Advertising Policy

Last updated: 26 January 2023

1: Legality

Advertisements shall conform to the laws of the country where they are being served as well as the Oath of Advertising Practice.

2: Decency

An advertisement shall not use visual illustrations, words, or sounds that offend public decency. Advertisements shall not be obscene or offensive.

3: Honesty

An advertisement shall be framed so as not to abuse the trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience. Relevant factors likely to affect the decisions of consumers shall be communicated in such a way and at such times that consumers can take them into account.

4: Sexuality

An advertisement shall not exploit, depict or suggest sexual behaviour either in obvious or implied context.

5: Gender discrimination

No gender shall be depicted as subservient, superior or inferior to the other, or as an object to satisfy the sexual pleasure of the other.

6: Superstition

An advertisement shall not promote or exploit superstitions or negative myths even if the superstitions or myths reflect an aspect of culture, philosophy, or societal norms.

7: Appeals to fear and distress

An advertisement shall not play on or exploit fear or distress in an attempt to induce patronage.

8: Minors

Special care shall be taken in advertisements directed to or featuring minors.

Such advertisements shall not undermine positive social behaviour, lifestyle, and attitude.

Products unsuitable for minors shall not be advertised in media targeted at them. Advertisements directed to minors shall not be inserted in the media where the editorial matter is unsuitable for them. Materials unsuitable for minors shall be identified as such.

9: Testimonials

An advertisement that contains a testimonial and endorsement shall be genuine and the models used shall be alive and suitable for the products and ideas they endorse in the advertisement.

10: Copyright

An advertisement shall not contain any item in breach of local and international copyright laws or omit anything that the laws on the intellectual property require. Copyright permission shall be obtained from the registered owner before the copyright may be used.

11: Privacy

The right of an individual to privacy shall be respected. Pictures, names, identities and properties of an individual shall not be used in a manner that suggests their endorsement without prior consent. A proper contractual agreement shall be entered into by the agency, advertising practitioner and individual and the contractual terms shall be respected by the parties.

12: Identity

An advertisement that solicits patronage or reaction shall show the correct name of the advertising practitioner as well as the street address where personal calls can be made to ascertain the genuineness of the claims contained in the advertisement.

Media organizations shall only accept or expose advertisements that indicate the proper identity of the sponsor except in a teaser advertisement.

Advertisements shall not bear signoffs as “committee of friends”, “concerned citizens”, or any other broad terms without verifiable names and addresses.

13: Camouflage

An advertisement shall be clearly distinguished as an advertisement and shall not be disguised as news. The use of headlines such as “News Flash” and “Breaking News” to introduce an advertisement is prohibited.

14: Religion

An advertisement shall not disparage or exploit religious beliefs, mislead people, or employ miracles as bait to elicit patronage. An ad that promotes a particular faith or belief shall not offend the right of people to hold contrary beliefs or convictions.

15: Violence

An advertisement shall not depict violence against people.

16: Advertisement for competing products and services

Two or more advertisements for competing or similar products or services shall not be placed adjacent to each other in print, outdoors, or electronic media.

17: Price

Advertising practitioners and agencies are encouraged to indicate the prices of products or services in their advertisements.

18: Product hype

Announcers, writers and other editorial personnel shall not engage in product hype or any form of product promotion that employs superlative, unsubstantiated or misleading claims, testimonials or descriptions.

19: Denigration

An advertisement shall not denigrate any person or group of persons, firm, organization, industry, commercial activity, profession or product, or seek to bring it or them into public contempt or ridicule.

20: Comparative advertising

(a) An advertisement shall not discredit, disparage, or attack other products, services, ideas personalities, or organizations unfairly, or exaggerate the nature or importance of competitive differences.

(b) An advertisement shall not imitate the slogans or illustrations of another advertising practitioner in a manner to mislead the consumer.

21: Offensive advertising

No advertising may offend against good taste or decency or be offensive to the public or sectoral values and sensitivities unless the advertising is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

Advertisements should contain nothing likely to cause serious or widespread or sectoral offence. The fact that a particular product, service or advertisement may be offensive to some is not in itself sufficient grounds for upholding an objection to an advertisement for that product or service. In considering whether an advertisement is offensive, consideration will be given, inter alia, to the context, medium, likely audience, the nature of the product or service, prevailing standards, degree of social concern, and public interest.

22: Money-back undertakings

Neither “guarantee” nor “warranty” nor any word derived from either, should be used in an advertisement to describe or refer to an undertaking, the substance of which is merely to refund the price of a product within a brief trial period to dissatisfied purchasers. Where such an undertaking is given in an advertisement the time within which claims must be made by consumers should be clearly stated and should make due allowance for the time taken for delivery and return of the product.

Where an advertiser, in an advertisement, makes an offer to refund part of the purchase price of a product under certain conditions, the period for which the offer is valid shall be stipulated in the advertisement.

23: Pricing policy

When any indication of cost is given in an advertisement regard should be had for the following provisions:

  1. The selling price at which the goods will be sold to the purchaser against immediate payment must be quoted in full. Such selling price must include all necessary or incidental costs without which the product cannot or may not be purchased, such as a deposit for a container.
  2. Where impracticable to include such costs in the quoted price the consumers’ liability to pay such costs must be stated prominently and in a font size not less than half the purchase price. (Refer to Clause 30 (Cellular telephones) of Section III.)
  3. The advertised price for travel packages must communicate:

1. Where the price may fluctuate due to currency fluctuation or other external factors the nature and possible extent of this fluctuation.

2. Where the advertised price is only available through a specific channel (e.g. on a specific airline).

3. Validity of sales period if seasonal rates apply.

4. Where compulsory payments to a third party cannot be collected by the advertiser in advance of the trip. Airline and Travel Agency price advertising should mention any obligation service fee or administration fee payable by the consumer.

  1. If a reference is made in an advertisement to more than one product, or more than one version of a single product, it should be clear to which product or version any quoted price relates. If a product is illustrated, and a price is quoted in conjunction with the illustration, advertisers should ensure that what is illustrated can be purchased for the price shown.

24: Financial advertising

Advertisements addressed to the general public for capital or financial products or services or financial information should, in addition to scrupulously observing the other provisions of this Code, so far as they are relevant, take special care to ensure that the public is fully aware of the nature of any commitment into which they may enter as a result of responding to the advertisement.

In this connection, the advertiser should remember that the complexities of finance may well be beyond many of those to whom the opportunities they offer appeal, and that, therefore, the advertiser bears a particular responsibility to ensure that advertisements in no sense take advantage, wittingly or not, of the lack of experience or knowledge or the credulity of those to whose attention it is likely to come.

25: Alcohol Advertisements

(a) An advertisement for alcoholic beverages shall not suggest or imply that alcoholic beverages have health benefits.

(b) An advertisement for alcoholic beverages shall not be associated with piloting, driving, riding or any sports activity.

(c) An advertisement for alcoholic beverages shall not show persons stating that they drank alcoholic beverages when they were children.

(d) An advertisement for alcoholic beverages shall depict only moderate and responsible drinking.

(e) advertisements for alcoholic beverages shall not show persons wearing clothing typical of the healthcare professions, or healthcare trades.

26: Condom Advertisements

An advertisement for condoms shall not encourage indecency in the use of the product. The emphasis of message shall be focused on health and family planning applications.

An advertisement for condoms shall not dramatize or in any other manner depict or insinuate the sexual act by word, graphic, sound or action.

An advertisement for condoms shall carry the following health warning: Be Warned: “The Condom is not 100% safe. Total abstinence or faithfulness is the best option.”

27: Alternative Medical Practices

An advertisement, promotion and other marketing communication activity concerned with alternative medical practice, products and treatments shall:

(a) specify the name and address of the dispenser or advertising practitioner who must be registered by the appropriate regulatory body;

(b) specify the particular ailment to which the product applies and shall not claim efficacy over a range of conditions; and

(c) have dosage specifications.

28: Medicines

  1. The relevant drug agencies in an advertiser’s target country govern the promotion of medicines and the conditions of ill health that they can be offered to treat.
  1. Medicines shall have an appropriate registration number from the appropriate government agencies before they are advertised and any claims made for products shall conform with the authorization. Medicinal claims shall not be made for unauthorized products.
  2. Prescription-only medicines may not be advertised to the public.
  3. Health-related claims in Advertising Communications addressed only to the medical, dental, veterinary and allied professions are exempt from the Code.
  4. Advertising communications shall include the name of the product, an indication of what it is for, text such as ‘Always read the label’ and the common name of the active ingredient if there is only one. There shall be no suggestion that any medicine is either food or cosmetic.
  5. Advertisers shall not use fear or anxiety to promote medicines or recovery from illness and shall not suggest that using or avoiding a product can affect normal good health.
  6. Illustrations of the effect or action of any product shall be accurate.
  7. Advertising communications for medicines shall not be addressed to children.
  8. Advertisers shall not use health professionals or celebrities to endorse medicines.
  1. Advertising communications for any medicine shall not claim that its effects are as good as or better than those of another identifiable product.
  2. Homoeopathic medicinal products shall be registered with the appropriate governmental agencies.
  3. Any product information given in the advertising communication shall be confined to what appears on the label. Advertising communications shall include a warning to consult a doctor if symptoms persist (as may be stipulated by the appropriate health authority.
  4. Advertisement for herbal/alternative medicine is not prohibited and is subject to the aforesaid rules on the advertisement of medicine; however, an advertisement for herbal/ alternative medicine must state that the claims of health benefits have not been clinically verified (except where it has been verified).
  5. This article does not preclude responsible advertising for any products including those that shall be eaten only in moderation.
  6. Claims of nutritional or health benefits shall be considered in the context of a balanced diet or lifestyle or both.
  7. Nutrition or health claims shall be supported by sound scientific evidence.
  8. Generalized claims such as ‘goodness’ or ‘wholesome’ shall not exaggerate the nutritional or health benefits of a food product or an ingredient.
  9. Reference to the properties of an ingredient shall not give a misleading impression of the properties of the whole product. The scientific meaning of the word “energy”, calorific value, shall not be confused with its colloquial meaning of physical vigour.
  10. Advertisements shall not encourage or condone excessive consumption of any food.

29: Weight Control Advertisements

  1. A weight reduction regime in which the intake of energy is lower than its output is the most common self-treatment for achieving weight reduction.
  2. Any claims made for the effectiveness or action of a weight reduction method or product shall be backed if appropriate by rigorous trials on people; testimonials that are not supported by trials do not constitute substantiation.
  3. Obesity is frequently associated with medical conditions and treatments for it shall not be advertised to the public unless they are to be used under suitably qualified supervision.
  4. Advertising communications for any weight reduction regime or establishment shall neither be directed at nor contain anything that will appeal particularly to, people who are under 18 or those in whom weight reduction would produce a potentially harmful body weight.
  5. Advertising Communications shall not suggest that it is desirable to be underweight.
  6. Advertisers shall show that weight reduction is achieved by loss of body fat before claims is made for a weight reduction aid or regimen.
  7. Combining a diet with an unproven weight reduction method does not justify making weight reduction claims for that method.
  8. Advertisers shall be able to show that their diet plans are nutritionally well balanced (except for producing a deficit of energy) and this shall be assessed in relation to the kind of person who would be using them.
  9. Vitamins and minerals do not contribute to weight reduction but may be offered to slimmers as a safeguard against any shortfall when dieting.
  10. Advertisers promoting Very Low-Calorie Diets shall do so only for short-term use and shall encourage users to take medical advice before embarking on them.
  11. Advertising Communications for diet aids shall make clear how they work. Prominence shall be given to the role of the diet and Advertising Communication shall not give the impression that dieters cannot fail or can eat as much as they like and still lose weight.
  12. Advertising Communications shall not contain claims that people can lose precise amounts of weight within a stated period or that weight or fat can be lost from specific parts of the body.
  13. Claims that individuals have lost exact amounts of weight shall be compatible with good medical and nutritional practice, shall state the period involved and shall not be based on unrepresentative experiences.
  14. Resistance and aerobic exercise can improve muscular condition and tone; this can improve body shape and posture. Advertisers shall be able to substantiate any claims that such methods used alone or in conjunction with a diet plan can lead to weight or inch reduction. Advertising communications for intensive exercise programs shall encourage users to check with a doctor before starting.
  15. Short-term loss of girth may be achieved by wearing a tight-fitting garment. This shall not be portrayed as permanent, nor shall it be confused with weight or fat reduction.

30: Vitamins, Minerals and Other Dietary Supplements

  1. Advertisers shall hold scientific evidence for any claim that their vitamin or mineral product or other food supplement is beneficial to health. In assessing claims the ASP will bear in mind recommendations made by governmental regulatory bodies.
  2. A well-balanced diet shall provide the vitamins and minerals needed each day by a normal, healthy individual. Advertisers may offer vitamin and mineral supplements to certain groups as a safeguard to help maintain good health but shall not imply that they can be used to prevent or treat illness, elevate mood or enhance normal performance. Without well-established proof.
  1. No advertising communication shall suggest that there is widespread vitamin or mineral deficiency or that it is necessary or therapeutic to augment a well-balanced diet. Individuals shall not be encouraged to swap a healthy diet for supplementation.
  2. People who are potentially at risk of deficiency may be safeguarded by vitamin and mineral supplementation. Products Shall be appropriate and advertising communications shall specify the group they are addressing when claiming or implying that health may be maintained. Indicative groups include:

(i) people who eat nutritionally inadequate meals

(ii) the elderly

(iii) children and adolescents

(iv) convalescents

(v) athletes in training or others who are physically very active

(vi) women of childbearing age

(vii) lactating and pregnant women

(viii) people on restricted food or energy diets

(viii) people who smoke

  1. Serious vitamin and mineral depletion caused by illness shall be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Self-medication shall not be promoted on the basis that it will influence the speed or extent of recovery.