14 December 2012
European self-regulation guidelines for the marketing of cosmetics will be introduced in Finland. These guidelines will point the way to responsible marketing for cosmetics companies.
Cosmetics Europe, a European cosmetics sector organisation, has published self-regulation guidelines for cosmetics marketing which its member companies are committed to complying with. In Finland, the Finnish Cosmetics, Toiletry and Detergent Association, the Association of Finnish Advertisers and the Central Chamber of Commerce were involved in producing an official translation of the guidelines. The Finnish Consumer Ombudsman as the authority supervising marketing has examined the guidelines and considers them comprehensive.
The object of the guidelines is to increase the consumers’ satisfaction with cosmetics marketing and their possibilities of making conscious purchasing decisions. The basic assumption is that marketing should be honest and truthful. The advertiser must be able to prove any claims made concerning the products. When processing images, it must be ensured that the advertisement does not give a deceptive impression of the product’s properties.
If the product properties are highlighted using endorsements by public figures or expert recommendations, such recommendations must be genuine, responsible and verifiable. Further, recommendations of this type cannot make up for not proving that any claims made concerning the products are true.
The self-regulation guidelines also emphasise the social corporate responsibility of the cosmetics industry. The advertisements may not be demeaning to, or discriminatory against, either gender or a certain ethnic group, nor may they exploit superstition, scare-mongering or inexperience.
Examples of misleading marketing are attached to the guidelines. The use of false lashes in a mascara advertisement, for example, is likely to give the consumer a wrong idea of the product if the same end results cannot be achieved with mascara only. The wrinkles on a model for eye cream, on the other hand, may only be photoshopped to the extent that the end result is similar to what you would achieve with the cream.
The authorities and advertisers have worked together to adopt the self-regulation guidelines as part of national practices in addition to the rules for cosmetics advertising issued by the Finnish Consumer Agency in 2007.
”Shared international guidelines will make it easier for companies to act responsibly and to build up consumer trust in advertising”, says Consumer Ombudsman and Director General of the Finnish Consumer Agency Päivi Hentunen.
”Advertisers should remember that rather than studying advertising material in detail, consumers only see the overall impression it creates. If the principal message is deceptive, this cannot be put to rights by the small print", notes Director Anja Peltonen from the Finnish Consumer Agency.
”The self-regulation guidelines are a clear indication that the cosmetics industry is committed to responsible marketing of their products. Adopting pan-European guidelines as part of our national practice clarifies the rules for marketing and is an important step forward in self-regulation, says Ritva Hanski-Pitkäkoski, Managing Director of the Association of Finnish Advertisers.
”Adopting the self-regulation guidelines as part of the national practice is a significant move for actors in this field. It will support companies in planning their marketing efforts, as the guidelines are applicable in all European countries. The self-regulation guidelines also make it easier for companies to meet the requirements laid down in the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation (1223/2009) concerning marketing claims. The sector is committed to complying with the guidelines and monitoring compliance with them. We will actively inform our members of the guidelines", says Director-General Sari Karjomaa from the Finnish Cosmetics, Toiletry and Detergent Association.