We see advertising absolutely everywhere but we have stopped asking questions about what advertisers have the right or not to do. Whether it’s the posters in the stations, the leaflets in the mailboxes or the super balls-busting double-ads on Youtube (the ones you can’t even pass), we don’t even pay attention to the content of the advertisements anymore and yet , they know very well what they are doing. And of course, there are a lot of rules to follow.
1. “Do not litter on public roads”
When you are given an advertisement on a flyer in the street, in a business or a place of culture (anywhere in fact), you should be able to read in very small the inscription “Do not litter on the public highway”. It is law L. 541-10-1 of the Environmental Code which has made this sentence compulsory and it is in your interest to learn the number of the law by heart to be an exemplary citizen.
2. “Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health, consume in moderation”
Since the Evin law, the statement “Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health, consume in moderation” is mandatory on all advertisements concerning alcoholic beverages. This is valid for posters in the metro or ads on TF1 but also for Topito stories and memes. In conclusion, drink but not too much.
3. “Retouched photo”
Since October 2017, it is mandatory to add the mention “retouched photography” on all photos used for commercial purposes if the body appearance of the models has been modified with retouching software. It would be cool if they did the same with the food because we’re a little tired of being ripped off when we see beautiful burgers in pictures and ugly in real life.
4. “For your health, practice regular physical activity”
When an advertisement concerns healthy food, the advertiser has the obligation to add the words “For your health, practice regular physical activity” and sometimes even the link to the “mangerbouger.fr” site.
When a brand sends you an email to tell you that there is a 12% reduction on Chocapic or duvet covers, there must be a simple way at the bottom of the email to oppose the receipt of new emails . Usually, it’s a simple “unsubscribe” button, but strangely, you continue to receive emails all your life even if you unsubscribe 15 times.
6. All anglicisms must be translated
Surely you have already seen huge posters in the street or in the metro with catchphrases like “We all deserve a little chill”. If this is the case, you may have noticed that at the bottom of the poster, it is written “*Chill = to relax” because the law on the use of the French language requires the translation of all foreign words. A few years ago, you couldn’t even use them in an advertisement if there was an equivalent French term.
7. “Stop Pub” stickers must be respected
Since January 1, 2021, failure to respect the “Stop Pub” stickers on mailboxes can be punished by €1,500 for an individual and €7,500 for a company. Can’t wait to sue the scammers who distribute locksmiths’ and plumbers’ leaflets for €3,000.
8. Leaflets on windshields are prohibited
It is also brand new: since January 2021, it is now forbidden to place advertising leaflets on car windshields. This law aims to limit pollution due to unsolicited printed matter thrown on the public highway. In fact, it has become forbidden to give printed advertising without the agreement of the person who receives it and it is much better that way.
9. Unfair competition is not permitted
When a brand broadcasts an advertising message, it does not have the right to imitate that of another company (and especially of a competitor). She also has no right to denigrate another company or its products, nor to use someone else’s work or brand without her authorization. This means that all the brands that advertised in France by clashing with another brand, McDonald’s and Burger King for example, in fact had the competitor’s authorization for advertising.
10. Product placements are regulated
Since 2010, product placements have been supervised by the CSA, the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel. Originally, they were only allowed in cinematographic works, audiovisual fiction and music videos but it is now allowed to use product placement in entertainment programs on the internet (YouTube videos, Instrgram stories etc.) . On the other hand, it is obligatory to indicate the presence of a product placement by a banner at the beginning of the program. Normally, product placement is prohibited in programs aimed at children, but when you see YouTube channels opening toys, you realize that it is not really controlled.