SRO News

ARPP (France)

Update of the ARPP Code “Cosmetics”: 8th version

One of the oldest rules of ethics of the ARPP, the first version of which was published in 1974, has just been updated. The text has been statutorily adopted by the Board of Directors of the ARPP of 17 October 2018. Its effective application is scheduled for 1 July 2019, leaving a large space for information and pedagogy until this date.
The aim of this new version, which was desired by industry professionals, was to ensure that the common criteria published by Commission Regulation (EU) No 655/2013 of 10 July 2013 establishing common criteria were taken into account.
The main additions relate to:

  • Section 1.2 Evidence. It is stated that 'Where the cosmetic properties of one or more ingredients in the product are put forward in the advertising, their effectiveness in the finished product must also be demonstrated."
  • The paragraph 1.3 Presentation of the performances of a product: a work on the highlighting of the nature of the tests was carried out; it is a question of distinguishing the objective tests from the satisfaction tests in order to clarify the communications.
  • The paragraph 1.4 Presentation of the results: only the average result found on the tested population can be put forward.
  • Paragraph 2.2 "Without" claims: the claim "without the absence of one or more ingredients" is possible if it is not the main argument of the communication but provides the consumer with additional information and meets the common criteria: compliance with legislation, truthfulness, evidence, sincerity, fairness, informed choice and good practice.
  • Paragraph 2.4 "Hypoallergenic" claim: A definition of the criteria to be used to claim this property has been added.
  • A new paragraph 2.9 "Sensitive skin" claim: it gives a definition of the criteria to be used to position a cosmetic product as intended for sensitive skin.
  • Section 3.1 Natural cosmetic product: updated with the latest standards.

The “notes and overlays” code has its MOTION design now!
ARPP has unveiled the arrival of its new graphic animation (Motion design) relating to the provisions of the Cross-cutting Recommendation to all sectors " notes and overlays » in advertising.
With this 10th graphic animation, in the form of Motion Design, the Code is explained and illustrated in order to simplify the practical application of these ethical rules.
This video completes the series of short educational animations of the different rules of the ARPP Code of Advertising Recommendations (version 2017).


New five year strategy 2019-2023
On the 1st November, we launched our new five year strategy, More Impact Online, at a conference in Manchester. The strategy has a clear focus and commitment to strengthening further the regulation of online ads.

The online focus of the new strategy responds to the fact that businesses are increasingly advertising online, people are spending more time online, and the pace of change online is contributing to people’s concerns. 

Highlights include:

  • We will prioritise the protection of vulnerable people and appropriately limiting children and young people’s exposure to age-restricted ads in sectors like food, gambling and alcohol;
  • We will listen in new ways, including research, data-driven intelligence gathering and machine learning – our own or that of others - to find out which other advertising-related issues are the most important to tackle;
  • We will develop our thought-leadership in online ad regulation, including on advertising content and targeting issues relating to areas like voice, facial recognition, machine-generated personalised content and biometrics;
  • We will explore lighter-touch ways for people to flag concerns;
  • We will explore whether our decision-making processes and governance always allow us to act nimbly, in line with people’s expectations of regulating an increasingly online advertising world; and
  • We will explore new technological solutions, including machine learning, to improve our regulation.

Online trends are reflected in the balance of our workload - 88% of the 7,099 ads amended or withdrawn in 2017 following our action were online ads, either in whole or in part. Meanwhile, two-thirds of the 19,000 cases we resolved last year were about online ads. 

We will continue to ensure standards in advertising across offline media, including TV, radio, press, outdoor, leaflets/brochures, cinema and others.
HFSS non-broadcast rulings
In November the ASA published three important rulings relating to the targeting of outdoor ads for food and drink products which are high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) – Burger KingMcDonalds and Subway. This is an area in which advertising continues to attract attention from politicians, campaign groups and the wider public, who have concerns about the role advertising might be playing in the problem of childhood obesity. Our rulings in this area attract significant amounts of press coverage, and that seems likely to continue.
These new rulings made clear that advertisers and media owners must ensure that ads for HFSS products are not placed within 100m of primary or secondary schools, because the audience for such ads is likely to be significantly skewed towards under-16s. However, we decided that ads placed within 100m of other sites such as nurseries or children’s centres did not break the rules, because, in general, fewer numbers of children will be attending such facilities. Following these rulings, our Compliance team will be working with the outdoor ad industry to ensure that they are consistently adhering to this approach.
These rulings build upon others from earlier in the year where the ASA investigated a number of different online ads for HFSS products, and whether they were appropriately targeted. One was an ad for Kinder chocolate which drew a clear distinction between online corporate websites featuring HFSS ads (which don’t break the rules because they clearly target an adult audience) and online media which is specifically designed to be interacted with by children rather than by adults. Those ads included a website featuring online activities designed to be used by children, and an app featuring stories, colouring in, educational games, quizzes, etc., and we concluded it broke our rules by advertising HFSS products there because they were being directed at children through the use of that media.
On-screen text
We have published research that has found that viewers can struggle to read and understand text in TV ads that contains important qualifying terms and conditions to an offer, known as on-screen or superimposed text – including what is sometimes referred to as small print. That can lead to confusion or disappointment when a deal isn’t what people understood it to be and risks misleading consumers. In response, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) has announced changes to the standards expected of on-screen text on our TV screens.

We carried out a review of on-screen text in TV ads to find out how they work for viewers. We put out a public call for evidence, analysed the submissions and other relevant literature, and commissioned qualitative research with TV viewers across the UK, carried out by Define. We interviewed 138 people in their own homes and the research found that a majority found it difficult to read on-screen text and that this was more prevalent amongst older viewers.

Participants reported that it was difficult to read on-screen text against a moving background, where white text was presented on a white background, and when text was too small, squashed, not on the screen long enough or where there was too much information to read and take it all in. Also, the use of acronyms, lots of numerical information or too much going on in the ad, for example loud music and people shouting, made some ads hard to comprehend.

In order to address the concerns identified in the research, BCAP has published new standards on the presentation of on-screen text that TV advertisers will be expected to abide by, including:

  • Sufficiently emphasising particularly significant qualifying information;
  • Adopting a stricter approach to ensuring an adequate contrast between the on-screen text and background;
  • Taking greater care over the choice of typeface to avoid the use of stretched or elongated text; and
  • Allowing viewers sufficient time to read on-screen text

The new standards will come into effect on 1 March 2019.
You can download the ASA's ResearchBCAP's Regulatory Statement including, Annex A  Annex B  Define's Research for the ASA on Superimposed text.
 E-cigarettes and health claims in ads

The Committees of Advertising Practice have lifted the blanket ban on health claims for e-cigarettes.  A health claim is any claim that a relationship exists between an e-cigarette, or one of its constituents, and health. 

This does not mean that advertisers are now free to advertise their e-cigarettes as healthy or that they are safer than tobacco as the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) still applies. This means the relaxation of the health claim ban only applies to mediums that are not caught by the TPD: outdoor advertising, posters on public transport, cinema, leaflets and direct mail. All consumer ads for unlicensed nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and e-liquids remain prohibited on TV, radio, press, paid for ads online, as well as promotional content on an advertiser’s own website or social media.

Also, in mediums where e-cigarette advertisers can advertise, they must hold robust substantiation for any health claims they make to ensure they do not mislead consumers and the evidence needs to demonstrate that the specific product advertised possesses the advertised health benefit.

The prohibition on medicinal claims (i.e. claims that a product can treat or prevent disease, injury, ailments or adverse conditions) for unlicensed e-cigarettes remains in place including smoking cessation and reduction claims.

Claims that e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking tobacco are likely to be acceptable, provided that the advertisers hold robust evidence that relates to their own product, they haven’t implied that it can help cut down or quit tobacco use and, it’s in a medium not prohibited by the TPD.

You can read the full Regulatory Statement on the amended rules here.


The Jury of AUTOCONTROL, the Spanish Self-Regulation Organization, has obtained official recognition as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

On 19 November, the Jury of AUTOCONTROL, the Spanish Self-Regulation Organization, obtained public recognition as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body. This recognition has been obtained as the compliance is qualified with the principles of independence, impartiality, transparency, efficiency, speed and fairness, established in Law 7/2017, of 2 November, related to the alternative resolution of consumer disputes.  

As you know, the Jury of AUTOCONTROL is an alternative dispute resolution body that solves complaints related to advertising. Since 1996 it has resolved over 4,000 claims, in an average time of 14 days in first instance and 28 days in the second instance. 

With this recognition, the Jury of AUTOCONTROL becomes the first private entity accredited in Spain by the Directorate-General for  Consumer Affairs, of the Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Affairs, and it becomes part of the unified list of ADR entities of the European Commission, and the online dispute resolution platform established by the European Union. 

To conform to the 7/2007 Law, from 1 January 2019 a new Regulation of the Advertising Jury will come into force. This new Regulation includes the establishment of a new Seventh Section that, from now on, will be responsible for handling claims filed by individual consumers, in a procedure that will have the specific guarantees established by Law 7/2007. This way, consumers will continue to have a fast, free, efficient and accessible way to solve their complaints regarding advertising before the Jury. 

The newly obtained accreditation replaces, in accordance with the new regulations on the subject, the one that the Jury obtained in 2000 when, after its recognition by the National Department of Consumer Affairs, it became part of the EJE Network (Red Extra- judicial system) of the European Commission for complying with Recommendation 98/257 / EC. Later on, in 2013, and through a Directive, the European Commission decided to update the quality criteria that entities had to meet to be accredited. In Spain it has been Law 7/2017, of 2nd November, which has incorporated these criteria into our system, and has regulated the procedure for requesting the corresponding accreditation. Achieving this homologation, is confirmed the acknowledgment of the AUTOCONTROL Advertising Jury as a referral mechanism in Spain with regard to extrajudicial resolution of advertising claims, becoming, also -according to our info- the first national self-regulatory advertising agency to obtain such recognition in Europe. 

Clearcast (UK)

UK storm over political advertising

Throughout November Clearcast hit the headlines over our decision not to approve an ad for UK supermarket chain Iceland. They submitted an animation originally used by Greenpeace which highlighted the plight of Orangutans because of deforestation caused by palm oil production. Their ad highlighted a pledge to remove palm oil from their own brand products.
Clearcast clears TV ads against The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (The BCAP Code). This Code contains rules on political advertising which reflect UK law and are embedded in broadcasters’ licences. In this case the rule was:
“An advertisement contravenes the prohibition on political advertising if it is:
An advertisement which is inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature.”

Because the ad is based on material promoted on the Greenpeace website for some time, Greenpeace needed to demonstrate to us they were not a political advertiser as defined by the Code before we could approve the ad. 
Iceland announced we’d “banned” their ad on the grounds that it was “too political” and the media storm that ensued was largely based on this inaccuracy and stating we were concerned about the message in the ad; we were not, the source of the ad was its concern.
Clearcast received a large number of emails, calls and tweets objecting to its decision, based on the misunderstanding. The real reason was missed by many.
Through the publicity generated, the advertisers have managed to get their ad seen more widely online than it might otherwise have been, although it was not cleared for UK TV.

IAP (Italy)

Influencers join IAP

The Istituto dell'Autodisciplina Pubblicitaria (IAP) is pleased to announce that it has extended its membership to individual influencers and their agencies. Recently two players have been accepted (TBC S.r.l. – Chiara Ferragni – and Open Influence), to be effective from January 2019, and other two agencies submitted their membership requests (currently under approval).

For further information on this news, please read IAP's press release here (in Italian).

JEP (Belgium)

Influencer Guidelines & Master Class 
In October, the Belgian Advertising Council published its Guidelines with regard to influencer marketing, focusing on the issue of identification. See here and here (in French).
The Guidelines were introduced to the industry at the occasion of a special ACC Belgium Master Class early November which was very well attended (over 170 participants) and gave rise to a lively and constructive discussion.

Ro. (Sweden)

Ro. held a seminar on marketing of gambling services in Sweden

At the end of November, Reklamombudsmannen (Ro.) held a seminar aimed at the industry, NGO:s, lawyers and government authorities about the new Swedish gaming law that is applicable from 1 January 2019. The law means that foreign gaming companies will be able to get a license to operate on the Swedish market. This has previously not been allowed and the game monopoly is thus abolished.

Ro. invited the three regulatory authorities and the two industry organizations that covers gaming advertising for a breakfast seminar with explanations, discussions and questions on marketing of gambling services. The seminar was fully booked and generated a broad interest in the media, also covering the rising issue of gambling addiction.

ROK (Turkey)

Legislative Issues

The draft of the secondary regulation for the Consumer Protection Law, which is named as the Commercial Communication and the Unfair Commercial Practices Regulation ("Advertising Regulation") is shared by the Ministry of Trade and opened to discussion. The new legislative proposal especially introduces new restrictions on marketing to children. The major draft changes in the Directive are as below:

  • A new article titled “Advertisements Regarding the Food and Beverages which are not recommended for excessive consumption” (we call it shortly HFSS) is added. The most important part in this new article proposal is; when the HFSS foods and beverages ads broadcasted with or in the programmes other than “children programmes” the warning message that will be held on the screen will be determined by the Ministry of Health. 
  • The other part in this new article proposal is; any “commercial technique” targeted for children in order to increase the sale of HFSS foods&beverages are prohibited. 

The working group established under the Association of Advertisers (RVD) where ROK is the a part of it. The working group discussed that; as the term “commercial techniques” in this point is used in the broadest meaning covering all “commercial practices”, this term should not be used unless its scope is clarified.  The term “commercial technique” covers not only advertising, but also a wide variety of practices from price reduction to licenced character usage on the packaging. Moreover price reductions/promotions are offered for the benefit of consumers. The working group recommended to annul the above article proposals for HFFS Foods & Beverages. 
Influencer Marketing

ROK took part in the working group that is settled by IAB Turkey. The working group is in the process of preparing a guideline concerning “Influencer Marketing”. The preparations are at the very early stage. The representatives of the working group are gathering related information, guidelines and case studies from abroad and especially studying on the definition of “influencer” at the moment. 

Gender Equality Platform in Advertising 

The Advertisers Association (RVD) composed a working group for the gender equality in advertising with support from WFA and the attendance of Advertisers Association members and partner institutions such as the Advertising Agencies Association (RD), Communication Consultancies Association (İDA), IAB Turkey and the Professional Women’s Network (PWN).

The working group is working on how to execute the road map, arrangement of communication with stakeholders, to gather surveys/researches and international examples. The survey/research studies started by the academic stakeholders of the working group and the results presented at the biggest national advertising award ceremony in the end of October.

The results of the survey showed that; as the roles of men and women changed in the society, this change had not been reflected in the ads. The survey also showed that; as the women presented in a specific stereotype (eg. married, taking care of and managing the house  duties, housewife etc) in the ads, the men are presented mostly in social areas.

In December, a “search conference” will be held with the attendance of the advertising industry especially the advertising agencies and advertisers. In the search conference the survey results will be shared with a wider audience and the problems in each industry stakeholders will be gathered and the road map will be executed.

It is planned by the working group to adopt the guideline prepared by the WFA's “A Guide to Progressive Gender Portrayals- the Case for Unstereotyping Ads” regarding the Turkish society attitudes. The Turkish version of the guideline is planned to be finalised in January 2019. 

Industry News

European Association of Communication Agencies

EACA publishes latest European Business Climate Index 

Business confidence in the European advertising and marketing sector decreased in the third quarter of the year, according to the latest European Advertising Business Climate Index, issued by the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA).

The report shows that business confidence in the ad industry in Q3/2018 remains positive but has decreased from +14 to +3 over the past two years.

The most recent decline in confidence can partly be explained by the drop in the confidence index of the UK from +24.8 (Q2/2018) to -11.1 (Q3/2018). The UK has the largest share of the advertising market in Europe and therefore the highest coefficient to influence the overall index. The 35.9-point decline in the UK between the last quarters is also the largest drop in all the countries measured.

Another driver of the decline could be a further drop of confidence in Greece. It has decreased from -27.7 measured in the previous quarter to -39.7 in Q3/2018. This figure is the lowest level recorded in any country over the last three years.

Regarding expectations for advertising demand and employment, the report shows declines in all the geographic areas measured apart from the Mediterranean region, where a slight rise is expected - from -1.1 (Q2/2018) to 2.1 (Q3/2018) for demand and from -5.4 (Q2/2018) to -3.8 (Q3/2018) for employment. The report finds that the biggest factor (52%) limiting demand for the advertising sector currently is demand.

World Federation of Advertisers

TV and online video costs to rise considerably, WFA forecasts show

Media prices are likely to continue to inflate globally in 2019 for both offline and online media despite regional and local nuances, shows WFA Outlook 2019 – WFA’s annual examination of media cost forecasts.  The data is based on forecasts from 14 network agencies and auditors.

TV is set to continue on an inflationary trend of around +6% globally. Online video is also expected to inflate considerably, by +6.4%, driven primarily by APAC economies and more specifically by China, where a +13% inflation is expected.

As a likely symptom of demand, price inflation of offline media is projected to be much more modest in 2019, with the global weighted average at around +2%.

Outlook 2019 covers 50 marketers across seven media channels: TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Outdoor, Online Display, Online Video. The results are based on the examination of industry forecasts and

Like in previous years, all network agencies and media auditors were invited to submit cost forecasts for 2019 and actuals for 2018. Fourteen companies participated in total – five media agency holding companies and nine consultants.

In addition to 2019 forecasts, the Outlook highlights the inflation and deflation figures for 2018.

Global Marketer of the Year 2018

Vote now! Last day to vote is Friday 4th January 2019. 

WFA Global Marketer of the Year 2018 recognises the positive impact that senior global and regional marketers can have on the business, consumers and society at large.

Cast your vote here!

WFA's Global Marketer Week 2019 in Lisbon

Join us in Lisbon for the annual event for global marketers from 26-29 March 2019

For the first time since 2013, Global Marketer Week returns to Europe for yet another unmissable week of inspiration, discovery and learning. Speaking at the week’s flagship event, the Global Marketer Conference, are some of the industry’s leading lights, including Mastercard’s Raja Rajamannar, Airbnb’s Geoff Seeley, Diageo’s Syl Saller and Unilever’s Keith Weed, with more speakers to be announced soon.

WFA members can derive additional value from the concurrent events taking place on 27 March for media, marketing procurement, integrated marketing communications and policy specialists. A Project Reconnect (now Better Marketing) session will take place on the same day.

This year’s conference promises to be the most senior client-led event of its kind in the world – and together with all the week’s events, a must-attend for all global marketing leaders.  So join some of the industry’s leading lights and network with the world’s top marketers in Lisbon! For the full agenda see here.