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IRIS 2015-6:1/35

Slovakia

The Slovak Advertising Standards Council accepts comparative advertising

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Juraj Polak

Radio and Television of Slovakia (PSB)

On 16 April 2015, the Slovak Advertising Standards Council (SASC) ruled that TV advertisements of the company “Unilever Slovensko” that compared its products (“Rexona” deodorants) to the products of its main competition (“Nivea” deodorants) does not violate the provisions of the Code of Advertising Practise.

The advertisements presented men and women during various physically challenging activities, while emphasising the special characteristic of the promoted product - the prevention of the yellow spots which originate from usage of a deodorant on white clothing. The advertisements claimed in a verbal and visual manner that “Rexona” deodorants are more effective in preventing yellow spots than its competition, “Nivea” deodorants.

SASC received complaints against the above-mentioned TV advertisements since they allegedly damage the reputation of the advertiser’s main competitor “Beiersdorf“, the producer of “Nivea” deodorants. During the official examination, the advertiser submitted its written opinion, in which he explained that the complainant misunderstood the purpose of the advertising campaign. The advertisements used comparative advertising, which - although rarely used in Slovakia - is fully in line with both the Act on advertising, as well as the Code of Advertising Practise. The advertiser also stated that the higher effectivity of his product is confirmed by an independent research study. The results were presented to SASC.

During the examination, SASC explained that comparative advertising is admissible under the Code of Advertising Practise, only if it compares products with the same use or intended for the same purpose and if it objectively compares one or more concrete, specific, substantial and verifiable characteristics of the products, including their prices.

In this case, SASC considered the comparison as objective, since the advertiser compared products intended for the same purpose and the compared characteristic was substantial, specific and verifiable. The comparison was supported by independent tests and the claims used in the advertisements where verified by its results.

SASC therefore concluded that the advertisements did not disparage the competition and the comparison was made in a manner which may be considered as ethical and objective and thus in line with the provisions of the Code of Advertising Practise.

References
Rada pre reklamu, 20 (04-04) "Rexona" SK
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=17567
 
  Decision of SASC from 16 April 2015