Advertising containing blurry images of Rivals products is prohibited – Advertising, Marketing & Branding

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The Advertising Commission issued a landmark ruling regarding the practice of comparative advertising on August 9, 2022. The ruling relates to advertising published in the catalog offered to consumers each month by a world-renowned cosmetics and fragrance company that compared two of its fragrances with the products of two world-renowned perfume brands.

The advertisement published in the advertiser’s catalog concerning its products contains the expressions of “It’s very similar to the smell of a world famous perfume!” “Why would you pay…TL for a similar scent?”. Pricing information written in this article is included in advertising material, catalogs, and the blurred images of the perfume bottles of the world famous brands compared are presented in the advertiser’s mentioned catalogs.

The Advertising Commission has decided, with respect to the images contained in the advertisements, that such a practice constitutes a breach of the ban on direct comparative advertising under the Commercial Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices Regulations (“ by-law”) ruling that “Comparative advertisements are permitted only on the condition that they do not contain the trademark, logo, trade name, trade name or other distinguishing features of competitors.” The Advertising Commission finds that blurry images of perfume bottles belonging to world-renowned perfume brands, subject to comparison in advertising, are recognizable by target consumers due to the distinctive color and unique shape of the bottles being recognizable even the images are blurred.

The chamber separately evaluated the expressions and claims contained in the advertisement, concluded that the advertisement compares the scent of the perfumes advertised with that of world-famous luxury perfumes, pointing out that luxury brands are expensive in relation to the advertiser’s brands. We only evaluate expressions like “Why would you pay…for a similar scent” disparage and dishonor the competitor’s products, such comparison results in unfair competition and the advertisement is a violation of the regulation holding that “Comparative advertising is permitted provided it does not constitute unfair competition and does not disparage or discredit the products, services, practices or other characteristics of competitors.”

Finally, the Commission considered that the allegation concerning the similarity of the perfumes compared remained unproven on the basis of the insufficient evidence provided by the advertiser. Therefore, the advertisement violated the provisions stating that “Comparative ads can only be published on the condition that the claims are justified by objective, measurable and quantified data, and are proven by tests, reports or scientific documents”.

According to the regulations, the practice of direct comparative advertising is considered illegal because it is prohibited under them to mention the product name, trademark, logo, trade name, trade name or other characteristics. distinguishing features of competitors in advertisements. In fact, under the Regulation, the use of the trademark or distinctive signs of competitors in advertisements is expressly mentioned among the illicit practices. Direct comparative advertisements containing the distinctive features of competitors’ products are not legally permitted under Turkish law. Only indirect comparative advertising that does not contain the brand and distinctive characteristics of competitors is authorized.

In this respect, the Commission’s decision is of considerable importance in determining the extent of the practice of direct comparative advertising. The Council held that it was considered illegal to present the images of the competing products in a way recognizable by the group of consumers concerned because of their distinctive characteristics such as the color and the shape of the perfume bottles, even if the Contained images of competing products are unclear. but blurry.

We are of the opinion that the decision complies with the applicable legal provisions governing the practice of comparative advertising under Turkish law and is in line with the previously established approach of the Advertising Council. This could constitute unlawful comparative advertising when the distinctive characteristics of competing products are included in the advertising in an identifiable manner. Such a practice could have the effect of circumventing the law which prohibits direct comparative advertising and of authorizing advertisements likely to undermine fair competition.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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[email protected] September 1, 2022


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