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What does advertising self-regulation mean?

The self-regulation of advertisements is the creation of ethical rules for advertisements by means of self-regulation when the participants of the advertising industry (advertiser compa-nies, agencies creating communications and the media publishing these) elaborate the princi-ples and rules applicable to advertisements and provide for the assertion of same through the establish and finance of a self-regulation organisation.

Why is the self-regulation of advertisements beneficial?

The professional self-regulation of advertisements is the solution of the advertising industry for handling issues related to publications of commercial purpose by cooperation rather than by regulation with detailed legislation. The advertising profession proves by self-regulation that is capable of its responsible regulation by actively supporting the highest ethical standards with regard to publications of commercial purpose and protecting the interests of the consumers.

What requirements is self-regulation based on?

The system of rules for self-regulation is the code of advertising ethics recognising and sup-plementing the applicable laws. The Hungarian Code of Advertising Ethics is built on the Code of ICC, the International Chamber of Commerce – just like almost every-where in the world – and its last updating in 2009 has been accepted by 26 trade organisa-tions.

Who creates the Ethical Code?

The Hungarian Advertising Association elaborated in Hungary in 1981 the Code of Advertis-ing Ethics as the first in the CEE region.

The advertising codes of self-regulation are built on the general advertising codex of the In-ternational Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and must reflect the particular national culture, laws and trading practices as well as provide for their application in newer areas of commercial communication.

The elaboration – amendment – of the advertising code is carried out jointly by ÖRT (Adver-tising Self Regulatory Board) and the Hungarian Advertising Association on the basis of ex-periences, advertising trends and eventual problems inside Hungary in addition to the ICC Codex. Additionally the self-regulation codes of other countries as well as industrial codes (mainly those formulated in specific branches of industry mainly for sensitive products such as alcoholic, and food products) are also taken into consideration and the articles relevant to the domestic market and society are adapted. The signatories of the Code are Hungarian producer and advertising organisation who express their commitment with its contents by signing it.

All advertising codes must be applied both in spirit and literally.

Is self-regulation able to replace laws?

Self-regulation is operated along with and supplementing the applicable laws. It is able to provide faster and more effective solutions in handling of sensitive issues than the laws. Self-regulation is the leader in the handling of sensitive issues such as advertisements aimed at children and the professional self-control of promotional messages in the advertisements of food, and alcohol products.

The agenda of Better Regulation encourages Brussels to question the creation of additional detailed laws controlling the business life. DG Sanco is demanding for the first time the exe-cution of impact studies for the elaboration of new directives and this may enforce self-regulation to be chosen in place of legislative solutions.

Self-regulation is an indispensable accessory to the laws regulating advertisements in a par-ticular country. It plays a central role in maximizing the trust of consumers in advertising. Self-regulation is the best proven method for responding in a fast, efficient and effective manner to the consumers’ concerns related to advertisements.

Is it worthwhile for companies to advertise ethically?

Yes. Good advertisement is beneficial for business. And there is nothing better than a loyal customer. If a customer forsakes an advertised brand because he/she has not received what the advertisement promised or suggested then luring back the disappointed customer is very diffi-cult. Therefore the business interest of the crucial majority of the advertisers demands the ad-vertisements to be honest and truthful. Retaining customer’s trust is thus expressively a busi-ness interest. ÖRT is on the side of honest companies.

Why are dishonest advertisements in existence?

Everybody makes mistakes but the large majority of companies do not produce “bad” adver-tisements intentionally. There may be occurrences where they estimate the sensitivity of the society incorrectly or the chosen medium reaches another target group than originally intended and thus it may become hurtful outside the “code system” accepted by the original target group.

Who establishes whether an advertisement is acceptable or not?

Just like the European statutes and the adjudicative practice in Hungary, ÖRT takes into con-sideration the average consumer. Our experts obtain excellent awareness of research results as well as feedback from and expectations of consumers in the course of their work. The resolu-tion is never the opinion of a single person but a well-considered summary decision based on the joint knowledge of a committee.