Another increase in complaints about advertising


INSIGHT
Published
May 28th '24
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In 2023, the number of complaints about Dutch advertising increased compared to the previous year. The figures show that the Advertising Code Committee is and remains relevant. This is evident from the annual report of the Advertising Code Foundation (SRC), has been published.

 

  • The number of complaints received by the Advertising Code Foundation increased by 16 percent last year.
  • In 2023, 63% of decisions were judged to have violated the Dutch Advertising Code.
  • In 96% of the violations, the advertiser has promised to follow the ruling and/or the (distribution of the) advertising in question has been withdrawn or adjusted.
  • Only in 4% did the advertiser ignore the ruling and was therefore classified as non-compliant.

 

These percentages indicate that self-regulation is an effective means of promoting responsible advertising.

 

Most complaints about misleading advertising

The SRC is the organization behind the independent Advertising Code Committee and has received more than 4,800 complaints in 2023. 82 percent of these complaints come from consumers, who know how to find their way to the easily accessible complaints desk. But more and more social interest groups are also making use of this. The complaints ultimately led to 433 substantive decisions. By far the most complaints are about misleading advertising. For example, because important information is missing, the price is incorrect or because the advertising is not honest about the composition of a product. Complaints are also made about advertising that is said to conflict with subjective standards, such as good taste and decency, with the Advertising Code Committee being the only desk that handles such complaints. The number of complaints about sustainability claims (such as climate neutral or environmentally friendly) also continues to rise.

 

If the Commission has ruled that there has been a violation, an advertiser will receive a recommendation to undo it. By 2023, 96% of advertisers who have received such a recommendation have agreed to follow it up. This year we will investigate how (communication about) the process surrounding the follow-up of statements can be clarified and tightened where necessary.

 

Further development of a tool to monitor influencers

Although few complaints about influencer marketing have been handled in 2023, the SRC has further developed the online tool, which can be used to monitor advertising on social media, in the past year. Since the recently launched influencer certificate, this is also used to view content from certified influencers. In this way, further professionalization of the sector is stimulated, so that responsible advertising is also made online.

 

You can read more figures about the number of complaints and decisions (classified by media, justification of products/services) and information about the activities of the SRC in the 2023 Annual Report. You can find the online version at www.administratiecode.nl/jaarverslag .

 

Source: Advertising Code Foundation (SRC)

 

About Advertising Code Foundation (SRC) & Stichting Reclame Code (SRC)

The SRC has been the body in the field of self-regulation of advertising for over 55 years. The SRC promotes responsible advertising with the aim of ensuring the reliability and credibility of advertising.

 

The SRC deals with the self-regulation system of advertising in The Netherlands. Self-regulation means that the advertising industry (advertisers, advertising agencies and the media) formulates the rules with which advertising must comply. Both the advertising industry and consumers are represented in the board of SRC  and in the Advertising Code Committee and the Board of Appeal.

 

The advertising rules can be found in the Dutch Advertising Code. Anyone who feels that an advertisement violates the Dutch Advertising Code may submit a complaint to the Advertising Code Committee. This independent body decides after a transparent and swift procedure whether an advertisement conflicts with the Dutch Advertising Code. In case of violation of the Code, the Committee will recommend the advertiser(s) involved to discontinue such a way of advertising. The Compliance department will thereupon check whether the advertiser has put the recommendation into effect. SRC also offers the advertising industry services like Copy Advice and training, to help them prevent violating the rules. In this way, SRC encourages responsible advertising.

 

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