The National Council for Selfregulation (NCSR) is an independent body for self-regulation of advertising and commercial communication in Bulgaria. NCSR, after consultations with distinguished professionals, creates, revises and ensures the voluntarily application ethical standards and good practices in the advertising industry aiming at providing protection of consumers, the principles of fair competition and the interests of the society as a whole. For this purpose, NCSR creates working bodies, such as Ethical Committee, Appeal Committee, Working Group for Code Interpretation, Monitoring Committee etc.
Members of NCSR can be associations, companies and physical persons, part of the advertising industry – advertisers, marketing specialists, advertising agencies, media, as well as distinguished public persons and professionals.
The present National Ethical Standards are the basis for self-regulation in advertising and commercial communications in Bulgaria, hereinafter referred to as ‘The Code’.
The Code is accepted by the National Council for Self-Regulation in 2009, in accordance with its Articles of Association, the laws and regulations in Bulgaria and is based on the Consolidated Code of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), both in spirit and to the letter.
The Code is subject of development. For this purpose, the NCSR will regularly revise the clauses of the Code to ensure that they embrace the newest developments in technology, marketing practices and the society. NCSR adopts also Regulations for Application of the Code.
The Code should be observed by all operators in the advertising industry in Bulgaria, whether as advertisers, marketers, advertising practitioners or agencies, in the media, or in related functions. The Code applies to all forms of advertising and other commercial communication and sets the standards of ethical conduct.
In addition to the National Ethical code, the NCSR can apply other specific industry codes, provided that they do not contradict to the national Code.
In specific cases, when applying own stricter standards for commercial communication, a given media may decline a specific advertising, even if it conforms to the rules of the national Code.
NCSR is a member of the European Advertising Atandards Alliance (EASA) and is part of its system for cross-border complaints. In the case of a cross-border complaint, the principle "country of origin" applies. According to it an advertisement must comply with the rules of the country where the media is based and in the case of the Internet/digital ads, etc. forms of direct marketing – with the rules of the country where the advertiser i based.
All members of EASA apply the principle of "mutual recognition" i.e. each member of EASA agrees to accept advertisements which comply with the self-regulatoty rules in the country of origin of the media, even in cases where these rules are not identical to their own national ones.
Regardless of the limited options when it comes to cross-border complaints, when it turns out that it is impossible to answer them through the system of the EASA, the NCSR will take measures to respond to such complaints when they are directed towards Bulgarian users (e.g. through a website based in Bulgaria or using Bulgarian language or indicating contact address in Bulgaria or when prices are in Bulgarian Leva).
NCSR will judge upon claims within the scope of the Code against every participant in the advertising industry in Bulgaria, who is involved in advertising and commercial communication in breach of the ethical rules.
The members of the NCSR voluntarily agree to apply the standards of the Code and to ensure they are strictly observed.
The decisions of NCSR are obligatory for its members. They agree voluntarily not to implement or accept any actions in breach of the Code and to re-work or discontinue any communication, judged by NCSR to be in breach of the Code.
At the same time, the members of NCSR promote the Code and encourage other industry players to follow its goals and apply its standards.
For those players who have not yet accepted the Code, the decisions of NCSR are not obligatory. In such cases, NCSR may make its decisions public, or ask its media members to discontinue the communication, or when appropriate – to inform the regulating authorities.
The Code is not a legal act and does not address issues, regulated by the applicable laws. The Code is always applied within the framework of the law. It does not substitute the laws which regulate the advertising and commercial communication in Bulgaria, but acts as its ethical supplement. Because of its nature, the clauses of the Code are more detailed that the law itself. For avoidance of misunderstanding, when issues covered by the Code are also regulated by law, the legal aspects of the case are judged by the respective regulatory body.
The Code offers easy and accessible way to deal with disputes and usually prevents litigations or penalty acts. However, the application of the self-regulation does not waive the obligation of the industry operators and the citizens to abide by the regulations of the Bulgarian Constitution and the applicable laws.
No written or verbal communication from the NCSR or its members will be treated as legal consultation or recommendation.
The Code is applicable to any form of advertising and marketing communication, which is to be taken in a broad sense – activities which directly or indirectly promote any kind of goods and services (corporate and institutional promotion included) , or promote trade marks and names, regardless of the used communication channels (see Definitions), including, but non-exhaustive:
- Àudio-visual communications, TV, radio and other broadcast media, cinema, video etc.;
- Print communication in newspapers, magazines, brochures, posters, bulletins, catalogues etc.;
- Communication in other media, exposed in public, including moving objects;
- Commercial communication on packaging, instructions for use and other promotional materials;
- Any advertising communication, published against payment in cash or other reciprocal obligation, when the content is controlled by the advertisers/marketing specialist and not by the editor, should be in conformity with the Code and should be clearly marked and distinguishable from the independent editorial materials;
- Social advertising and advertising connected to charity, sponsorship etc.;
- Commercial communication of local and central governments;
- Communications connected to promotional activities, including point of sale, degustation, games and lotteries, events ;
- Communications in electronic media, including, but non-exhaustive :
• display ads (moving, non-moving)
• text ads
• paid inclusion/Paid search
• internet banners
• virals, produced and/or distributed by advertiser/marketing specialist
• virals and consumer generated content, produced and.or distributed by private individuals, however with the support of the advertiser/marketing specialist
• marketing communication in corporate internet sites
• online in-game advertising
• red button
• online corporate communications
• DVD/CD Rom
• digital billboards
• SMS- and MMS
• Fixes or mobile telephones and other digital communications (e-mail etc.)
The Code does not extend indiscriminately to every type of communication. For instance, the Code does not apply to:
- editorial content;
- corporate public affairs messages in press releases and other media statements, nor to information in annual reports and the like; statements on matters of public policy;
- information required by law to be included
on product labels;
- political communication, aiming to impact during local, national or international elections or referendums;
- independent review websites;
- virals and consumer generated content, produced and/or distributed by private individuals, not supported by advertiser/marketing specialist;
- communication with educational purpose or information on issues important for the public, when such communication is not connected to the commercial interest of the initiator;
- communication whose primary purpose is entertaining or educational and not commercial, like the content of television programmes, films, books magazines or videogames, are not intended to be covered by this Code;
- communications from the State;
- products of art, exhibited in private or publicly;
- the Products themselves;
The Code is public and gives information about the boundaries of the volunteer engagement of the advertising industry to deal with the issues through the ethical tools of the selfregulation
The interpretation of the NCSR only applies to the Code, considering that:
- the Code is to be interpreted in the spirit as well as to the letter. It applies to the marketing communication in its entirety, including all words and numbers (spoken and written), visual treatments, music and sound effects, and material originating from other sources.
- because of the different characteristics of the various media, e.g. press, television, radio and other broadcast media, outdoor advertising, films, direct mail, fax, e-mail, electronic media, telephone, etc., a communication which is acceptable for one medium may not necessarily be acceptable for another. Communications should therefore be judged by their likely impact on the reasonable consumer, having regard to the characteristics of the targeted group and the medium used.
- a marketing communication should be assessed having regard to the knowledge, experience and discriminatory ability of the typical consumer to whom it is directed, as well as social, cultural and linguistic factors. For example, when judging a communication addressed to children, their natural credulity and inexperience should always be taken into account. Consumers in general are assumed to have a reasonable degree of experience, knowledge and sound judgment, and to be reasonably observant and prudent. Professional or otherwise qualified groups are presumed to have an appropriate level of specialised knowledge and expertise in their field of operations.
- The Code is inseparable, all its standards apply in their entirety.
Given the particular importance of the advertising in the economy of the country, the purpose of the Code is to secure that advertising is exercised as a public service in such a way, as to consider the impact it has on the consumer.
The principles of the Code are the ethical grounds of the selfregulation process. The Code is constructed in such a way as to ensure the discontinuation of activities which are in contradiction with the above mentioned purpose, even if such activities are formally within the framework of the applicable laws.
The Code is intended to achieve the following objectives:
> to demonstrate responsibility and good practice in advertising and marketing Communication in Bulgaria;
> to enhance overall public confidence in marketing communication;
> to respect privacy and consumer preferences;
> to ensure special responsibility as regards marketing communication and children/young people;
> to safeguard the freedom of expression of those engaged in marketing communication (as embodied in article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and the Constitution of Bulgaria);
> to safeguard the principles of the fair competition;
> to provide practical and flexible solutions;
> to minimise the need for detailed governmental and/or inter-governmental legislation or regulations.
The national Code is constructed as an integrated system of ethical standards.
Its General Provisions and Definitions apply without exception to all marketing communication and all communication channels.
NCSR may agree with other industry associations to add to the Code specific industry selfregulation standards, which however should not be in contradiction to the national Code.
The NCSR will regularly review the Code’s provisions, to ensure that they continue to reflect the latest developments in society, the new marketing techniques and communication technologies. To ensure stability of its implementation, NCSR will aim to update the Code not more frequently than every two years.
With the development of the selfregulation practices in the various industries, the respective industry associations and NCSR may agree to periodically extend the clauses of the Code to include standards applicable to specific group of products and activities.
The following definitions apply throughout the Code and the Regulations for its application. (The Definitions of the terms used are included in alphabetical order in a Enclosure)
1.1. All marketing communication should be prepared with a due sense of professional responsibility to the consumer and the society
1.2. All marketing communication should be legal, decent, honest and truthful.
1.3. The advertisers are responsible to ensure that the commercial communication is legal. No commercial communication should disregard any of the applicable legal provisions; should not contain elements in breach of applicable laws, nor should it encourage anybody to breach or circumvent the law.
1.4.All marketing communication should be prepared with a due sense of social and professional responsibility and should conform to the principles of fair competition.
1.5. No communication should be such as to impair public confidence in marketing.
1.6. Selfregulation will be applied with respect to the fundamental right of all to freedom of expression and freedom of commercial communication.
2. The Marketing communication should not contain statements or audio or visual
treatments which offend standards of decency currently prevailing in the country or which could be defined as vulgar or repulsive according to the generally accepted in the country moral and cultural norms.
3.1. Marketing communication should be so framed as not to abuse the trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge.
3.2. Relevant factors likely to affect consumers’ decisions should be communicated in such a way and at such a time that consumers can take them into account.
3.3. In case an information is communicated under the main body of the text, it has to be sufficiently visible, readable, applying an adequate font or length of communication, allowing the consumer to read it and take it into account.
3.4. No commercial communication should damage - by statement, untrue information, or distorted facts, the good name of and the trust in competitors and/or goods and services offered by them.
3.5. No commercial communication should use or divulge professional or trade secret in contradiction to the conscientious business practice.
4.1. Marketing communication should respect human dignity.
4.2. Marketing Communication should not incite or condone or tolerate any form of offence, discrimination, including that based upon race, national origin, religion, social status or political affiliation, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation, without the above list being exhaustive.
4.3. Marketing communication should observe the principle of equity of genders.
4.4. Marketing communication should not without justifiable reason play on fear or exploit misfortune or suffering.
4.5. Marketing communication should not misuse the feeling of pity towards babies, children, sick, aged and disabled people.
4.6. Marketing communication should not depict, condone or incite violent, unlawful or anti-social behaviour.
4.7. Marketing communication should not depict, condone or incite threat to the life and health of people, nature, animals or to personal or public property.
4.8. Marketing communication should not contain pornography or depict, condone or incite sexual harassment.
4.9. Marketing communication should not show far too much erotic and should not promote excessive susceptibility to sexuality through depicting encouragement and readiness for sex, revealing the human body in an inappropriate manner. It should not show the Product as a tool for removing sexual barriers. The human body may be revealed with respect of the personal rights and human dignity.
4. 10. The fact, that a specific commercial communication is unacceptable for a particular individual, in principle does not give enough grounds to reject generally the commercial communication for the given Product.
4.11. Commercial communication will use natural, historical, scientific or cultural values in such a manner as not to damage the respect to them.
4.12. Commercial communication should not use the Bulgaria language in an insulting manner.
4.13. When the commercial communication uses lawfully a foreign language, the latter will enjoy the same protection as the Bulgarian language.
4.14. State symbols may be used in commercial communication only in keeping with the applicable law and in such a manner as not to denigrate or humiliate their dignity
5.1. Marketing communication should be truthful and not misleading.
5.2. Marketing communication cannot be hidden and to act on a subconscious level.
5.3. Marketing communication should not distort or to use fraudulently scientific and technical data and terminology.
5.4. The commercial communication should not keep silent or conceal essential flaws or dangerous characteristics of the offered Products.
5.5. Marketing communication should not contain any statement, or audio or visual treatment which, directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggeration, is likely to mislead the consumer, in particular, but not exclusively, with regard to:
a)characteristics of the product which are material, i.e. likely to influence the
consumer’s choice, such as: nature, composition, method and date of manufacture, range of use, efficiency and performance, quantity, commercial or geographical origin or environmental impact;
b) the value of the product and the total price to be paid by the consumer;
c) terms for delivery, exchange, return, repair and maintenance;
d) terms of guarantee;
e) copyright and industrial property rights such as patents, trade marks, designs and models and trade names;
f) compliance with standards;
g) official recognition or approval, awards such as medals, prizes and diplomas;
h) the extent of benefits for charitable causes;
i) opportunities for fast gains.
5.6. Commercial communication should not use misleading announcements for prices, reduction of prices or other trade terms when offering a Product.
5.7.The word ‘new’ will be used only in a reasonable period of the life cycle of a Product that is new or has undergone a considerable change.
6.1. When the commercial communication is using technical or scientific data (for example research findings) or quotes from technical or scientific publications, these should be substantiated and supported by proof.
6.2. Commercial communication should use statistical data in such a way as not to exaggerate the validity of a Product claim
6.3. Technical and scientific data with validity term should be clearly identified as such and should not be presented in the commercial communication in such a way as to make them look generally valid.
6.4.Marketing communication should use
scientific terminology or vocabulary in such a way as falsely to suggest that a product claim has scientific validity.
7.1. The term "free", e.g. “free gift” or “free offer”, whenever allowed by law, should be used only:
à) where the offer involves no obligation whatsoever; or
b) where the only obligation is to pay the charges for:
- participation ( announced in advance postal charges, a normal telephone call with a fixed in the offer duration, e-mail cost, phone message etc.)
- shipping and handling charges which should not exceed the cost estimated to be incurred by the marketer, or eventual trip of the consumer, in case he/she is needed personally to receive the offer.
In these cases the consumer’s obligations should be clearly states and no further cost should be incurred for packaging or handling.
c) in conjunction with the purchase of another product, provided the price of that product has not been increased to cover all or part of the cost of the offer.
In case of an offer for a Product, which is conditional to a purchase of another product or products, this requirement has to be clearly stated.
7.2. Offers with test period should not be communicated as ‘free’ if the consumer will be asked to pay the cost of an eventual return of the Product, except in case such a requirement is clearly stated in the offer.
7.3. In case the acquisition of a free offer requires the consumer to pay any fees or taxes due on the value of the acquisition, such information has to be clearly stated in the commercial communication.
7.4. A marketing communication should not state or imply that a “guarantee”, “warranty” or other expression having substantially the same meaning, offers the consumer rights additional to those provided by law when it does not. The terms of any guarantee or warranty, including the name and address of the guarantor, should be easily available to the consumer and limitations on consumer rights or remedies, where permitted by law, should be clear and conspicuous.
8.1. Descriptions, claims or illustrations relating to verifiable facts in a marketing communication should be capable of substantiation.
8.2.Such substantiation should be available so that evidence can be produced without delay and upon request to the self-regulatory organisations responsible for the implementation of the Code.
9.1. Marketing communication should be clearly distinguishable as such, whatever their form and whatever the medium used.
9.2. When an advertisement appears in a medium containing news or editorial matter, it should be so presented that it is readily recognisable as an advertisement.
9.3.Marketing communication should not misrepresent their true purpose. They should not be presented as, for example, market research or consumer surveys if their purpose is commercial, i.e. the sale of a product.
9.4. The marketing specialist should be subject to identification. This also applies to communication, whose sole purpose is to draw attention to communication activities to follow (eg. so-called "teaser advertisements").
9.5. Marketing communication should, where appropriate, include information on the name and contact address to allow users to connect without difficulty with the marketing specialist.
10.1. Commercial communication may use comparisons in case it is needed to illustrate the technical or economic differences, advantages and characteristics of the products.
10.2. Subject of comparison is only objectively substantial, comparable and representative features of the compared goods and services, including their prices.
10.3. The selection criteria have to be clear and the points of comparison should be based on fairly selected, relevant and substantiated facts.
10.4.Marketing communication containing comparisons should not mislead the consumer and should comply with the principles of fair competition. It should be so designed that the comparison is not likely to mislead the marketer with its competitor or its trade marks, trade names, other characteristics; the goods and services of the marketer with those of its competitors.
Marketing communication should not denigrate, even if not mentioned explicitly, any person or group of persons, firm, organisation, industrial or commercial activity, profession or product, or seek to bring it or them into public contempt or ridicule.
12.1. Marketing communication should not contain or refer to any testimonial, endorsement or supportive documentation unless it is genuine, verifiable and relevant.
12.2. Any testimonials or endorsements used in commercial communication should be archived and stored signed and dated, including contact details such as name and address.
12.3. In case no trusted public source is quoted, testimonials can be used in commercial communication only upon a written consent from the endorsee.
12.4. The marketer can express opinion for a given Product of theirs only in case that the commercial communications states clearly that this is an opinion and not a proof.
12.5. No communication, be it verbal or in writing, from the NCSR or its members, will be presented as endorsement of any Product.12.6. Any testimonials or endorsements used in commercial communication which have become obsolete or misleading through passage of time should not be used.
12.6. The commercial communication should not contain recommendations or endorsements, which are obsolete and have become misleading due to expiration of their term.
12.7.In essence, the testimonials are not
proofs and the opinions, expressed in there should be supported, when needed, by proof for truthfulness of the statements.
13.1. Unless prior permission has been obtained Marketing communication should not portray personal property or refer to any persons, whether in a private or a public capacity, except in cases of particular public interest.
13.2. In the case the commercial communication portrays scenes with the participation of many people and/or public places, as well as quoting published books, articles or film materials, the prior permission as per. Art. 13.1 may not be needed.
13.3. Marketing communication, without prior permission, should not depict or refer to any person’s property in a way likely to convey the impression of a personal endorsement of the product or organisation involved.
14.1. Marketing communication should not make unjustifiable use of the name, initials, logo and/or trademarks of another firm, company or institution.
14.2. Marketing communication should not
in any way take undue advantage of another firm’s, individual’s or institution’s goodwill in its name, brands or other intellectual property, or take advantage of the goodwill earned by other marketing campaigns without prior consent.
15.1. Marketing communication should not copy literally or imitate those of another marketer, already used in the market, even when the communicated products are not competing.
15.2. Marketing communication should not in any way exploit or use industrial samples
or copy rights of other marketer, such as patents, trade marks, designs and samples, general layout, text, slogan, visual treatment, music or sound effects, in a way likely to mislead or confuse the consumer.
16.1. Marketing communication should not, without justification on educational or social grounds, contain any visual portrayal or any description of potentially dangerous practices, or situations which show a disregard for safety or health, as defined by local national standards.
16.2. Instructions for use should include appropriate safety warnings and, where necessary, disclaimers.
16.3. Potential risks for health and safety should be clearly communicated, especially if not easily recognizable.
16.4. Commercial communication should not portray or encourage drink driving or to give reasons to believe that the effect of alcohol consumption could be concealed.
16.5. Children should be shown to be under adult supervision whenever a product or an activity involves a safety risk.
16.6.Information provided with the product should include proper directions for use and full instructions covering health and safety aspects whenever necessary. Such health and safety warnings should be made clear by the use of pictures, text or a combination of both.
17.1. Special care should be taken in marketing communication directed to or featuring children or young people. Such communications should not undermine positive social behaviour, lifestyles and attitudes.
17.2. Products unsuitable for children or young people should not be advertised in media targeted to them.
For rules on data protection relating specifically to children’s personal information see Article 18.
17.3. Marketing communication targeting children, including for games, toys, and educational materials, should not exploit inexperience or credulity, with particular regard to the following areas:
17.3.1. When demonstrating a product’s performance and use, marketing communication should not:
a. minimise the degree of skill or understate the age level generally required to assemble or operate products;
b. exaggerate the true size, value, nature, durability and performance of the product;
c. fail to disclose information about the need for additional purchases, such as accessories, or individual items in a collection or series, required to produce the result shown or described.
17.3. 2. While the use of fantasy is appropriate for younger as well as older children it should not make it difficult for them to distinguish between reality and fantasy.
17.4. Marketing communication directed to children should be clearly istinguishable to them as such.
17.5. Marketing communication should not contain any statement or visual treatment that could have the effect of harming children or young people mentally, morally or physically.
17.6. Children and young people should not be portrayed in unsafe situations or engaging in actions harmful to themselves or others, or be encouraged to engage in potentially hazardous activities or behaviour. Especially, but not exhaustive:
17.6.1. Safety criteria should apply to all commercial communications featuring children;
17.6.2. Children can be portrayed in dangerous situations only in case the purpose of the commercial communication is to promote safety rules;
17.6.3. Medicines, disinfection liquids, cleaning materials, acids, washing powders and any products hazardous for health should not been shown as accessible for children without parental supervision and no children using such materials should be shown in commercial communication;
17.6.4. Commercial communication should not encourage children to position themselves in dangerous for them places and situations, as well as to enter into communication with people who could endanger their safety;
17.6.5. Commercial communication should not feature children on car roads without supervision from adults, except when it is clearly communicated that they are enough mature to be responsible for their own safety;
17.6.6. Commercial communication should not feature children playing in the street, except in areas, clearly allocated for playgrounds or in other safe areas;
17.6.7. When children are features as participants in the traffic, the commercial communication should clearly show that the children are acting in accordance with the rules and regulations for traffic safety.
17.7. Marketing communication should not suggest that possession or use of the promoted product will give a child or young person physical, psychological or social advantages over other children or young people, or that not possessing the product will have the opposite effect.
17.8. Marketing communication should not undermine the authority, responsibility, judgment or tastes of parents, having regard to relevant social and cultural values.
17.9. Marketing communication should not include any direct appeal to children and young people to persuade their parents or other adults to buy products for them.
17.10. Prices, including of games, toys and educational products, should not be presented in such a way as to lead children and young people to an unrealistic perception of the cost or value of the product, for example by minimising them. Marketing communication should not imply that the product being promoted is immediately within the reach of every family budget.
17.11. Marketing communication which invite children and young people to contact the marketer should encourage them to obtain the permission of a parent or other appropriate adult if any cost, including that of a communication, is involved.
17.12. No marketing communication referring to gambling will not be addressed or directed to children and young people.
17.13. Marketers should take special care in case of commercial communication for a Product, allowing for a purchase or usage of Product by children (for example internet communication, suggesting purchase through phone). In this case actions should be taken to ensure that children will obtain permission from their parents before confirming the purchase or usage of the Product.
18.1. When collecting personal data from individuals, care should be taken to respect and protect their privacy by complying with relevant rules and regulations.
18.2. When personal information is collected from consumers, it is essential to ensure that the individuals concerned are aware of the purpose of the collection and of any intention to transfer the data to a third party for that third party’s marketing purposes. When it is not possible to inform the individual at the time of collection, this should be done as soon as possible thereafter.
18.3. Personal data collected in accordance with this Code should be:
a) collected for specified and legitimate purposes and not used in any manner incompatible with those purposes;
b) adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which they are collected and/or further processed;
c) preserved for no longer than is required for the purpose for which the data were collected or further processed.
18.4. Adequate security measures should be in place, having regard to the sensitivity of the information, in order to prevent unauthorised access to, or disclosure of, the personal data.
18.5. If the information is transferred to third parties, it should be established that they employ at least an equivalent level of security measures. A prior consent from the person is required for such a transfer of his/her personal data.
18.6. When personal information is collected from children, guidance should be provided to parents about protecting children’s privacy. Children should be encouraged to obtain a parent’s or other appropriate adult’s permission before providing information via electronic media, and reasonable steps should be taken to check that such permission has been given.
18.8. Appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that consumers understand and exercise their rights
a) to opt out of marketing lists (including the right to sign on to general preference services);
b) to require that their data are not made available to third parties for their marketing purposes; and
c) to rectify incorrect data which are held about them.
18.9. Where a consumer has expressed a wish not to receive marketing communication using a specific medium, whether via a preference service or by other means, this wish should be respected.
18.10. Particular care should be taken to maintain the data protection rights of the consumer when personal data are transferred from the country in which they are collected to another country.
18.11. When data processing is conducted in another country, all reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that adequate security measures are in place and that the data protection principles set out in this Code are respected. The use of the ICC model clauses covering agreements between the originator of the marketing list and the processor or user in another country is recommended.1
Where the cost to consumers of accessing a message or communicating with the marketer is higher than the standard cost of postage or telecommunications, e.g. “premium rate” for an online message or telephone number, this cost should be made clear to consumers, expressed either as “cost per minute” or as “cost per message”. When this information is provided on-line, consumers should be clearly informed at the time when they are about to access the message or online service, and be allowed a reasonable period of time to disconnect without incurring the charge.
20.1. Marketing communication associated with the practice of sending unsolicited products to consumers who are then asked for payment (inertia selling), including statements or suggestions that recipients are required to accept and pay for such products, should be avoided.
20.2. Marketing communication which solicits a response constituting an order for which payment will be required (e.g. an entry in a publication) should make this unambiguously clear.
20.3. Marketing communication soliciting orders should not be presented in a form which might be mistaken for an invoice, or otherwise falsely suggest that payment is due.
21. Marketing communication should not appear to condone or encourage actions which contravene the law, self-regulatory codes or generally accepted standards of environmentally responsible behaviour.
22.1. These general rules on responsibility apply to all forms of marketing communication.
22.2. Responsibility for the observance of the rules of conduct laid down in the Code rests with the marketer whose products are the subject of the marketing communication, with the communications practitioner or agency, and with the publisher, media owner or contractor.
22.3. Marketers have overall responsibility for the marketing communication for their products.
22.4. Agencies or other practitioners should exercise due care and diligence in the preparation of marketing communication and should operate in such a way as to enable marketers to fulfil their responsibilities.
22. 5 . Publishers, media owners or contractors, who publish, transmit or distribute marketing communication, should exercise due care in the acceptance of them and their presentation to the public.
22.6. Individuals employed by a firm, company or institution falling into any of the above categories and who take part in the planning, creation, publication or transmission of a marketing communication are responsible, to an extent commensurate with their respective positions, for ensuring that the standards of the Code are observed and should act accordingly.
22.7. The Code applies to the marketing communication in its entire content and form, including testimonials and statements, and audio or visual material originating from other sources. The fact that the content or form of a marketing communication may originate wholly or in part from other sources does not justify non-observance of the Code rules.
23.1. Selfregulation is implemented locally by the national selfregulation bodies and internationally – by the International Jury for Marketing Practices with ICC
23.2. The Code and the principles enshrined in it, should be adopted and implemented, nationally and internationally, by the relevant local, national or regional selfregulatory bodies. The Code should also be applied, where appropriate, by all organisations, companies and individuals involved and at all stages in the marketing communication process.
23.3. Marketers, communications practitioners or advertising agencies, publishers, media-owners and contractors should be familiar with the Code and with other relevant local self-regulatory guidelines on advertising and other marketing communication, and should familiarise themselves with decisions taken by the appropriate self-regulatory body.
Requests for interpretation of the principles contained in this Code may be submitted to the ICC Code Interpretation Panel.7
24.1. No member of NCSR - marketer, communications practitioner or advertising agency, publisher, media owner or contractor should be party to the publication or distribution of an advertisement or other marketing communication which has been found unacceptable by the NCSR bodies.
24.2. All members are encouraged to include in their contracts and other agreements,
pertaining to advertising and other marketing communication, a statementcommitting the signatories to adhere to the applicable self-regulatory standards and to respect decisions and rulings made by the appropriate self- regulatory body.
For the purposes of this Code:
the term “advertising” or “advertisement” means any form of marketing communication, in connection with trade, job or profession, carried by the media, usually in return for payment or other valuable consideration, aiming at promoting the sale of goods and services, including real estates, rights and obligations;
the term “advertising through games and lotteries” means commercial communication, including invitation to the consumer to take part in game or competition, based on accidental gain, or information that the consumer has already been selected as winner in such a game or competition and has a right of award or gain;
the term “advertising agency” means every physical person or legal entity, which offers service in the field of the various form of commercial communication including planning, design and production, media planning and buying, researches, consulting etc.;
the term “advertising message/ communication” means any form of presenting a product, including its packaging;
the term “advertiser” means every physical person or legal entity, which directly or indirectly promotes goods, services, rights, obligations, trade, trade marks, symbols etc. on its own or through an agent or intermediate;
the term “alcohol/alcoholic drinks” means beer, wine and spirit drink (as per § 1, p. 17 îò Health Act, ‘Spirit Drinks’ are alcohol drinks above 15% volume content of alcohol);
the term “actions in public interest” means actions in defense of health, safety and security of the population; protection of the cultural heritage; support for prevention and disclosure of crimes and abuse of power or prevention of the society from the threat to be seriously mislead;
the term “association” means industry organization defending the interests of its members;
the term “charity advertising” means communication aiming at collection of funds for charity, I cash or other consideration, promoting the interests of the charity or philanthropic organization;
the term “children” means every individual below 18 years of age
the term “claim” for the purposes of this code means a formal document, complaint, signal, plea or request, concerning any form of commercial communication. The claim can contain prima facie proof of breach of the ethical Code or to raise concerns about possible breach requiring further investigation.
the term “commercial (marketing) communication” includes advertising as well as other techniques, such as promotions, sponsorships, and direct marketing, and should be interpreted broadly to mean any form of communication produced directly by or on behalf of marketers intended primarily to promote products or to influence consumer behaviour, regardless of the type of media used; the term “corporate internet page” is a site owned by a marketer fully or in its majority.
the term “communication channel”/”media” means each place or tool, through which individuals are directing advertising message or any form of commercial communication to the consumer
the term “comparative advertising” means means commercial communications, through which directly or indirectly identifies a competitor or its product, by making a comparison with the products of the marketer and their competitive advantages are underlined;
the term “complaint” for the purposes of this code means a formal document, claim, plea or request, concerning any form of commercial communication.
the term “consumer” means any person who can reasonably be expected to be affected by a marketing communication, whether as an individual or as a trade customer or user;
the term “corporate/company communication” means message or statement of a company to media, annual reports, statements on public policy etc.
the term “direct marketing” comprises all communication activities with the intention of offering goods or services or transmitting commercial messages, presented in any medium and aimed at informing and soliciting a response from the addressee, as well as any service directly related thereto;
the term “distant sale” means any commercial activity, implemented through communication from a distance, without the physical presence of the both sides of the deal;
the term "editorial content” means news, political, social or financial content, whose main purpose is to inform or comment, but not to advertise/promote;
the term “electronic media” refers to any media providing electronic, interactive communications, such as the internet, online services and electronic and communication networks including the telephone;
the term "good commercial practice” refers to the standards, defining the market behaviour, resulting from the applicable laws and the usual trade relationships and which are not in breach of the good social norms;
the term “hidden advertising” means advertising message, pretending to be other for of non-commercial communication (an article, editorial news etc.);
the term “imitation” means unauthorized use of material from commercial communication of others;
the term “indecent advertising” means every commercial communication, which attracts the attention and the interest of the consumers in an publicly unacceptable , offensive or scandalous manner;
the term “interactive services” means each communication, directed to the consumer and allowing the receiving party to send back a message, including an action (response, order etc.) and which may happen regardless from the limitations of time and space;
the term “market research”, which includes social and opinion research, is the gathering, processing and and interpretation of information about individuals or organizations using statistical and analytical tools and techniques of applied social science to gain insight or support decision making. It is implicit that the identity of the respondent will not be revelaed to the information user without explicit conscent and no sales approach will be made to them as a direct result of them having provided information;
the term “marketer” means persons, including advertisers, specialists involved in sales promotions and/or direct marketing, which are publishing and distributing commercial communications related to their products;
the term “marketing/commercial communication" includes advertising as well as other techniques, such as promotions, sponsorships, and direct marketing, and should be interpreted broadly to mean any form of communication produced directly by or on behalf of marketers intended primarily to promote products or to influence consumer behaviour, regardless of the type of media used;
the term ”media”/”communication channel” means each place or tool, through which individuals are directing advertising message or any form of commercial communication to the consumer;
the term “misleading advertising” means any commercial communication, which in any way, including the way of its presentation, leads or may lead the consumers it is reaching or is addressed to, into delusion and thus may influence their economic behaviour or to damage the interests of a competitor;
the term “monitoring” means system for surveillance of the conformity of the commercial communications with the Code;
the term “offer” means any presentation or solicitation for the sale or purchase of products;
the term “personal data” means any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual, that reveals his/her physical, psychological, mental, family, economic, cultural or social identity;
the term "product" refers to anything that constitutes the subject of an advertisement; this usually means goods or services, but is not restrictive: where appropriate the Code may be applied more widely, e.g. to concepts;
the term "professional or trade secret" means facts, information, decisions and data, connected to trade activity and generally every information the revealing of which may threaten the trade interests or the prestige of a third person; the protection of which is in the interest of the holders of the rights, for which they have taken relevant measures. The professional secret does not constitute a trade secret “by virtue of office”, as defined by the Act for protection of the classified information;
the term “social advertising” means advertising message, aiming to form public opinion;
the term “sponsorship” refers to any commercial agreement by which a sponsor, for the mutual benefit of the sponsor and sponsored party, contractually provides financing or other support in order to establish an association between the sponsor's image, brands or products and a sponsorship property, in return for rights to promote this association and/or for the granting of certain agreed direct or indirect benefits;
the term “stop list” ("Robinson List") means the administration and operation of a suppression file of consumers who have registered a wish not to receive unsolicited direct marketing communication using a specific medium, against which marketing lists are matched;
the term “subconscious level of consideration” means emotional notion for advertising, caused by the impact on the human memory, which the person is not aware of;
the term “testimonial” means communication for a product, made personally by an individual, based on personal experience;
the term “unfair competition” means every action or lack of action in implementing of trade, which is in contradiction with the good commercial practice and damages or ay harm the interests of the competitors in their relationships;
September 25, 2009