In my last article we discussed about planning a sweepstakes campaign, a lot of people in the last couple of days have come back requesting for details on what are the regulations and how should one go about taking necessary approvals for the same. In today’s article we try to share details about ‘how to go about taking necessary approvals to run any marketing promotion campaign.

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We all understand that while the planning of a promotion is important to drive sales objectives, it’s equally important to have the necessary approvals in place. The region we are in has a lot of regulations in terms of sweepstakes campaigns – be it simple price offer, scratch-n-win or a raffle draw. The authority in UAE for all marketing promotion approvals is the Department of Economic Development and similarly in GCC region we have the Municipality (Baladiya). In UAE it’s imperative to take approvals from all different Emirates if you are planning to run the campaign across UAE.

The process starts from having the right documents in place and then submitting the same to Department of Economic Development (DED), stating details of the mechanics, the prizes, value of the same etc. And ultimately to close the promotion – 60 days from last day of the activation, submission of acknowledgement receipts and Valid ID copy of winners

Following are the documents one needs for DED approvals, and all documents need to be in Arabic;

  1. Application form or undertaking form, needs to be on company letter-head
  2. Request Letter on Brand/ Company letter-head
  3. Period of campaign
  4. Mechanics
  5. Location and date of draw (in case of raffle draw)
  6. Number of prizes/ winners and allocation by Emirates in cases campaign is in multiple Emirates
  7. Value of Prizes along with a proof of value (could be a quotation from the supplier)
  8. Copy of the coupon, marketing collaterals with details of terms & conditions along with ‘Consumer rights logo of all the Emirates included in the campaign (Should be in Arabic)
  9. NOC from the locations where the activity is happening- could be from the head office of each chain of retail outlets, in case of activity being in a mall – NOC from the Mall management. NOC to be on venue letter head, stamped and signed.
  10. Valid trade license copy – Abu Dhabi issued TL for Abu Dhabi/Al Ain and Western region and Dubai TL can be used for all other Emirates

If the promotion involves food/ sampling, then necessary approval needs to be taken from the Food Control Department too and following is the procedure;

  1. Application form
  2. Request Letter from Client in company letter head including:
  3. Mechanics (duration and locations)
  4. HACCAP certificate for the product (if the product is produced locally)/ Normal Release Document (NRD) if the product is from outside
  5. Samples to be submitted at Food Control Department – quantity differs from Emirate to Emirate. The production and expiry date of the samples should be of the same consignment as of the NRD
  6. Valid trade license copy – Abu Dhabi issued TL for Abu Dhabi/Al Ain and Western region and Dubai TL can be used for all other Emirates

The above list is not exhaustive, so always keep ample buffer time to take necessary approvals.

In different emirates the cost of approval differs depending on the period of the campaign. Like in Dubai we currently have a DFRE calendar (Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment) which covers the key promotion period from DSF, DSS, Ramdan, Eid in Dubai to all major festivals/ sale periods. Similarly in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and other emirates they have their calendar. These are easily available in the respective DED offices.

To understand the regulations better, do also get hold of a copy of the Marketing Promotion Regulations from each Emirate/ Municipality to understand what’s allowed and what’s not.

It might seem tedious and complicated, but if the process is followed and if all documents are prepared well in advance the process is smooth.


Author: Ganesh Iyer