Apple strictly limiting giveaways of its products

Apple, as it turns out, is so protective of the perceived value of its brand that it prohibits the use of the word “free” anywhere near its product names in promotional advertisements.

Oh, and you can’t give away iPads either.

According to the company’s guidelines for third party promotions (originally linked from Fortune’s Apple 2.0 blog):

The use of “free” as a modifier in any Apple product reference in a prominent manner (headlines, call- outs, etc.) is prohibited. Additionally, “free” as an modifier of Apple products in a less prominent context is strongly discouraged unless it is clear to the end consumer that the third party, not Apple, is gifting the product in return for some transaction. (Ex. “Sign up for a checking account and we’ll give you an iPod shuffle.” or “Win an iPod nano when you refer a 10 friends to [INSERT COMPANY NAME]”).

Further, the company says the names of its products may not be used in promotions without Apple’s prior approval and that all promotions must pass Apple’s review process.

Additionally, you may not use the typeface Myriad Set in connections with any promotions — apparently regardless of whether you own the font legally already.

And, this is the big one (emphasis added):

iPod touch is only allowed to be used in special circumstances and requires a minimum purchase of 250 units. iPad, iPhone and the iPhone Gift Card may not be used in third-party promotions. Please contact a sales representative for more information.

Phillip Elmer-DeWitt at the Apple 2.0 blog says the guidelines have been around since at least January but that Apple has only recently begun reaching out to companies to enforce them. A Cult of Mac post earlier this year counted more than three dozen iPad giveaways going on at the time, and so far as Elmer-DeWitt could determine, none of those companies had been told to cease and desist.

I can understand the guidelines about photos, product name usage and even review of advertising materials, but restricting which adjectives you can use and which fonts you can use? Really?

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