Minimum Advertised Price Program (MAP or MAPP)

Refers to a manufacturer or distributor/supplier’s policy that those it supplies in the sales channel may not advertise prices below some specified amount, i.e., the minimum advertised price, (although they can discount to customers when actually negotiating and completing a sale.) MAPPs are legally risky from an antitrust/competition point of view – for example the major record labels in the United States were required by the Federal Trade Commission to terminate such a program. The problem is that a MAPP may be considered Retail Price Maintenance which is prohibited under most jurisdictions’ antitrust and competition laws; clear RPM would involve an absolute prohibition on sales prices being below a minimum rather than just advertising.

The usual way in which a MAPP is run is to subsidize channel advertising, conditional on the advertising not stating prices below the MAPP level. MAPPs should be seen, at present as legally grey, not clearly legal or illegal; legality varies on a country-by-country, jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis.

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