11. How Do Legal Constraints Affect The Advertising?


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Neal Widdows Profile
Neal Widdows answered
Legal constraints vary around the world. Advertising is used to set a particular product apart from its competitors. Therefore, it is always desirable for campaigns to stress what is different and special about a product. However, comparative terminology (this brand is better/lasts longer/is more effective than another brand) is forbidden in some countries. It is illegal to use it in Germany whereas in other countries such as the United Kingdom it is allowed although there, competitors must not be named and products cannot be explicitly compared. A key legal constraint that affects advertising is the need for the advertising campaign and slogans not to make spurious or deceptive claims about a product. Also, advertisements cannot be inflammatory, offensive or dangerous.
There are legal constraints on what products can be advertised as well. In particular, pharmaceutical products are often restricted, and different countries will restrict or forbid toy, alcohol or tobacco advertising. Food and junk food advertising, especially during children’s television programmes is now a key issue. Each country will have specific legal requirements as to the permitted length of adverts; the time period a slot of adverts may be shown on television or radio and the required time in between these slots. There is also huge potential for advertisers to use the internet to their advantage and pop-ups, adware and spam are all common. Legally, these are often allowed but there is the risk that they could provoke angry responses, reported cases and legal battles. Again, states and countries have differing rules for this which may include clauses that demand a free way of unsubscribing from the mailing list and that the spam must be sent from valid email accounts. The internet has also caused the issue of trademarks and the use of names on search engines to be raised. Search engines also have strict controls over what kind of products can be advertised and again, alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals will often be strictly controlled.

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