Quick interview with Ildikó Fazekas, secretary general of ÖRT, former chariman of EASA
TT: Ildiko, you were the chairman of the European Advertising Standards Alliance between 2009-2013. Based upon your experience, how difficult is it to harmonize the interests of various national advertising self-regulatory organisations? Is there something like a universal European advertising standard?
IF: Consistency is essential for the advertising industry. The ICC Code is one of the basic principles of the advertising standards used worldwide. In some countries it is simply translated, others use this as a useful starting point. The operational standards of advertising self-regulation were discussed during the EU Advertising Roundtable, and now the system was endorsed by the APEC Leaders' Forum. There might be cultural differences which might have an effect on what we find offensive, but in case of misleadingness the principles of substantiation is harmonised by EASA Best practice recommendations.
TT: Can self-regulation help the authorities by preventing certain misleading advertisements to be aired?
IF: Yes, self-regulation involves a copy advice service which helps a lot in prevention. The other useful service is the training provided by the SROs (self-regulatory organisations). It helps to raise the awareness of the importance of compliance, and also provides insights about sensitve questions. In case of complaints the decisions are very fast, so we can even stop the campaign, or force them to make changes.
TT: Do authorities in Europe, and specifically in Hungary, take into account the (non-binding) decisions of the self-regulatory agency?
IF: In Hungary we have to work on this. We shall improve the awareness and acceptance of the decisions of the SRO. I am convinced that a clear message of the acceptance would be good for the industry and, at the end of the day, could be good for the conusmers, too.