In this regular item we catch up with one of our members...

Fiona Rayner, Head of Experiential and International Operations at Blackjack Promotions in Heathrow Airport, tells us what they’ve been up to over the past few months, her thoughts on the importance of connecting with consumers in the travel retail industry, and what she’d say to a senior new business target if she had 30 seconds with them in a lift.

IPM: Hi Fiona, thanks for talking to us. How are things going at Blackjack Promotions at the moment?
FR: Really well thanks. As an agency that works predominantly in the Travel Retail sector, summer is always a really busy time for us as thousands of passengers make their way on holiday and through the airports! At this time of year it’s so important that we are all on our A game and working as a team to ensure promotions are on point, staff are energised and as a team we are delivering great experiences across the UK, Ireland and Middle East.

IPM: How is your business developing and evolving – any interesting plans for the rest of the year you can share with us?!
FR: Our focus remains on our people. We are all about recruiting and training motivated individuals who enjoy being around people and showcasing products and experiences. We work hand in hand with some of the Travel Retail industry’s largest brands and ensuring our Brand Advocates are of the highest calibre is key to our success. 2019 so far has been about streamlining and showcasing our recruitment process and as we go into the back half we’re working closely with innovators and industry experts on how we can take our dedicated Brand advocates to the next level.

IPM: In your opinion, how can the Travel Retail industry embrace new ways of engaging with customers and become more relevant to their changing needs?
FR: From my perspective, there is so much growth in UK Travel Retail and therefore the mission for all of us who want to see the Travel Retail Industry continue to thrive, has to be all about supporting frontline staff to enable them to deliver the very best and most relevant experiences to passengers. In my opinion, human beings make the difference between a disappointing experience and an exciting one!

IPM: You find yourself in a lift with a new business target, you've got 30 seconds to make an impression on behalf of Blackjack Promotions - what would you say and do?
FR: Is it wrong to ask them where they got their cool shoes or beautiful bag from? I’m terrible for asking these sorts of questions at first meetings…but I can’t help it – this industry is built on people connecting with other people and I just try to be myself!

IPM: Thanks so much for your time Fiona – have a great day!
FR: You too!

If you’d like to get in touch with Fiona Rayner, drop them a note at
Laura Fannin, Partner at Hayes Solicitors, is a key adviser to both brands and advertising agencies on marketing and advertising issues. Laura advises clients in relation to all areas of marketing and advertising law, including data protection and e-privacy issues, consumer law, the drafting and negotiation of agency contracts, promotional terms and conditions, sponsorship agreements and licence agreements. She also advises on high value promotional campaigns prize draws and has particular experience in the area of lotteries. She shares her expertise on running a prize promotion in Ireland.

Any brand that has thought about carrying out a prize promotion in Ireland will have most likely come across the outdated Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956. Under this legislation any prize promotion, which involves an element of chance in selecting the winner, will most likely fall within the definition of a lottery under the 1956 Act. Under the act, lotteries are illegal unless they are run under a lottery licence.

While this aspect of the 1956 Act is not currently meaningfully enforced in Ireland in relation to marketing promotions, many brands do look to obtain a lottery licence for Irish promotions, to avoid any risk of prosecution. The process for obtaining a lottery licence requires a Court application and can add to the expense of running a promotion in Ireland.

One of the criteria under the 1956 Act for obtaining a lottery licence is that the promotion must be for a charitable or philanthropic purpose. Accordingly a practice emerged in recent years for brands to partner with a charity who would obtain the licence. The licence would then be used by the brand for marketing purposes and a donation would be made to the charity for their involvement.

The Irish Government, however, is currently updating this legislation as part of a reform of gaming practices in Ireland. In March this year the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 was published, which provides for significant amendments to lotteries.

It is important to note that this Bill has not yet been passed in law, so the current 1956 Act still applies. The Bill was, however, very recently debated before the Irish houses of parliament and it is anticipated that the Bill will be finalised and become law later this year.

The Bill for the first time introduces provisions directly relating to marketing promotions. It provides that a licence or permit is not required where a lottery is held in conjunction with the selling or marketing of a particular product or service. There are, however, two potential issues for brands running marketing promotions where prizes are being distributed. Firstly, there is a requirement that there has to be no charge for taking part in a lottery other than the purchase of the product. This could potentially be problematic where, for example, promotions require the entrant to make a phone call or send a text message. It is unclear if the cost of the text or the call would be considered to be “an additional charge”. Secondly, the Bill requires the total value of the prizes for the promotions to be not more than €2,500. Given that this limit applies to the total value of the prizes, it is likely that the majority of marketing promotions would not be in a position to avail of this exception.

If the promotion cannot fulfil the requirements for the exemption for marketing promotions, then there is now a new option under the Bill for the promoter to apply for a permit. This permit can last for one year, and the total prizes in any one lottery cannot exceed €5,000 or if there is more than one lottery in any one week, the total value shall not be more than €5,000. There will be a fee for applying for the permit, the amount of which has not been set. Also permits will need to be applied for 60 days in advance of the promotion starting.

If the prize values are above the €5000 limit, described above, the only option open to a promoter is to apply for a lottery licence. The Bill allows a prize limit of €30,000 where a lottery licence is applied for. The new requirements set out in the Bill appear, however, to prevent the current practice of brands applying for lottery licences in conjunction with a charity.

The Bill provides that you cannot promote a lottery unless you hold the lottery licence or you are an employee or agent of the licence holder. In order to continue with the current practice of partnering with a charity, the brand would have to demonstrate that they are an agent of the charity. It appears unlikely that a Court would find that a brand is an agent of the charity in these circumstances.

If applying for a lottery licence is no longer an option for marketing promotions, which fall within the definition of a lottery, promoters will be confined (under the current draft of the bill) to giving away prizes of no more than €5000 in value.

The Bill will be debated by the Irish parliament prior to the enactment and amendments may be made that are favourable to brands and marketing agencies.

I have been involved in making submissions to the Irish Government on behalf of members of the Irish promotional marketing industry. These submissions urged the government to increase the prize pool limit; however there is no guarantee that they will do so.

IPM Members can hear Laura discuss the compliance landscape in Ireland – and ask her questions live – by joining our Legal Briefing Webinar on Tuesday 15th October at 1pm. More information and sign up here:
If you would like further information or guidance, get in touch with Laura Fannin at

In this regular item we catch up with one of our members...

Ian Lacey, Business Development Director of Sodexo Filmology in Milton Keynes tells us what they’ve been up to over the past few months, their thoughts on risk-based promotions, and what he’d say to a senior new business target if he had 30 seconds with them in a lift.

IPM: Hi Ian, thanks for talking to us. How are things going at Sodexo Filmology at the moment?
IL: Things are going great, thanks! Just look at the films that are out now and coming up for the rest of the year! It’s a really exciting time to be working in Film and Cinema right now and there’s a real buzz in the office.

IPM: How is your business developing and evolving – any interesting plans you can share with us?!
IL: Whilst we can’t share specific campaigns currently in development (sorry!), we are continually looking at ways to use cinema to create standout and profitable campaigns for well-known brands in their promotional activities. In fact, our partnerships with some of the UK’s biggest and best-known cinema chains means we can create some truly standout campaigns!

Remember, that cinema’s ongoing popularity – 176m admissions in 2018 alone (Mintel) – just goes to show that the great British public are still very-much in love with the big screen. With this in mind, cinema makes an ideal partner for agencies and brands-alike looking for innovative incentives and standout rewards.

IPM: With risk-based promotions with millions of pounds worth of prizes or gift with purchase (i.e. everyone’s a winner) , what would you advise a brand to do?
IL: That’s a tough one. On the one hand, consumers are so savvy, they probably know the odds of them winning a risk-based promotion is low. However, the sorts of gift with purchase prizes are mainly trial periods or 2 for 1 entries at Theme Parks or events - are they really going to excite a consumer enough to purchase a product?

Clearly, a lot comes down to the value of the item the promotion is against and of course the budget. There’s no perfect answer; but having a prize with a highly perceived value and reward that engages with as many consumers as possible would be a good mix to consider.

IPM: You find yourself in a lift with a new business target, you've got 30 seconds to make an impression on behalf of Sodexo Filmology - what would you say and do?
IL: Well there would certainly be no dancing or singing (Mrs Lacey can testify I am not good at either!). I would probably say when planning your next promotion, consider an incentive that people really want and use that to motivate their purchase.

Marketing is not a vanity project to simply win awards, nor is it a procurement-led activity to see how cheaply it can be done – it’s about delivering activity that drives sales, profitably.

IPM: Thanks so much for your time Ian – have a great day!
IL: You too!
If you’d like to get in touch with Sodexo Filmology, drop them a note at

Paul Cope, Managing Director, IPM

We love the COGS Awards here at the IPM. We’ve been running this particular Awards platform, alongside our creative campaign Awards programme – as well as countless other events and initiatives – for nine years. In fact, it’s one of the first names on the annual activity ‘team-sheet’, a key aspect of our commitment to our Service Agency members and beyond.

“Ah, but you would say that!” pipes up the inevitable cynic/‘expert’ from the back of the room, “You’ve probably got entry targets to hit, event tickets to sell. I imagine it’s a nice little earner, right?”. Hmm, wrong. Did I mention we’re a not-for-profit organisation? Our MO is to only ever do what is most useful for our members.

“You’ve got the ‘main’ Awards show… why on earth do you put yourselves through all that effort again just a few weeks later? For what?”

On the face of it, I admit, it might seem like an excessive use of the IPM’s precious resources. So, there must be a pretty good reason, right?

“How can you judge and reward disciplines like ‘promotional insurance’, ‘handling and fulfilment’, ‘staffing’, ‘incentives and rewards’, ‘prize sourcing’? In fact, why even bother trying?”

All perfectly legitimate questions… for those of you who don’t do this ‘type’ of work. However, for the IPM and our Service Agency contacts – both members and non-members based across the UK – our passionate conviction is that this work, and the immaculate delivery of it, has always been essential and measurable, and is more important to the promotional marketing and brand activation industry now in 2019 than it’s ever been.

You see, the IPM COGS Awards exists to recognise and reward all the incredible work that enables promotional marketing and brand activation campaigns to happen. Activation effectiveness to manifest. The things we do which make an actual difference to the end result. All the passion, graft and expertise without which most campaigns would fall at the first hurdle. All the hidden heroes, the engine rooms, the hard yards, the reason clients can sleep at night, the backbone of our industry…

You could say that the IPM COGS Awards is the industry’s foremost Celebration Of Great Service.

But slightly cheesy acronym aside for a moment, how many great ideas have you seen or been a part of that, when they were delivered, were either not quite as good as they could’ve been, or just downright disappointing? And what did all those examples have in common? I’ll wager that the most important and consistent contributor to campaign lameness was a lack of focus on the delivery aspects, the machinery. The ‘cogs’. Put a 1L Skoda engine in a Ferrari if you must, but don’t expect to break the Silverstone lap record. You may well be a super-talented barista with interesting facial hair and no socks, but if the coffee you’re using is sub-standard don’t expect your skinny mochaccino to be delicious. You get the idea.

The current reality is that in our confusing, post-truth, AI-dominated world, we crave authenticity and visceral excellence in all areas of our lives more than ever. A commitment to craft, something great to cling on to and share, and this is particularly true for brands. The campaign concept can be tremendous, but if the foundations and consumer interactions are flimsy you risk losing their trust forever. Ultimately, you can’t pull the wool over people’s eyes. They’re too smart, too connected. This is what the IPM COGS Awards identifies, rewards and celebrates, and this is why we’re convinced the IPM COGS is more important now in 2019 than it’s ever been. Service Agencies that win an IPM COGS Award are recognised throughout the industry as companies dedicated to the highest possible standards of service and delivery excellence. The stuff that really counts, in other words. And this means more work for IPM COGS Awards winners.

In 2019, the IPM launched a series of special interest Communities, designed to support our members and the work they do. It’s our biggest strategic play for a number of years, and will reinvent the way we deliver value and relevance to our members. Our Communities Of Gold Standards, in fact. Two-thirds of these IPM Communities are represented as entry category groups in the IPM COGS Awards 2019: ‘Promotional Marketing Services’, ‘Incentive, Prize & Loyalty’, ‘Experiential Effectiveness’ and ‘Tech & Innovation’.

Clearly, the COGS Awards is central to the IPM’s purpose. Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that the promotional marketing and brand activation industry owes its ongoing success to the values that the COGS holds dear.

Now do you see why we love it so much?

If you’re a Service Agency committed to delivering exceptional standards of service and delivery in the promotional marketing and brand activation industry, then it’s time you entered the IPM COGS Awards and find out what a win can do for your business.

Entries are now open and close at 6pm on Friday 26th July. All the information you need to enter can be found here, and it’s easier than ever to enter.

Good luck!

The Awards team can help with any questions, contact us on 020 3848 0444 or at

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