8. Decisions on complaint taken by the Advertising Code Committee and the Board of Appeal
The Advertising Code Committee may determine a complaint unjustified (rejection/not upheld), or determine the complaint justified (upheld). Upheld means that the Committee judges the advertising message to be contrary to the Dutch Advertising Code. The Committee then makes a ‘recommendation’ which means that the Committee recommends to discontinue this way of advertising. If the complaint is directed against advertising which propagates concepts, the Committee delivers an ‘opinion without commitment’. Thus, the decision of the Committee may contain a rejection, a recommendation or an ‘opinion without commitment’.
Furthermore, as the circumstances warrant, the Committee may ask the secretariat to distribute a decision as an ALERT which means that the secretariat will take care that the decision is brought to the attention of the public by means of a press release in associated media, to interested individuals or organizations (and via placement on www.reclamecode.nl).
N.B. Regardless of whether the Advertising Code Committee has ordered the distribution of its decision as an ALERT- all decisions taken by the Committee may always be made available to third parties.
N.B. All decisions are put in an online database (accessible to third parties). Moreover, all decisions may be included in printed or digital publications of the Advertising Authority.
Pursuant to the Media Act, all media institutions producing advertising messages are associated with the Advertising Authority. They are bound to discontinue distributing an advertising message denounced by the Advertising Code Committee and/or the Board of Appeal. When the complaint is upheld by the Committee, it can moreover
- set conditions on the broadcast time of the radio and/or TV commercial submitted for evaluation;
- allow the party whose advertisement is found to violate the Advertising Code, a term during which the recommendation of the Committee is to be complied with;
- impose measures as described in the contracts concluded between the Advertising Code Authority and the organizations in consultation with which a Special Advertising Code was drawn up.
After 14 days, any decision by the Advertising Code Committee is irrevocable.
In urgent cases the decision is irrevocable after 7 days. If the complainant and/or advertiser disagree with the decision, an appeal can be lodged within 14 days and 7 days respectively with the Board of Appeal. See chapter 11 for a description of the appeal procedure.