News from EASA’s Members – January 2019

30 January 2019

News from European self-regulation

ARPP (France)

ARPP December 2018 Newsletter

For the full report (in French), read here. Highlights include:

  • Activity for ARPP saw record year-on-year growth of 12.4%, reflecting the renewed confidence of the professional world in the self-regulation of advertising.
  • 2018 marked 50 years of TV advertising support through advertising self-regulation.
  • The introduction of two Marie-Dominique Hagelsteen Awards for Responsible Advertising, sponsored by the ARPP Endowment Fund, rewarding professionals on the one hand and publications and research on the other.
  • ARPP produced 4 new animations to understand the recommendations on advertising related to “Children”, “Automobile and motorized two-wheelers”, “Mentions and references”, and “Gambling”.
  • Accompanied by agency Josiane, ARPP collaborated with Youtuber Hugo Decrypte to explain the good practices of transparency and loyalty to the public in the context of the communication of influencers for the account brands.


Parliamentary breakfast seminar

At the beginning of December ASA held a breakfast seminar at the UK Parliament to raise awareness of ASA’s remit for online advertising, chaired by Communications Committee Chair Lord Gilbert.   The event was attended by MPs and members of the House of Lords as well as political advisers.  ASA gave presentations on how the SRO regulates online, with a particular focus on protecting children from seeing age-restricted ads, and there were questions from the guests as well as a networking opportunity.

Faux fur

In January, the Committees of Advertising Practice Compliance function issued an Enforcement Notice on Misleading ‘Faux Fur’ Claims in Clothes and Accessories which is applicable to all relevant advertisers in the UK across all media, including online and social media.

The action was informed by Advertising Standards Authority rulings, which banned ads for advertising products that contain real fur as ‘faux fur’ (fake fur).  The ban applies across the market.

The Enforcement Notice requires companies to take immediate action to ensure their advertising complies.  If the CAP Compliance function continues to see problems in this area after 11 February 2019, it will sanction the companies involved.  Where advertisers are unwilling to comply, these sanctions may ultimately include referral to the ASA system’s legal backstop.

Companies fulfilling customer orders on retail sites are advised to take a stricter approach to checking the supply chain and the accuracy of claims relating to ‘faux fur’ before putting the products on sale.  The Enforcement Notice provides guidance on how to tell the difference between animal fur and faux fur and how to prevent misleading claims.

Further information is available here.

New ad rule announced banning harmful gender stereotypes

In December, the Committees of Advertising Practice announced that ads will no longer be able to depict harmful gender stereotypes from 14 June 2019.

The new rule in the Advertising Codes, which will apply to broadcast and non-broadcast media (including online and social media), states:

[Advertisements] must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.

This change follows a review of gender stereotyping in ads by the Advertising Standards Authority. The review found evidence suggesting that harmful stereotypes can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults and these stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which plays a part in unequal gender outcomes.

Following the review, CAP consulted publicly on specific proposals to ban harmful gender stereotypes in ads, underpinned by the evidence collected by the ASA. The proposed restrictions were supported by a majority of respondents.

The evidence does not show that the use of gender stereotypes is always problematic and the new rule does not seek to ban gender stereotypes outright, but to identify specific harms that should be prevented.

CAP has published guidance to help advertisers stick to the new rule by providing examples of scenarios likely to be problematic in ads.

Further information is available here.

Gambling event in UK Parliament

The ASA and CAP attended the Gamble Aware Parliamentary Fayre on what turned out to be a busy day in Parliament relating to Brexit.  However, numerous MPs, members of the House of Lords and their staff found time to come and discuss gambling advertising, with the vast majority leaving satisfied that the robust measures that have been put in place help to ensure gambling ads remain responsible. There was a running theme, though, of concern about live-odd betting ads appearing on TV and whilst the guidance on responsibility and problem gambling alleviated some of those concerns, a few called for gambling ads in general to be banned completely.  ASA and CAP reiterated that it continues to work to ensure that the content of every gambling ad remains compliant, that it would be for Government to legislate as to whether or not gambling ads can appear on TV, and explained that more new guidance on the protection of children would be coming out shortly.

New eLearning module

The Committees of Advertising Practice launched a new eLearning module for advertisers: Health and Medicines Advertising.  The course provides training on advertising medicines, medical devices and products, complimentary therapies and food supplements.  The module also goes into detail on the evidence needed to substantiate a medicinal claim, as well as the legislation enforced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

The course is relevant to many different sectors and advertisers, from chiropractors to homeopaths, from nutritionists to pharmaceutical companies.  The module aims to put all relevant information in to one place, providing advertisers with a comprehensive overview of all areas of the market.  As an industry where misleading claims can have a serious impact, by providing this training CAP hopes to make the rules clear to all those involved with advertising health and medicines.

More information is available here.


First edition of the Advanced Course in Advertising Law of AUTOCONTROL

The first edition of the Advertising Law Advanced Course begins on February 1. The course will be held during five weekends between that date and March 2, 2019 with a total of 38 teaching hours. This is the first course of its kind in Spain and aims to provide a complete overview of the regulation and self-regulation of advertising in Spain.

It is designed for legal professionals in law firms, consultants, marketing and communication professionals, compliance officers and CSR managers, as well as final year students or recent graduates. Experts in the field will provide them with the necessary knowledge to systematically review the key legal aspects for the development of the advertising activity, and update on the latest legislative and jurisprudential developments, to help to minimize the risks and costs associated to this activity.

More than 120 professionals and representatives of Public Administration attended the AUTOCONTROL´S Seminar on “Advertising Regulation and Self-Regulation in the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive”

This Workshop, aimed to provide professionals in the sector with an understanding of the new EU regulatory framework and an approach to the possible implications derived from its future transposition in Spain. The Seminar was given by experts.

After the welcome by the General Director of Coca Cola, Juan Ignacio Elizalde, who highlighted the commitment of his company with responsible advertising and his satisfaction for hosting the workshop, María Luisa Martínez Gistau, Chairman of AUTOCONTROL opened the Seminar. She emphasized the important role played by the advertising self-regulation, in general, and AUTOCONTROL, in particular, to contribute to responsible audiovisual advertising in Spain. She showed some figures on the scope of voluntary prior control of advertising in this sector through the Copy Advice® service (more than 10,000 television advertising campaigns reviewed in 2018) and explained the role of the Advertising Jury, she highlighted also the importance of the training activies such as this one, to inform about the new rules to the industry and contribute to its fulfillment.

The Chairman of AUTOCONTROL introduced Cristina Morales, General Deputy Director of  Contents of the Information Society of the State Secretariat for the Digital Development (SEAD in Spanish), who during  her presentation reported the main novelties introduced by the modification of the Directive. Later on, Charo Fernando, Deputy Director General of AUTOCONTROL, explained during her speech, how the aspects related to co-regulation and self-regulation are covered in the Directive, highlighting the importance given to both as key tools for the Consumers protection.

Subsequently, a round table was held on the challenges and opportunities posed by the new Directive for Audiovisual Commercial Communications. Moderated by Alejandra de Iturriaga, Director for Telecommunications and Audiovisual Sector of the National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC in Spanish). The attendees were: Andrés Armas, General Director of the Union of Associated Commercial Televisions (UTECA in Spanish); Antonio Vargas, Google’s Spanish Public Policy Manager; Íñigo Bilbao, Legal Adviser of the Spanish Association of Advertisers (AEA in Spanish); and Alejandro Perales, Technical Advisor of the Association of Communication Users (AUC in Spanish).

At the closing of the Workshop, María Fernández, Vice President of the CNMC, pointed out the challenges arising from this regulation  and the potential implications of its future implementation in Spain. On the other hand, José Domingo Gómez Castallo, General Director of AUTOCONTROL, thanked the speakers and the assistants for their attendance, and emphasized that, as it had been pointed out by several speakers throughout the session, audiovisual co-regulation in Spain is a model in Europe thanks to the involvement and commitment of industry, administration and consumers.

The Spanish Government launches a Plan for the Protection of Health Against Pseudotherapies.

The Ministry of Health, Consumer and Social Welfare, and the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities launched, on November 14th, a Plan for the Protection of Health Against Pseudotherapies.

The objective of the plan is to define and develop actions to protect citizens against substances, products, activities or services with a so-called “therapeutic purpose” not endorsed by scientific knowledge or scientific evidence to support their effectiveness and security, providing them with truthful information so that consumers can differentiate the treatments whose therapeutic or curative efficacy has been proved with those that do not. The second line of the Plan is intended to avoid misleading advertising.

JEP (Belgium)

Code on Native Advertising

On 8 January 2019, JEP released a Code for native advertising and related commercial communications. The text of the Code is available in French and Dutch.

The Code further develops articles 9 and 10 of the ICC Marketing Code which require commercial communications to be easily identifiable and clearly distinguished from editorial content. It contains a list of examples and specific criteria to help determine whether commercial content can clearly be identified as such by the target audience.

The Belgian Code on native advertising was adopted by the Belgian Advertising Council on 12 December 2018 and will enter into force for application by JEP on 4 February 2019. A review of its implementation will be carried out after a year.

New President for JEP’s Appeals Jury

JEP welcomes Professor Sophie Stijns as the new President of its Appeals Jury. After starting her career as a lawyer and as an academic, Sophie Stijns is currently a full professor at the KU Leuven Faculty of Law. Since 2000 she holds the post of director of the Institute for the Law of Obligations. She teaches the courses Law of Obligations and Law of Obligations in business context. In the past she also taught Consumer Protection Law. Furthermore, Stijns is an experienced arbitrator in her research areas. Her wide expertise will undoubtedly further strengthen JEP’s activities.

RAC (Romania)

Legislative Threats

Romania’s Agency for Consumer Protection (ANCP) launched a public consultation on the possible introduction of fines of up to 5% on a company’s turnover for violations of consumer protection rules.

Proposed measures include:

  • A fine of 2% of a company’s turnover for marketing of products that endanger the life, health or safety of consumers, forged or counterfeited or non-compliant products, and products sold beyond their sell-by-date.
  • An obligation of companies to remedy defects in products or services or to replace warranted products within a maximum of 15 days under the statutory (compliance) warranty. Exceeding this period would be subject to a fine of up to 2% of turnover.
  • Fines of up to 4% of turnover if access to control of administrative bodies is prevented.
  • If the economic interests of consumers are severely affected, then the fine also reaches up to 4% of turnover and the controlling authority may also order the closure of that unit sanctioned in contravention.

These are draft government measures which will be adopted only after public consultation, possibly as early as next month. Full story (in Romanian) is available here.

ROK (Turkey)

Legislative Issues

The changes in the secondary regulation for the Consumer Protection Law, which is named as the Commercial Communication and the Unfair Commercial Practices Regulation (“Advertising Regulation”) was published at the end of 2018. The new legislative introduced restrictions on marketing to children. The major draft changes in the Directive are as follows:

  • The article which allows explicit comparisons and which was supposed to be in force on 1 January 2019 was cancelled. This article had been annexed into the regulation in January 2015 and date of its entry in force had been postponed three times.
  • A new article titled “Advertisements Regarding the Food and Beverages which are not recommended for excessive consumption” (HFSS for short) was added. The enforcement date for this article was announced for 30 June 2019. The most important part in this new article proposal is: when the HFSS foods and beverages ads are 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 at children in order to increase the sale of HFSS foods & beverages are prohibited.

The working group, which was established under the Association of Advertisers (RVD) and which ROK is a part of, recommended to annul the above article proposals for HFFS foods & beverages when the draft was opened for public opinion. 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. Because the issue is, 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. As these recommendations had not been taken into consideration, the new changes on the regulation presents unclear terms and must be clarified before the enforcement date of 30 June 2019.

Gender Equality Platform in Advertising 

The Advertisers Association (RVD) launched a working group to assess the adopting of the guidelines prepared by WFA, “A Guide to Progressive Gender Portrayals- the Case for Unstereotyping Ads”, regarding Turkish societal attitudes. On 16 January, a conference titled “Roles Are Changing In Advertising” had been organised by the working group in which Stephan Loerke from WFA was invited as a speaker. At the conference, the gender stereotyping and gender equality project examples were presented by Stephan Loerke and a panel discussion on best practices in Turkey was held.

Wettbewerbszentrale (Germany)

Wettbewerbszentrale publishes latest cases of breaches against the EU Payment Services Directive

One year on since the launch of its special online complaints form, Wettbewerbszentrale published the latest details of cases concerning breaches against the EU Payment Services Directive. 

For further details (in German) read the press release available here

4th Annual Conference on Automotive Law, Cologne, 19 February

Wettbewerbszentrale will hold its 4th Annual Conference on Automative Law in Cologne, on 19th February 2019. 

Full details (in German) can be found here

News from our European ad industry members


EACA Publishes 2018 Annual Report

Featuring lots of exciting insights, news and developments, you can read the report here:


Call for submissions: WFA President’s Awards 2019

Global Marketer Week will provide the backdrop to the WFA President’s Awards 2019. The awards look to recognise association-led industry initiatives which have helped advance the marketer’s agenda.

National advertiser associations in WFA membership are invited to nominate programmes and initiatives they have led/are leading that have made a real difference in the last 12 months. These must be ‘industry’, rather than company-specific, and can cover areas related to best practice in marketing communications, audience measurement, media transparency, self-regulation, gender equality and diversity, ethics in advertising, sustainability and so on.

Submissions will be evaluated by the WFA Executive Committee and the winners will be selected by WFA President and RBS CMO David Wheldon and honoured during the WFA Gala Dinner on March 28th in Lisbon. National advertiser associations wishing to submit entries should do so by 8 February 2019 by filling in the submission form here.

Previous editions were held in Istanbul, Brussels, Marrakech, Toronto and Tokyo. Former winners in 2010, 201320152017 and 2018 include:

  • Argentina (CAA)
  • Australia (AANA)
  • Belgium (UBA)
  • Chile (ANDA)
  • China (CANA)
  • Finland (Mainostajien Liitto)
  • France (UDA)
  • India (ISA)
  • Ireland (AAI)
  • Italy (UPA)
  • Japan (JAA)
  • Morocco (GAM)
  • Norway (ANFO)
  • Pakistan (PAS)
  • Peru (ANDA)
  • Sweden (Swedish Advertisers)
  • UK (ISBA)
  • US (ANA)

WFA’s Global Marketer Week 2019 in Lisbon

Join WFA 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.

Partner News 


Have you checked out Wikiregs?

Wikiregs is an online service for advertising agencies that need to check ad campaigns comply with various advertising regulations across Europe.

This new website puts all the regulations, statutory and self-regulatory, that affect marketing communications in nine European countries for three product categories (to start with): Alcohol, Cars, and Food and Soft Drinks.

Additionally, the rules that affect all product categories in Europe are on the website. It plans to expand to 30 countries and will eventually cover 10 product sectors.

The European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) coordinated the support of 8 participating SROs for the review of the content – ARPP (France), ASA (UK), AUTOCONTROL (Spain), IAP (Italy), JEP (Belgium), Rada Reklamy (Poland), Ro. (Sweden), and SRC (Netherlands).