Royal Mail has created the below useful guide which allows those who utilise direct mail for their correspondence and marketing. This guide allows businesses to more easily understand what activities qualify as AdMail or as Business Mail. Each case of mail distribution should be considered individually, determining its own merits to understand if it could be considered as AdMail. The below guide is not exhaustive, however, this can provide a useful basis for ensuring compliance with GDPR.


1A credit card company, store or retailer sending an offer of a new credit cardYesPromoting the sale or use of products or services
2A charity / society sending a reminder mailing to renew the subscriptionYesEncourage donation to
a cause
3A mail-order company sending its new or seasonal catalogue to an existing or prospective customer base.YesPromoting the sale or
use of products or
4Customer satisfaction questionnaire which specifically captures information relating to a customer’s experience of the product, service or cause with the aim of using such information to be more targeted when sending further information on such products or services.YesPromoting the use of a product / service
5A travel company/tourist board sending its new or seasonal brochure unsolicited to an existing customer base or prospective customer base.YesPromoting the sale or
use of products or
6An unsolicited mailing of a discount code or discount vouchers, tickets or invitations with a uniform message to customers / prospects to encourage purchase or repurchase.Yespromoting the sale or
use of products or
services. No obligation
to send.
7An organisation sends a letter to its customers/prospects to notify dates of future events promoting its products or services or causeYesPromoting product/services/cause
8A company sends a sample of its products/services with or without a voucher, (unsolicited)YesPromoting the sale of products
9Loyalty scheme providing the opportunity to take advantage of offers or redeem coupons, either in store or online. (this mailing may include details of an individual’s number of loyalty points available for conversion)YesPromoting the sale or use of products or services
10A customer publication i.e. a magazine or newsletter forming part of a company’s / charity’s customer communication programme to encourage purchase or support of a cause that is not paid for by the recipient or via subscription.YesPromoting a cause or the sale or use of products or services. There is no obligation on the company or charity to send the publication.
11Insurance company sending letter to existing or prospective customers with quotes for products and services.YesPromoting the sale of products/services
12A bulk mailing to request consumer consent to mail to them in future.YesPromoting the future sale of their products and services; positive responders will receive more DM from them.

Business Mail

1A company/bank sending a statement which includes a leaflet advertising insuranceNoPrimary purpose is the statement (the ad/promotion is secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
2Utility bill with advertising on back for other servicesNoPrimary purpose is the bill (the ad/promotion is secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
3A company sending personalised documents containing a level of detail that is unique to the individual, with or without advertising material e.g. issuance of an insurance policyNoMessage is not
uniform as it is unique
to the individual
(promotional material
is secondary)
4Mailing customers with a uniform message informing them of a price increaseNoPurpose is the information on prices (this is not an ad/promotion)
5A company sending a shareholder annual reportNoPurpose is providing information not promotion
6Membership or subscription magazines / publications, with or without advertisingNoThe recipient has requested it or is expecting it(the promotional material is secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
7A company/charity informing their customers/members of a change to their bank details or their VAT rateNoPurpose is providing information not promotion
8Fulfilment of requested tickets / invitations (e.g. purchased by the customer for an event/holiday etc)NoPurpose is fulfilment / transaction, not promotion
9A school/college/society newsletter or bulletin (publications), including alumniNoPurpose is providing information not promotion
10A wine mail order company sending wine ordered by a customer containing leaflets advertising other services from different companiesNoPurpose is fulfilment (ad/promotion secondary and would not happen without the fulfilment)
11Mailings of a ‘public duty’ nature with or without advertising. Examples include swine flu, tax or car tax reminder, VAT change reminders, Council refuse collection days, etc.NoPurpose is the execution of a public service duty not promotion
12Marketing Lifestyle / Consumer Survey / Product / Service questionnaire which is specifically seeking to gather information on a range of products/services/habits for trend analysis/data collection purposes and is not looking to further promote products/services. E.g. electoral/census.NoPurpose is to seek information / data for data collection not promotion
13An AGM mailing informing shareholders of the AGM
NoIt is a legal requirement under the Companies act for shareholders to be notified of the AGM.
14A company sending out a loyalty/membership card to a subscribed customerNoThe loyalty/membership card has been sent as fulfilment to conclude the service that the subscriber has already responded to and purchased
15Local utility company explaining forthcoming changes to utility ownership. e.g. water company detailing changes to ownership and responsibility of sewage/water pipesNoPurpose is to provide clarity of boundary ownership and responsibility.
16Political party mailings which have the aim of influencing the recipient’s political view point or the way in which they may vote in an election.NoThere is no elasticity for this type of political mailing and the purpose is to influence a political view point
17Prize draw letters informing customers that they have won a prizeNoPurpose is information. It is not selling a product or service nor does the message promote a cause


To read our full GDPR section, click here.