The recognisability of marketing and advertising is one of the key principles of consumer protection and plays a central role in monitoring by the Consumer Ombudsman. Consumers have the right to know when they are being influenced by commercial means and who is the party behind such efforts. In her editorial, Consumer Ombudsman Päivi Hentunen writes about her six thesis for improving the consumer’s position and the developments of regulation and online marketing.
Finnish consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter 5/2017 is a recognizability of advertising theme issue and it covers following cases, for example:
- Branded music supervised: In early 2017, the Consumer Ombudsman’s attention was drawn to a song and music video by a Finnish artist Arttu Wiskari. Home renovation themed song was completed in marketing collaboration with Saint-Gobain Rakennustuotteet Oy/Gyproc. A music video provided insufficient information on commercial collaboration and it was not clear to the consumer, on some occasions, that the video was produced to provide commercial visibility to Gybroc products.
- Consumer Ombudsman and youtuber networks resist covert advertising: The Consumer Ombudsman organised a collaboration meeting with youtuber networks Splay Suomi Oy, Troot Network Oy Ltd (formerly Töttöröö) and United Screens Oy in September 2017. At the meeting, good practices for ensuring the recognisability of advertising were discussed.
- Column: Invisible salesman: In the digital economy, the big names in marketing are AdTech companies which have sophisticated IT systems for targeted marketing and consumer analysis. A social media enterprise is aware of your travel destination and advertisement links displayed by a search engine relate precisely to a topic you just discussed with your friends. Companies conducting marketing work online at levels on which their operations remain invisible to consumers.
- Expert article by Council for Mass Media: Is the Council for Mass Media a fox guarding the henhouse? There is nothing extraordinary or dishonest about content marketing or “native marketing” as long as the reader is aware that the advertisement is in fact an advertisement, writes Elina Grundström, the Chair of the Council for Mass Media.
Consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter is published 6 times per year. The issue 6/17 will be published near year-end and it is a financial services theme issue (credits and loans, payments, debt collection). You can find the previous issues in the Archive.