Leaflet distribution is forbidden in some cities of Brazil, such as São Paulo, which has a very specific law even though it is not that efficient. This article gives an overview of the leaflets legislation enforced in São Paulo city.
Leaflet distribution in Brazil is monitored by each state of the federation in their respective jurisdiction area, which means that there isn’t a national policy for this practice. Every regulation, authorization or monitoring referring to leaflets distribution is established by state or municipal law. This article will cover the leaflets distribution laws in the city of São Paulo.
The City of São Paulo
It is common to see in Paulista Avenue, people working in the distribution of leaflets for advertising many segments of the retail trade. The strategy can give visibility to traders, but what they do not know, or ignore, is that the practice is not permitted by São Paulo City Hall.
The distribution of leaflets or any printed material advertising messages on public roads, either with manual delivery or offered in showcases, is prohibited by the Cidade Limpa Law, by the Municipal Programme of Public-Private Partnerships Law and by a Intersecretarial Ordinance. The ordinance strengthens the penalties provided by Cidade Limpa Law and gives the Subprefectures the responsibility to monitor the leaflets distribution.
Lei Cidade Limpa
Lei Cidade Limpa was a law approved by in São Paulo city in 2007 that aimed to diminishes the visual pollution in São Paulo and to clean the city of the leaflets distribution for example. The law allows for a public official who catches the distribution of leaflets, magazines or brochures, beside the product and apply a fine of 5,000.00 BRL to the company responsible for the advertising.
Real Estate Constructions
In the case of advertisements related to real estate, the Department of Housing is responsible for monitoring leaflets distribution. In this case, in addition to the fine, the city hall authorization (alvará) for the construction will be suspended for 15 days.
If the company fits the standards of the Cidade Limpa Law during this period, the authorization will be given back. If not, a new fine will be applied and the construction will be embargoed for 30 days. If construction has not yet started, the company will lose the functioning authorization of sales stands of the construction.
The Law Doesn’t Work
Even though with Cidade Limpa Law existence, many companies and commercial establishments still distribute leaflets throughout São Paulo city. Worse than that, many companies stills offer services related to leaflets distribution. Many of them can be found online, in their web pages.
In a quick search on the internet it’s possible to find hundreds of companies that sell the service of distributing leaflets on the streets of São Paulo. They promise to increase brand visibility through the "regionalized distribution" of advertising printed in homes, businesses and buildings, including "door to door" services, as well as mapping and providing maps demarcating areas to be affected.
Why the Law is Ignored?
According to ABEMD, the Brazilian Association of Direct Marketing, the income generated in the country with direct marketing companies is 21.7 billion BRL per year, with 28% of this amount derived from the distribution of leaflets. The total profit corresponding to 0.69 % of the national GDP.
According to SEBRAE, the main business segments that use direct marketing tools are financial institutions (24%) , telecommunications companies and utilities (15%), publishers (11%), general trade (9%), the auto industry and auto parts (8.5%) and religious and fundraising institutions (3.5%).
But how many people actually correspond to the leaflets? It may seem inefficient, but the direct marketing industry is growing around 10% per year in Brazil, despite it being illegal in São Paulo capital and seemingly antiquated in terms of advertising effectiveness. On average, for every thousand pamphlets distributed, only two or three actually give feedback. For the small businesses, this type of advertising is the best option due to it cheapest cost.