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What kind of advertisements may complaints be lodged against in the scope of self-regulation?

A complaint may be lodged against any advertisement which contravenes some article of the Hungarian Code of Advertising Ethics in the opinion of the complainant.

Who may lodge complaints in the scope of self-regulation?

Consumer and civil organisations may lodge so-called consumer’s complaint or competing companies lodge so-called competitor’s complaint.

Where and how may complaints lodged in the scope of self-regulation?

In writing by a letter sent to the address of the Advertising Self Regulatory Board (Ön-szabályozó Reklám Testület, ÖRT, H-1066 Budapest, Teréz körút 38.) or via the Internet by completing the complaint registration form accessible on the ÖRT homepage.

- Lanunching of consumer’s complaint

- Launching of competitor’s complaint

How complaints have to be lodged in the scope of co-regulation?

- Launching of co-regulation complaint

Is the identity of the complainant handled confidentially?

In the case of consumer complaints the data of the complainant are handled confidentially and, naturally, not disclosed to the entity against whom the complaint has been lodged. Meanwhile we do not handle complaint if there is no data given by the complainant.) In the case of competitor complaints the company against which the complaint has been lodged is appraised of the complainant.

Are authorless complaints dealt with?


Is it important how many complaints are received against an advertisement?

Each and every complaint must be investigated and the aspect of judgement is whether the advertisement contravenes the Hungarian Code of Advertising Ethics.

Is it necessary to enclose the actual advertisement concerned as well?

All information is required on the basis of which the board is enabled to identity the actual advertisement with its place and date of publication. The comittee is unable to arrive at a reso-lution without these data.

Why is it necessary to know where the advertisement was published?

According to the Ethical Code an advertisement acceptable on a given medium is not accept-able necessarily on another one. It is possible that an advertisement acceptable in some publi-cation addressed at adults is unacceptable on advertising media visible in public areas or jour-nals addressed at children. For this reason this aspect is also taken into consideration by the jury.

Who makes a resolution about the advertisement against which a complaint has been lodge?

The Jury of advertising ethics – composed of independent specialists as well as practising ad-vertising experts independent of the particular issue – makes a resolution.

Who are member of the jury as the independent experts?

A psychologist, a physician, an economist, an elementary school director and a university pro-fessor participate as in making resolutions:

• Babák, Sándorné, elementary school director, public education manager at Bókay Ár-pád Elementary School in District XVIII of Budapest

• Biró, György, physician, university professor, earlier director general of OÉTI the Na-tional Institute of Dietetic and Nutritional Sciences, nourishment & health specialist

• Breitner. Miklós, economist, independent media specialist, a foremost personage in the field of newspaper publishing after working as a journalist and television editor

• Fábián, László, secondary school teacher of cinematographic culture and media knowledge, specialized in the areas of visual communication, dramaturgy and contex-tual interpretation

• Harsányi, Dávid, lecturer at Foreign Trade Faculty of the Budapest Business College, head of Marketing Communication Department

• Kerényi, Péter, public relations specialist, general television editor for – among others – the “Become a millionaire” and “The nation’s test” programs

• Kósa, Éva, psychologist, university professor, specializing in the role of media in the development of children among other fields

• Pap-Váry, Árpád, collegial docent, head of the Marketing Institute at the Budapest Communication & Business College

• Pócsik, Ilona, media expert, leader of the Media-Smart training programme

• Both, Vilmos, online specialist

• Hámori, Ferenc, engineer, university lecturer, online specialist

• Krich, Balázs, online specialist

Does the Jury arrive at a resolution in respect of every advertisement?

All advertisements reported are investigated but in cases where the company retracts or modi-fies the advertisement unbidden upon becoming aware of the complaint there will be no need for a Jury resolution. The objective is to resolve the complaints.

Is it certain that no resolutions biased against advertising would be made?

Yes, certain. It is in the interest of the advertising profession that no unethical advertisements would annoy the consumers. Namely it is not good to advertise products in an environment adverse to advertisements. This is just the intention which has led the advertising industry to implement the self-regulation of advertisements.

What happens to complaints?

On each occasion the advertiser is notified with the presentation of the complaint and re-quested to explain its position since the Jury is able to make a good resolution only in knowl-edge of the complete picture. The Jury will arrive at a resolution only thereafter.

What happens if an advertisement is found unethical by the Jury?

In cases where a still running (visible) advertisement is concerned the advertiser is requested to modify or in especially severe cases retract the advertisement. There are occasions when the consumer’s complaint is received at the end of a campaign period and then the advertiser is called not to use the particular advertisement or its disapproved element in the future. The media – who publishes the advertisement – can also be called not to publish the ad if the ad-vertiser would not follow the rules at the Jury.

Is the company found in the wrong also fined?

There is no monetary fine. The modification or withdrawal of the advertisement and media publicity constitute severe penalty anyway. The main objective is to ensure ethical advertise-ment and not earning money.

May complaints be lodged also against foreign advertisements?

Complaints may be lodged in connection with advertisements published in Hungary on the basis of the Code of Advertising Ethics. If a complaint arises in connection with an adver-tisement received directly from abroad then - according to the country of origin principle - the complaint will be sent to the self-regulation organisation of the country publishing the adver-tisement through the members of the European Advertising Self-regulation Organisation EASA. It is advisable to monitor the news in the Advertisement Alarm on the ÖRT homepage because these call attention to the “tricks” known in other countries.