Interview with Ildiko Fazekas

 Interview with Ildiko Fazekas, head of the self regulatory organization (SRO) , chairman of the panel on “Comparative advertisement”

 

 How can the ÖRT (Önszabályozó Reklám Testület) as an SRO contribute to the compliance efforts of its members?

The ÖRT as an SRO , in line with the goals of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) is there to ensure that all advertisements published are ethical and honest with all claims properly substantiated and not misleading or aggressive. Our members (advertisers or agencies) implement strategies and procedures to ensure that all advertisements are in line with the regulations and ethical standards.

Our members request copy advice before the publication of their advertisement. The SRO reviews and checks the draft ad to make sure it complies with  ethical norms and all regulations. The SRO’s copy advice is not compulsory but it is an important input for advertisers to make sure the final version of the advertisement will fully comply with relevant norms and regulations.

The SRO keeps its copy advice service up-to-date with changing regulations and follows the case law of the authorities in order to give the best possible help to its members and to ensure that  consumers would not loose their trust in the ads.

Authorities are fully aware and support our SRO’s activity. We share the same goals: protecting the consumer from rouge traders and misleading, unethical or aggressive advertising practices. The Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH, Hungarian Competition Authority) stated in its guidance that the decisions of ÖRT can be taken into account as aggravating or  mitigating circumstances. This means that in the procedure before the GVH the advertiser can present the ÖRT copy advice and can expect the GVH to take it into account as an attenuating circumstance. As the decision of the ÖRT can be the base for reduction of a fine, it encourages advertisers to use our copy advice service more and more often.

How can ÖRT check the substantiation of the claims of any given advertisement?

The copy advise is full clearance, so ÖRT undertakes the task to check the advertisement based on any applicable regulation, including sectorial legislation (like the special regulations on food advertising, on pharmaceuticals, or cosmetic products), and ethical code of conduct. In 2016, approximately 800 copy advice had been given.

When an advertisement is submitted to ÖRT for copy advice, first of all, ÖRT identifies the message of the ad as consumers would understand it. This is done considering the exact wording, pictures, sound and other creative content of the advertisement. If ÖRT finds that the message of the ad contains a claim, the copy advice identifies what needs to be substantiated in order to avoid misleading advertising. In this advice ÖRT specifies the acceptable substantiation, especially if an independent expert opinion is needed for substantiation of the given claim. In its weekly routine, ÖRT accepts the declaration of the advertiser about the substantiation. If there are doubts or upon the request of the advertiser the ÖRT also checks the substantiation – this means reviewing the the expert opinion whether it truly supports the consumer message of the advertisement, and whether the methodology of the testing is in line with scientific requirements. 

The ÖRT also handles consumer and competitor’s complaints, and monitors advertisements. Our decision making process is fast, and we take extra care not to share sensitive data and information, to avoid potential competition law infringements.

ÖRT is not like an enforcement authority, it also invests into education. We are committed to raise the consumers’ awareness about legal and ethical regulation, and spread information on how to make a complaint. That is why we have created the “SzulokSzava” website and an ad campaign http://jatek.szulokszava.hu/jatek too. Knowledge about regulation makes the consumers stronger; and self-conscious consumers help to keep the ad standards high. The result is a well-functioning competitive market, which is an important success factor of the economy. With all these activities we hope that ÖRT can contribute to achieving the goals of the UCPD.

Interview with Ildiko Fazekas, head of the self regulatory organization (SRO) , chairman of the panel on “Comparative advertisement”

How can the ÖRT (Önszabályozó Reklám Testület) as an SRO contribute to the compliance efforts of its members?

The ÖRT as an SRO , in line with the goals of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) is there to ensure that all advertisements published are ethical and honest with all claims properly substantiated and not misleading or aggressive. Our members (advertisers or agencies) implement strategies and procedures to ensure that all advertisements are in line with the regulations and ethical standards.

Our members request copy advice before the publication of their advertisement. The SRO reviews and checks the draft ad to make sure it complies with  ethical norms and all regulations. The SRO’s copy advice is not compulsory but it is an important input for advertisers to make sure the final version of the advertisement will fully comply with relevant norms and regulations.

The SRO keeps its copy advice service up-to-date with changing regulations and follows the case law of the authorities in order to give the best possible help to its members and to ensure that  consumers would not loose their trust in the ads.

Authorities are fully aware and support our SRO’s activity. We share the same goals: protecting the consumer from rouge traders and misleading, unethical or aggressive advertising practices. The Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH, Hungarian Competition Authority) stated in its guidance that the decisions of ÖRT can be taken into account as aggravating or  mitigating circumstances. This means that in the procedure before the GVH the advertiser can present the ÖRT copy advice and can expect the GVH to take it into account as an attenuating circumstance. As the decision of the ÖRT can be the base for reduction of a fine, it encourages advertisers to use our copy advice service more and more often.

How can ÖRT check the substantiation of the claims of any given advertisement?

The copy advise is full clearance, so ÖRT undertakes the task to check the advertisement based on any applicable regulation, including sectorial legislation (like the special regulations on food advertising, on pharmaceuticals, or cosmetic products), and ethical code of conduct. In 2016, approximately 800 copy advice had been given.

When an advertisement is submitted to ÖRT for copy advice, first of all, ÖRT identifies the message of the ad as consumers would understand it. This is done considering the exact wording, pictures, sound and other creative content of the advertisement. If ÖRT finds that the message of the ad contains a claim, the copy advice identifies what needs to be substantiated in order to avoid misleading advertising. In this advice ÖRT specifies the acceptable substantiation, especially if an independent expert opinion is needed for substantiation of the given claim. In its weekly routine, ÖRT accepts the declaration of the advertiser about the substantiation. If there are doubts or upon the request of the advertiser the ÖRT also checks the substantiation – this means reviewing the the expert opinion whether it truly supports the consumer message of the advertisement, and whether the methodology of the testing is in line with scientific requirements. 

The ÖRT also handles consumer and competitor’s complaints, and monitors advertisements. Our decision making process is fast, and we take extra care not to share sensitive data and information, to avoid potential competition law infringements.

ÖRT is not like an enforcement authority, it also invests into education. We are committed to raise the consumers’ awareness about legal and ethical regulation, and spread information on how to make a complaint. That is why we have created the “SzulokSzava” website and an ad campaign http://jatek.szulokszava.hu/jatek too. Knowledge about regulation makes the consumers stronger; and self-conscious consumers help to keep the ad standards high. The result is a well-functioning competitive market, which is an important success factor of the economy. With all these activities we hope that ÖRT can contribute to achieving the goals of the UCPD.