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Wednesday, June 01, 2011, 09:20 pm PT (12:20 am ET)

Apple clamping down on free iPad, iPhone promotions

Apple has been more strictly enforcing its guidelines for promotions, which forbid the use of the iPad, iPhone or an iPhone gift card, according to a new report.

Fortune reports that Apple has only recently "begun reaching out to companies to enforce" its Guidelines for Third Party Promotions. The current version of the two-page document dates back to at least April 2010, but contest organizers haven't always followed it.

For instance, the guidelines specifically state that "iPad, iPhone and the iPhone Gift Card may not be used in third-party promotions." However, iPads and iPhones are currently featured in a number of giveaways. As demand for the iPad and iPhone has surged in recent years, a growing number of companies and institutions have sought to capitalize on Apple's valuable brand cachet by running promotions promising free devices.

Apple does allow promotional use of the iPod touch "in special circumstances," but only with a minimum purchase of 250 units. The guidelines also forbid the use of the Myriad Set font "on or in connection with web sites, products, packaging, manuals, or promotional/advertising materials."

In an effort to prevent the Apple brand from being diluted, the company prohibits "The use of "free" as a modifier in any Apple product reference in a prominent manner (headlines, call- outs, etc.) is prohibited." Apple also requires that "all marketing materials related to the promotion of Apple products" be submitted for review.

The guidelines also strictly govern how Apple products are depicted in promotional materials. The iPad maker requires that "only the most current Apple products" be featured and product photos cannot be altered, partially displayed, or cluttered with "props, models or marketing messages."

While such a document is standard practice for corporations, the news that Apple has begun to more strictly enforce these guidelines appears to indicate the company is tightening up control of its brand.