Within the Guidelines, the term ‘advertisement’ is understood to mean a commercial message aimed at promoting the sale or use of goods, services, or brands. In addition, self-promotion i.e., advertising one's own products or services is also considered a form of advertisement. The Guidelines also regulate other forms of commercial cooperation in which influencers are engaged.
Why is the tagging of advertising content important?
The correct tagging of advertising and promotional content is considered to be an obligation arising from both ethical and legal principles. Consumers should be properly informed about whether a given message is neutral or commercial in nature. The responsibility in this respect lies primarily with the influencers, advertising agencies, and brand owners advertising products and/or services directly or through third parties. These are the market participants to whom the Guidelines have been specifically addressed.
The Guidelines principally aim to unify the method of informing consumers about advertising content on the influencer market, and also aim to spread awareness as to proper product advertising, and sensitise consumers to behaviours that are deemed in violation of consumer interests.
How should ads be tagged?
The Guidelines recommend using both of the tools provided on a given marketing platform (if the platform provides automatic tagging of advertisements), as well as tags added by influencers themselves. According to the Guidelines, a tag should be:
- placed in a visible location;
- distinctive, in relation to the rest of the content;
- written in a clear and sufficiently large font;
- in Polish, as long as the profile is kept in that language; and
- use clear, unambiguous indications as to the commercial nature of the publication.
The recommended examples of tags presented in the framework of the Guidelines are the Polish language versions of the following: #advertisement; #advertisingmaterial;#advertisingcooperation; #advertisingcooperation; #sponsoredpost; #sponsoredmaterial; #paidcooperation; #autopromotion; #gift.
What types of tags should be avoided?
The guidelines recommend avoiding:
- tags which are illegible, ambiguous, or incomprehensible (e.g.: placed in an invisible place, in a colour that blends with the background, written in an unclear or illegible font, or using vague terms that do not specifically indicate the commercial nature of the publication, e.g. cooperation);
- tags in a language other than Polish (unless the profile is kept in that language);
- tags in an abbreviated form (e.g., ad, promo, spons, autopromo).
Legal consequences of missing or misleading tagging of promotional materials
Non-compliance with proper tagging can have legal consequences for the influencer, the advertising agency, as well as for the advertiser. The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection can order:
- the payment of a fine of up to 10 percent of the entrepreneur's (e.g. advertisers) turnover;
- the abandonment of the practice that violates the collective interests of consumers;
- the removal of the ongoing effects of the violation;
- the publication of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection’s decision.
In addition, the abovementioned entities can face civil liability with respect to consumers against whom they have used unfair market practices related to the tagging of advertising materials.
We will monitor the progress and outcomes of the Guidelines and update Engage accordingly. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Authored by Ewa Kacperek, Aleksandra Kuc-Makulska, and Martyna Sieczka.