Promotional tricks that can cost you money and reputation

    What is effective advertising? Of course, the one that leads us to the target. She must convince us of the advantages of the product and make us want to buy it. However, the principle “see the result - I see no obstacles” often turns into the fact that in the struggle for the consumer companies use any means, and sometimes in advertising there are overt provocations, near-sexual subjects or ambiguous turns. Creative artists worked especially brightly in the late 1990s - early 2000s. Everyone remembers the classics of shock marketing - LG vacuum cleaners from Eldorado with the slogan “Sose for a penny” and a chain of stores with “Euroset, Euroset, prices just oh ...”.

    If at the beginning of the century this was possible, today the expert council for monitoring compliance with the Federal Law “On Advertising” is working harder. Therefore, in the history of the latest advertising there are much more harmless grounds for a ban.

    Ignorance of the law and the inability to work in today's realities does not exempt companies from responsibility, but leads to costly courts and fines.

    We have collected not the most famous, but symptomatic cases of unsuccessful advertising. So, what did the citizens in the FAS complain about and what kind of advertising was banned in the end, obliging business owners to pay a fine in retrospect of the last two years.

    Conscious citizens in civilian clothes

    In September of this year, an unusual vehicle drove around the city of Yaroslavl with a very noticeable advertisement. “∂∂AL IS SUCH?” - the cheerful bus addressed the people slyly at bus stops. And in fact there was one who decided to answer the question posed by Burger King.

    With complaints to the FAS addressed a kind attentive citizen. He noted that all the letters except the second in the first word are uppercase, and the second letter in the word “EDAL” is lowercase and looks like the letter “b”.

    In response to the request of the antitrust department, the Institute of Russian language. V.V. Vinogradov presented a linguistic analysis of the phrase used in the advertisement. According to its results, we found out that “the use of graphically similar letters in this case can be qualified as a case of a language game and deliberately giving the word“ Edal ”a graphic appearance similar to the graphic appearance of an obscene verb”.

    The expert assessment confirmed the presence in the advertisement of a violation of the ban on the use of swear words, obscene and offensive expressions established by law (part 6 of Article 5 of the Federal Law on Advertising).

    Burger RUS LLC, as an advertiser of inappropriate advertising, is ordered to eliminate the violation. Preparing for the initiation of an administrative offense case.The penalty for a peculiar sense of humor can range from 100,000 to 500,000 rubles.

    Another interesting incident occurred in the cultural capital. An unusual advertisement of the services of a real estate agency was posted in the front door of one of the residential buildings in St. Petersburg:
    “AlexanderA real estate agency. Same as everyone, only better!
    There are agencies for I, there are agents for E,
    and we will help you buy and sell, rent or rent any property.
    Consultation and evaluation for free. "

    Four lines of the text came under violation of two norms of the Advertising Law at once: incorrect comparison with a competitor (paragraph 1 and 4, part 2, article 5) and the use of swear and indecent words in advertising (part 6, article 5). In his defense, the advertiser reasonably noted that the verb “are” and the letter “e” does not refer to obscene vocabulary (taboo, obscene words). And in general in advertising of real estate agency services there is a specific comparison criterion: free consultation and evaluation. That is, unlike other agencies (which they did not specify), everything is fair.

    However, the FAS was not easy to deceive. Referring to the “repeated publications of various individuals on the Internet,” the commission recognized the expressions used in advertising as dirty and dysphemisms of the verb “deceive”.The fact that they were artificially divided into three parts does not have a legal meaning: consumers of advertising correctly perceive these words as a whole. Is not it? :)


    Times have changed. Advertising using obscene language is almost always criticized by consumers and leads to legal sanctions. In the modern world, communicating competently and respectfully is a prerequisite for interaction with the audience.

    Post supervised

    If you still think that the page on the social network is your inviolable property, then this is no longer the case. The scandals about repost in VC of records about extremism or the occasional “like” of photos with a swastika died down, but law enforcement agencies went even further and began to equate the users' personal pages to the “place of distribution of advertising”.

    A resident of Kursk posted on a personal page in the VK post with the following content: “Cafe“ Crimea ”in Kursk. Live music from 21.00, hookahs , a delicious menu from the chef, disco. Hurry up to book your table. ” And barely escaped punishment. The FAS of the Kursk region saw in these actions an advertisement for tobacco and smoking accessories (and according to Part 8 of Art. 7 of the Law on Advertising, even advertising of cigarette lighters is prohibited, not like hookahs).

    The result was an interesting picture: the cafe owner (as an individual entrepreneur) on his personal page in the VC (as an individual) posted information about the institution. FAS recognized that the administrator of the page is precisely the PI and this action was committed by him for commercial purposes of advertising and promoting the cafe on the market. The man was recognized to violate Part 8 of Art. 7 of the Federal Law "On Advertising", but did not issue a fine due to the voluntary deletion of all disputed entries.


    Using avatars or posts on behalf of the community administrator in the provision of reputation management services or promotion in social networks, be as correct as possible in reviews and posts. After all, for the violation of most of the provisions of the Law on Advertising, it is not only the advertiser who is responsible, but also the advertising distributor.

    On the verge of foul

    Do not cease to please with their invention regional advertising agencies. The logic of their creativity is not always clear, but the result makes you genuinely surprised.

    So, in Novokuznetsk an advertisement of one law firm was placed. A standard ad listing the list of services provided was accompanied by ... a depiction of a portrait of the state and political leader of Nazi Germany, Joseph Goebbels. The reason for this marketing move has remained a mystery to antimonoplists. And the advertising agency itself, which produced the layout, gave vague explanations. They referred to Wikipedia: they say, Goebbels not only propagandized Nazi ideology, but also was a father, husband, writer, journalist, politician and president of the Imperial Chamber of Culture of Germany (that is, they denied the connection between the photo and Nazi propaganda). That, providing source codes, specified in erroneous and casual similarity of the unknown man with the nazi leader.

    As a result, the FAS conducted a special linguistic study . 63% of respondents recognized the photo in the ad by Josef Goebbels, and 70% perceived this ad as unethical and offensive. The result was obvious: the advertiser was found to have violated the requirements of Part 6 of Art. 5 and Part 11 of Art. 5 of the Law on Advertising.


    Creativity should be in moderation. If you are engaged in the production of advertising, you should always coordinate with the customer all text and graphic materials and keep these approvals at least until the end of the project. Advertisers, on the other hand, need to carefully select a contractor, preferring experienced contractors with a good reputation who know the laws and are responsible for the result.

    Chill before abuse

    Despite all the bans, attempts to find a loophole or any legal way to advertise alcohol on the Internet continue. One of the seemingly legitimate life hacking was advertising for the brand or the beverage producer itself. However, the practice has made its own adjustments.

    An article was posted on one of the Ulyanovsk newspapers with a link to a video on Youtube “How does the Ulyanovsk brewery work (one of the largest in Russia). See how beer is poured. ” This video is currently unavailable. The material was a video in the form of a report from the Ulyanovsk brewery "Trekhsosensky". In general, its content was completely neutral: they told about the history of the plant, its benefits for the region (many jobs, a large taxpayer), and even noted that the plot is not advertising. Having insured themselves to the maximum, they reminded that alcohol is contraindicated for underage citizens, pregnant and lactating women, and for all others excessive drinking of beer can be fraught with health problems.

    He brought the guys video. At 14-19 seconds of the video alcoholic products under the “Czech Bar” brand were shown, and at 22-24 seconds - under the “Velvet Beer” brand. That is, there was a selection of a specific product that can be individualized among a homogeneous group (attracting the viewer's attention to these brands of alcohol). And this is already an advertisement ( Letter of the Federal Antimonopoly Service dated January 24, 2011 No. AK / 1829 “On the delimitation of the concepts of signboard and advertising”).

    The advertiser recognized the editors of the information portal, and the advertising distributor - the owner of the site (domain administrator). The video itself was removed from the network, and the case file was transferred to consider the issue of initiating an administrative offense case.


    Perhaps, without demonstration of specific beverages, the FAS would have less reason to declare the video illegal. But then, from the point of view of the advertiser, the meaning of the plot could be lost. In such cases, qualified legal assistance can be helpful. There is a huge amount of nuances that you should be aware of in advance, so as not to pay fines and not redo the advertisement again. Moreover, this must be done before the start of the advertising campaign. This will avoid the claims of regulatory bodies to you or your customers. In any case, if you work with border topics similar to this, try to write as abstractly as possible about the subject of advertising.

    Instead of conclusion

    The principle “do no harm” applies not only to medical workers, but also to all spheres of life. We have given only a few examples when advertising hurts a business. In fact, this happens all the time.

    Most entrepreneurs are confident that they know best how to advertise their business. But, unfortunately, the lack of practical experience and knowledge results in a negative financial result - they lead to fines and loss of the budget for production, broadcasting and promotion.

    And finally, a few simple tips to help you avoid common mistakes when launching an advertising campaign:

    • It is not necessary to use in advertising data that you can not confirm.

    • Do not compare with a competitor. Inappropriate comparison may be considered unfair advertising or misleading.

    • When using foreign words, translate into Russian.

    • Add footnotes to your ad that can clarify the content of a disputed word or ambiguous expression.

    • The control authorities do not like to rack their brains, looking for a double bottom and the implication of the advertising message. Therefore, they should be avoided and / or supplemented with advertising comments.

    Author: Alina Antamonova, Head of Corporate Legal Affairs, especially for the Rookee service, gathered not the most famous, but symptomatic cases of unsuccessful advertising.

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