MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Rada Reklamy
Each month, EASA features one of its members. In August, the spotlight is on Poland, with a focus on Rada Reklamy. To learn more, we asked a few questions to Piotr Kwiecień, Director General of Rada Reklamy, and Lucyna Pruska from the Complaints and Administration department, about how they got involved in advertising self-regulation and the highlights of the SRO.
In fact, I can say that I was lucky. My entire professional career developed in free Poland. I was lucky to work for large international companies, such as Benetton, 3M or Ericsson. I was also lucky to work for key Polish public sector companies, such as LOT Polish Airlines and the National Stadium, from the moment its construction began until the end of EURO 2012. I have also worked for organisations acting on behalf of entrepreneurs and consumers. Throughout my entire career, I have had contact with ethical issues in many areas, above all in marketing and advertising for which I was responsible. So when the opportunity arose to work for Rada Reklamy, an organisation that has been guarding ethical advertising messages for more than 16 years, I did not hesitate for long. Today I can say that it was one of my best professional decisions.
I am very happy to be a part of the Advertising Ethics Committee. I worked in international advertising agencies. I worked in various fields: event designer, project manager, HR solutions architect, intercultural psychologist, consultant and strategist in advertising agencies, certified trainer and coach, certified mediator, author of training and educational programmes. I am an orientalist, psychologist and sociologist, an expert in communication and psychology of intercultural relations by education. I graduated in Japanese Studies at the University of Warsaw and am a double scholarship holder of the Ministry of Education of Japan. PhD in Sociology.
My friend told me about The Advertising Council and introduced me to its governing bodies three years ago. At that time, the Advertising Council was in a transition period, and the chance to become a part of creating something new appeared to me challenging. I joined the team. I take care of complaint management, works of the Advertising Ethics Committee, media relations, managing office issues. Ethical issues are close to my heart. I can refuse a project if I see that it violates ethical standards. I did so many times in my work career. Therefore, working here was an ethical choice for me, and I am happy to develop my skills and competence here. In my free time, I do volunteer work for shelter animals. I take care of three dogs, two of which were adopted from a shelter.
Rada Reklamy – background
Rada Reklamy is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. It was established in 2006 on the initiative of advertising and marketing market communities. It is an organisation that has created and managed a system of self-regulation in the area of advertising. The organisation consists of industry associations as ordinary members and companies as supporting members. Rad Reklamy has been established to create, promote, and protect the principles that should be followed by business entities dealing with advertising activity in the Republic of Poland and Polish entrepreneurs advertising their businesses abroad. As a result, advertising standards have been written down in the form of the Code of Ethics in Advertising – a document constituting a set of rules which define what is acceptable and what is unethical in advertising.
Key factors about our organisation:
- We have been on the market for 16 years
- We have 31 member organisations responsible for more than 50% of the market
- We introduced the first Code of Ethics in Advertising in Poland
- Each year 30 eminent experts sit on the Advertising Ethics Committee
Rada Reklamy is the conscience of the advertising market in Poland. We have been creating and promoting the highest standards in advertising, thus protecting consumers from unethical and unfair advertising messages. Furthermore, we work to support self-regulation, and we strongly believe that this is the right and effective way to create proper standards in the market.
Rada Reklamy currently has 31 members representing industry organisations and large international companies. They represent three groups of the advertising market: advertisers, promoters (advertising agencies and media houses) and media. In terms of areas of activity, our members represent a very broad spectrum of the market. In Rada Reklamy, we associate companies and organisations from the food and beverage industry, cosmetics and detergent sectors, and the Internet, digital and financial sectors. Companies and organisations from the advertising market – advertising agencies and media houses – are also widely represented. In recent months Rada Reklamy has expanded its presence in the retail, automotive and public relations markets.
Rada Reklamy is an important and significant partner for market regulators. For years, we have been cooperating, promoting self-regulatory solutions, with the National Broadcasting Council and the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. In addition, we participate in most social consultations on the advertising market in Poland, and our voice counts in the decision-making process.
As far as the Advertising Ethics Committee is concerned, its jurisprudence is increasingly taken into account in the context of creating ethical advertising messages and is widely quoted in the media, not only in the industry.
Upcoming priorities and developments
Our key projects are:
- Promotion of Copy Advice™
- Green Project
- Promotion of the Charter for the protection of children in advertising
Copy Advice™ is an important service for advertisers, advertising/marketing agencies, media owners and media service providers who want to learn how their advertisements are assessed in terms of compliance with the Code of Ethics in Advertising at the design stage before they are produced and broadcast. Copy Advice™ is a tool that is widely used in the European advertising industry. European experts find it extremely useful to ensure compliance with regulations and to avoid possible breaches or reputational risks. The purpose of our Copy Advice™ service is to help advertisers, promoters, and broadcasters identify potential ethical issues before they invest time and resources to implement their advertising ideas. In addition, we offer assistance in finding solutions in advertising and promotional activities that will mitigate the risk of a given advertisement being sued by consumers or companies.
Green Project is a pioneering self-regulatory initiative on the Polish market launched to promote ethical communication and advertising regarding environmental responsibility and sustainable development. As a result, it also prevents greenwashing. Together with our members and organisations supporting our activities, we are building solid foundations for self-regulation in declarations for “eco” products and services. Our initiative is in line with the European Commission’s activities. In addition, as part of the Green Project, we carry out promotional and educational activities focused on topics related to the responsibility and protection of our planet. In 2021, we have been working to introduce an annexe to the Code of Ethics in Advertising dedicated to ethical advertising and communication in this respect.
The Charter for the protection of children in advertising is the successful culmination of an industry effort to maintain and strengthen the Polish self-regulatory system focusing on protecting the interests of children, especially children less than 12 years old, in marketing communication in response to:
- the Polish regulator’s growing interest in the use of children’s images in advertising, including some previous calls for stricter legal regulations
- the growing number of advertising ethical standards violations reported to the Advertising Ethics Commission.
The Charter is in line with the EU Pledge and serves as an annexe to the Polish Code of Ethics in Advertising. The Charter is a collection of soft guidelines for ethical standards. As an attachment to the Code of Ethics for Advertising will serve the Advertising Ethics Commission when dealing with complaints.
An important element of our activities is market and consumer education. We educate through our members and their channels, through our arbitrators and the media, including social media. For example, in 2020, we ran the campaign React! You have an impact on advertising.
This campaign will also be running this year. We are committed to ensuring that consumers know the Advertising Council, know that they have the right to complain about unethical advertising and seek support, and understand how to file complaints and on what grounds.
Rada Reklamy latest achievements
For many years, the Union of Associations Advertising Council has been promoting, expanding and strengthening the Polish system of self-regulation as a proper and effective form of creating standards in the market. The “Self-Regulation Concerning Food Advertising Aimed at Children”, developed as an agreement between TV broadcasters in cooperation with the National Broadcasting Council, has been verified for many years to ensure that it is properly and universally applied that its objectives are being met. Thanks to the National Broadcasting Council, which ensures regular monitoring of this initiative, the effectiveness is close to 98-99% of implementation by advertisers and broadcasters, which makes it one of the most effective forms of self-regulation in the European Union. Furthermore, we are proud of the latest results of the monitoring and inspection carried out by the National Broadcasting Council concerning the effects of self-regulation of the media market regarding the protection of children. The monitoring was carried out in 2020 and focused on media service providers’ compliance with self-regulatory provisions regarding commercial messages and safety measures to prevent minors from accessing harmful content. Key findings of the monitoring prove that self-regulation is very effective:
- Commercial communications in children’s programmes generally comply with the nutritional criteria set out in the “Self-Regulation Concerning Food Advertising Aimed at Children under 12 Years of Age” and do not contain advertising for products which, if over-consumed, may contribute to overweight and obesity amongst children.
- The effectiveness of technical safeguards applied is at the level of 98%
- The monitoring has found no violations of the Charter for the Protection of Children in Advertising.
Our accomplishments also include the continued expansion of its membership base. Despite a difficult pandemic time, Rada Reklamy has grown by eight new members in recent months.
At the same time, we are dynamically expanding our presence in new market areas.
Current challenges Rada Reklamy is facing
Recently on the Polish advertising market appeared and appears more and more ads that use ecological elements. However, in many cases, these advertisements abuse the trust of consumers or mislead them. This has resulted in a growing number of consumer complaints to the Advertising Ethics Committee. Rada Reklamy’s response to this trend is the Green Project. More about this project can be found in the section on priorities.
A permanent element of our activity is also increasing the visibility of Rada Reklamy and its activities in opinion-forming media. We work hard to make our activities visible to the market and consumers. In recent years, we have presented our initiatives and achievements in the most important media – television, radio, and the Internet. Social media are also an important channel to promote our activities.
Message Rada Reklamy would like to address to our ad SR community
The essence of self-regulation is a voluntary commitment to adhere to agreed and accepted principles. Self-regulation is based on goodwill. There is no better regulator than goodwill. It is the voluntary submission to the set and mutually agreed on standards that guarantee the effectiveness of compliance with these standards. It is our members who create the Code of Ethics of Advertising and voluntarily abide by its provisions. By doing so, they also set an example for other organisations and companies in the market. As an organisation, we strongly believe in the idea of self-regulation as the best solution for all participants of the advertising market. As Rada Reklamy, we are proud to be part of an international organisation like EASA that shares our values.