EAS-405 - Ethical Advertising Standard
For the purpose of this standard:
- the term "advertisement" is taken in its broadest sense, and means any form of advertising for goods or services, regardless of the medium used;
- the term "product" refers to any good or service;
- the term "consumer" refers to any person to whom an advertisement is addressed or who can reasonably be expected to be reached by it whether as a final consumer or as a trade customer or user.
All advertising should be legal, decent, honest and truthful.
Every advertisement should be prepared with a due sense of social responsibility and should conform to the principles of fair competition, as generally accepted in business.
No advertisement should be such as to impair public confidence in advertising.
Advertisements should not contain statements or visual presentations which offend prevailing standards of decency.
Advertisements should be so framed as not to abuse the trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge.
- Advertisements should not condone any form of discrimination, including that based upon race, national origin, religion, sex or age, nor should they in any way undermine human dignity.
- Advertisements should not (without justifiable reason) play on fear.
- Advertisements should not appear to condone or incite violence, or to encourage unlawful or reprehensible behaviour.
- Advertisements should not play on superstition.
- Advertisements should not contain any statement or visual presentation which directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim is likely to mislead the consumer, in particular with regard to
- characteristics such as: nature, composition, method and date of manufacture, range of use, efficiency and performance, quantity, commercial or geographical origin or environmental impact;
- the value of the product and the total price actually to be paid;
- delivery, exchange, return, repair and maintenance;
- terms of guarantee;
- copyright and industrial property rights such as patents, trade marks, designs and models and trade names;
- official recognition or approval, awards of medals, prizes and diplomas;
- the extent of benefits for charitable causes.
- Advertisements should not misuse research results or quotations from technical and scientific publications. Statistics should not be so presented as to exaggerate the validity of advertising claims. Scientific terms should not be used to falsely ascribe scientific validity to advertising claims.
Advertisements containing comparisons should be so designed that the comparison is not likely to mislead, and should comply with the principles of fair competition. Points of comparison should be based on facts that can be substantiated and should not be unfairly selected.
When advertised merchandise requires partial or complete assembly by the purchaser, the advertising should disclose that fact, e.g., "unassembled," "partial assembly required."
Advertisements should not contain or refer to any testimonial or endorsement unless it is genuine, verifiable, relevant and based on personal experience or knowledge. Testimonials or endorsements that have become obsolete or misleading through passage of time should not be used.
Portrayal or imitation of personal property
Advertisements should not portray or refer to any persons, whether in a private or a public capacity, unless prior permission has been obtained; nor should advertisements without prior permission depict or refer to any person's property in a way likely to convey the impression of a personal endorsement.
Exploitation of goodwill
Advertisements should not make unjustifiable use of the name, initials, logo and/or trademarks of another firm, company or institution nor should advertisements in any way take undue advantage of another firm, person or institution's goodwill in its name, trade name or other intellectual property, nor should advertisements take advantage of the goodwill earned by other advertising campaigns.
- Advertisements should not imitate the general layout, text, slogan, visual presentation, music and sound effects, etc., of any other advertisements in a way that is likely to mislead or confuse the consumer.
- Where advertisers have established distinctive advertising campaigns in one or more countries, other advertisers should not unduly imitate these campaigns in the other countries where the former may operate, thus preventing them from extending their campaigns within a reasonable period of time to such countries.
Advertisements should be clearly distinguishable as such, whatever their form and whatever the medium used; when an advertisement appears in a medium which contains news or editorial matter, it should be so presented that it will be readily recognised as an advertisement.
Safety and health
Advertisements should not without reason, justifiable on educational or social grounds, contain any visual presentation or any description of dangerous practices or of situations which show a disregard for safety or health.
Children and young people
The following provisions apply to advertisements addressed to children and young people who are minors under the applicable national law.
Inexperience and Credulity
- Advertisements should not exploit the inexperience or credulity of children and young people.
- Advertisements should not understate the degree of skill or age level generally required to use or enjoy the product.
- Special care should be taken to ensure that advertisements do not mislead children and young people as to the true size, value, nature, durability and performance of the advertised product.
- If extra items are needed to use it (e.g., batteries) or to produce the result shown or described (e.g., paint) this should be made clear.
- A product that is part of a series should be clearly indicated, as should the method of acquiring the series.
- Where results of product use are shown or described, the advertisement should represent what is reasonably attainable by the average child or young person in the age range for which the product is intended.
- Price indication should not be such as to lead children and young people to an unreal perception of the true value of the product, for instance by using the word 'only'. No advertisements should imply that the advertised product is immediately within reach of every family budget.
Avoidance of Harm
Advertisements should not contain any statement or visual presentation that could have the effect of harming children and young people mentally, morally or physically or of bringing them into unsafe situations or activities seriously threatening their health or security, or of encouraging them to consort with strangers or to enter strange or hazardous places.
Advertisements should not contain any reference to a guarantee which does not provide the consumer with additional rights to those provided by law. Advertisements may contain the word "guarantee", "guaranteed", "warranty" or "warranted" or words having the same meaning only if the full terms of the guarantee as well as the remedial action open to the purchaser are clearly set out in the advertisements, or are available to the purchaser in writing at the point of sale, or come with the goods.
Advertisements should not be used to introduce or support the practice whereby unsolicited products are sent to persons who are required, or given the impression that they are obliged to accept and pay for these products (inertia selling).
Claims as to energy savings, performance, safety, efficacy, results, etc. which will be obtained by or realised from a particular product or service should be based on recent and competent scientific, engineering or other objective data.
Layout and Illustrations
The composition and layout of advertisements should be such as to minimise the possibility of misunderstanding by the reader. For example, prices, illustrations, or descriptions should not be so placed in an advertisement as to give the impression that the price or terms of featured merchandise apply to other merchandise in the advertisement when such is not the fact. An advertisement should not be used which features merchandise at a price or terms boldly displayed, together with illustrations of higher-priced merchandise, so arranged as to give the impression that the lower price or more favourable terms apply to the other merchandise, when such is not the fact.
Asterisks and Abbreviations
An asterisk may be used to impart additional information about a word or term which is not in itself inherently deceptive. The asterisk or other reference symbol should not be used as a means of contradicting or substantially changing the meaning of any advertising statement. Information referenced by asterisks should be clearly and prominently disclosed.
Commonly known abbreviations may be used in advertising. However, abbreviations not generally known to or understood by the general public should be avoided.
Advertisements should not appear to approve or encourage actions which contravene the law, self-regulating codes or generally accepted standards of environmentally responsible behaviour.
- Responsibility for the observance of the rules of conduct laid down in the Code rests with the advertiser, the advertising practitioner or agency, and the publisher, media owner or contractor.
- Advertisers should take the overall responsibility for their advertising.
- Advertising practitioners or agencies should exercise every care in the preparation of advertisements and should operate in such a way as to enable advertisers to fulfil their responsibilities.
- Publishers, medium-owners or contractors, who publish, transmit or distribute advertisements should exercise due care in the acceptance of advertisements and their presentation to the public.
- Those employed within a firm, company or institution coming under the above three categories and who take part in the planning, creation, publishing or transmitting of an advertisement have a degree of responsibility commensurate with their positions for ensuring that the rules of the Code are observed and should act accordingly.
Rules apply to entirety of advertisement
The responsibility for observance of the rules of the Code embraces the advertisement in its entire content and form, including testimonials and statements or visual presentations originating from other sources. The fact that the content or form originates wholly or in part from other sources is not an excuse for non-observance of the rules.
Effect of subsequent redress for contravention
While an advertiser's subsequent correction and appropriate redress for a contravention of the Code are desirable, they cannot excuse the original contravention of the Code.
An advertiser should not engage in speculation or provide information intended to cause alarm and force action. Such actions include overstating the legal implications of a non-defined action.
Descriptions, claims or illustrations relating to verifiable facts should be capable of substantiation. Advertisers should have such substantiation available so that they can produce evidence without delay to the self-regulatory bodies responsible for the operation of the Code.