1. The Advertising Code Authority
Since 1963 the Advertising Code Authority (ACA) has been the body dealing with the self-regulating system of advertising. Self-regulation means that the advertising industry (advertisers, advertising agencies and the media) formulates the rules with which advertising must comply. These rules should be in line with what is going on in society: they may be formulated in cooperation with consumer representatives and shall be comprehensible and practical and above all, they shall guarantee responsible advertising. These rules are part of the Dutch Advertising Code.
Anyone who feels that an advertisement violates the Dutch Advertising Code may submit a complaint to the Advertising Code Committee. This independent body decides after a transparent and swift procedure whether an advertisement conflicts with the Advertising Code.
In the case of violation of the Code, the Committee will uphold the complaint and recommend the advertiser(s) involved to discontinue such a way of advertising. The Committee may also decide to uphold the complaint without giving a recommendation to the advertiser, for example if the advertiser proves that appropriate measures have been taken in response to the complaint in order to comply to the Dutch Advertising Code. For legitimate complaints about advertising in which an idea/concept is propagated, the Committee will suffice with an “opinion without commitment”.
The Compliance department will check whether the advertiser has put the recommendation into effect (see chapter 14). This monitoring shows that the enforcement is very effective. More information about the effectiveness of enforcement can be found on www.reclamecode.nl under “Compliance”.
In this way, the Advertising Code Authority encourages sensible and responsible advertising. This process is in the best interest of the consumer – increasing the confidence in advertising- as well as of the advertiser -encouraging honest competition and operational management. At the same time, the ACA reduces the pressure on laying down the rules for advertisers in detailed laws and limits the risk of advertising bans.
It is advisable to consult the Regulation of the Advertising Code Committee and the Board of Appeal on the website www.reclamecode.nl. What follows is intended only as a simplified representation of the content of the Regulation. In the event of differences, the text of the Regulation applies.