. Are they next going to say people can't mention iPhones on blog posts unless the blog meets their standards?


    Nowhere in the Fortune article, nor in Apple's policy, does it mention anything about this being part of purchases made via contract with Apple. This appears to apply to any giveaway of iPads, etc. whether or not you had a contract with Apple. And as I had suspected, this apparently does have to do with their brand image (see "Required language" paragraph in the policy).
  7. rorschach macrumors 68020


    Jul 27, 2003
    Nothing to see here.

    These guidelines are for companies that sign contracts with Apple to allow them to use Apple trademarks in their advertising.

    NO company allows people to make money using their intellectual property; they would be insane to do so. Apple is saying, "If you want to use your IP in your advertising, you need to follow these guidelines."

    You are free to give away as many Apple products as you want. You just can't infringe on trademarks.
  8. gmcalpin macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2008
    These are all pretty reasonable…

    You guys have never seen one of those promotions where they're so blatantly trying to trick people into thinking Apple is connected with them? That explains the majority of these things.

    Some of it is just to ensure that they're not associated with those misleading or even predatory scams like "free iPads"… if you sign up for two websites and a credit card.

    You can GIVE an iPad to whoever the hell you want. That's not a third party promotion.
  9. liphonearth macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2010
    They can't prevent you from giving away something you own.

    The problem is not giving it away, but using their brand/logo/prestige in the promotional materials and press for your giveaway.

    Businesses and organizations can profit and elevate their status using the Apple product recognition, and that association has the potential to do damage and/or dilute the value of the product.

    For example, how about this: "The North Carolina KKK is giving away a free Apple® Ipad for to one of the participants in our next white-power parade."

    That's what this is about.
  10. Sparced macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2007
    Liverpool, UK
    Attention whores like iJustine will give away one iPod Touch and get thousands of new subscribes. You don't see it happening as much and this is probably the reason why. A few iPad competition videos on YouTube lately have been taken down.
  11. adrian.oconnor macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    Nottingham, England
    Yeah, I edited my post to say much the same thing. But Apple can only control their brand in this way through one of two means (as far as I know) -- one being trademarks, and the other being supplier contracts. In the US, I'm sure that you can promote products using the brand name without any fear of prosecution, and that there is plenty of case law to support it. Here in the UK it's less clear (Levis stopped a super market selling cheap imported 501s by using their trademarks).
  12. rorschach macrumors 68020


    Jul 27, 2003
    But it does mention contacting "your Apple account representative." That would pretty clearly imply that this is for businesses that have a contractual relationship with Apple.
  13. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009

    So if I wanted to hold a contest in my class and the winner was to receive an iPod touch, I'd have to submit everything to Apple and buy 250 of them?

    F that!

    How about Apple requiring companies to put a disclaimer that Apple is not sponsoring or has any affiliation with the giveaway?
  14. autrefois macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2003
    Somewhere in the USA
    Ah, the ole "Reductio ad Hitlerum" trick. If the KKK can give away iPads, then it must be bad.

    I am against the KKK, but I still don't think it's wrong for organizations to give away iPads without Apple's prior approval as long as they make it clear that it's THEIR promotion and NOT Apple's.

    Let's continue down this slippery slope: why not prohibit the sale of iPad to KKK members, then? Can you imagine what it would do to the brand image of Apple to see a fully-decked-out KKK member marching in the street, iPad in hand? Or what about the Grand Wizard sending out an email that ends "Sent on my iPad"? Will Apple now vet all Craiglist or eBay sales of used iOS devices to make sure they aren't sold by KKK members?? Why limit it to the KKK: how about all felons are prohibited from using iOS devices?

    Apple has a right to try to protect their image. But individuals, organizations, and other companies have rights, too. I'm not saying the balance is easy, but I don't think Apple should have the right to prohibit giveaways as long is it's clear Apple isn't sponsoring them.
  15. likegadgets macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2008
    Now, I am an Apple fan, but sometimes, they are insane.
  16. autrefois macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2003
    Somewhere in the USA
    Thank you for the clarification and sorry to single out your post, you just happened to post right before me. I'm not a lawyer by any means: from my casual knowledge of the matter, I'm positive there are limits in the US on the use of brand names. This didn't strike me as something that would fall under that, but perhaps someone with more knowledge can clarify things. Even if there is case law supporting Apple, I disagree with the idea that an organization doesn't have the right to organize a giveaway of a product if they make it clear that no endorsement is implied. It remains to be seen if that's what's going on here or not, though.

    That is a good point, I hadn't noticed that when I read it over and I'm sorry for missing it. Is it implying then that you have to have a contract (and thus an Apple account representative) in order to do a giveaway, or that this only applies to people who do already have one? If it's the latter, that makes sense to me. If you have a contract with Apple as a distributor/etc., it would make sense that they have the right to specify what does or doesn't fall under that contract.
  17. TheUndertow macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2011
    How bizarre of them to make a stink about this...unless they think it's devaluing the iPad due to being given away, and they're prob. all the $499 models.
  18. chuckiej macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2003
    This is so tough. I see what they are getting at especially with them not wanting the word "FREE" to appear anywhere near the word "iPad". It's a branding thing and those that do that are stealing a small piece of Apple's brand loyalty for themselves. However, overall I think this is horrible and you really should be able to give away something you've purchased however you see fit...
  19. longofest Editor emeritus


    Jul 10, 2003
    Falls Church, VA
    This seriously makes no sense. These sort of giveaways have been a huge marketing boon for the iOS platform (and halo effect). I really don't see how this is in Apple's interest to clamp down on these promotions.
  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I think that you need to make a distinction between giving away an Apple product, and using Apple's name (and the name of the product) in your own advertizing. The word Apple and iP[whatever] are both trademarked. Using those names in your own advertizing is, I believe, what Apple is fussing about.

    If a company wanted to advertize that they are giving away "Tablets" as part of their promo, then I don't think Apple could do anything. I don't know how far you can go (but a company could have a lot of fun with it...) with "A Table made by a Company named after a Fruit). How close could you get to saying 'Apple' (without actually saying 'Apple') and get away with it?
  21. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    This is getting extremely ridiculous...
    Certainly, Apple is always looking for dumb ways to be hated by some people.
  22. gooner44 macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2010
    This is standard practice for so many companies - they want to control their brand image, not anyone else - just a big deal is being made because it is apple.

    Almost every company involved in selling good, particularly luxury goods (which apple products arguably are), sends out warning letters to any publications or websites etc holding competitions with their products without the permission of said company.

    And if you hold a competition with your friends, that is not what apple cares about it, they care about businesses strengthening their own image by associating themselves with apple, and using apple's draw to benefit themselves, without agreement from apple themselves.
  23. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Yeah. I mean I understand why they want all those requirements, but I don't think they should have any basis to do that stuff, save for being able to stop stuff implying it's from Apple or whatever.
  24. 2 Replies macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2010

    -Rolls eyes- :rolleyes:

    "iPad, iPhone and the iPhone Gift Card may not be used in third-party promotions."

    Once a company has taken the money for the product/gift card, they have NO legal jurisdiction to say what happens to the product in terms of ownership.
    California especially, (where Apple is located) in terms of gift-cards, has some DAMN clear laws. They CAN NOT be expired, so Apple HAS to honor them regardless of how the end user procured them.
    If Apple is actually refusing to honor their own gift-cards they're SO setting themselves up for an open and shut lawsuit.

    Additionally while, some of the items they state in their 'guidelines' are valid... they're merely Apple rehashing state and/or federal Copyright and Trademark law, so are not Apple's OWN guidelines.
    Most of the rest though is BS Apple has sprinkled in, but is totally not enforceable regardless of what Apple may claim.

    Examples of blatant BS:
    - Only the most current Apple products may be featured
    (If a company is giving away or catering to owners of previous versions, then it would be ILLEGAL to follow this guideline. Apple can not enforce false advertising.)
    - Do not place within decorative cases, etc.
    (Apple, if a company is selling protective cases for Apple's GLASS handset, they can't stop them from demonstrating final appearance of their product.)
    - Always show products on a plain background
    (Most hilarious and non-enforceable one. Apple doesn't get to dictate other company's advertising methods)
    - Do not clutter Apple product photos with props, models or marketing messages
    (See previous)
    - Images may not be used on disposable packaging, nor on promotions within the food industry. In this case, please use the product name in text only
    (Notice the 'please'? It's clearly a request. Totally not enforceable. Especially since in this wording they are not clearly stating the images as being of Apple products or Apple IP.)

    Sorry Apple, but you don't make the laws. Your guidelines DO NOT trump federal law.
    If someone or some company wants to say "Free iPod with purchase", you have no legal grounds to stop them or hold them responsible for not following your arbitrary guidelines.
    The world doesn't revolve around you.

Share This Page