Hungarian Code of Advertising Ethics has been updated

The Codification Committee of the Self-Regulatory Advertising Board (“ÖRT”) and the Hungarian Advertising Association (“MRSZ”) has updated the Hungarian Code of Advertising Ethics in the framework of extensive professional consultation held over the past two years, coordinating the proposals of about 24 different organisations, in more than 30 meetings, in which the head of our office, Dr. Gyula Pánszky, as a member of the Codification Committee, also actively participated.

(The members of the Codification Committee in alphabetical order: Dr. Gusztáv Bacher, Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the MRSZ; Dr. Ildikó Fazekas, Director of the ÖRT; Szilvia Fülöp, Secretary General and member of the Ethics Committee of the MRSZ; Zsolt Gerendi, Secretary General of the ÖRT; Dr. Gyula Pánszky, Chairman of the Legal Section of the MRSZ).

The updated Code replaces the Code of Ethics which has been in use since 2015. The new Code of Ethics was signed by the leaders of the organisations involved in a ceremony on 4 April 2023, and it will come into force on 30 June 2023.

The Hungarian Code of Advertising Ethics is a document based on professional consensus, whose signatories not only commit themselves to the high ethical standards set out in the Code, but also ensure its enforcement by adjudicating complaints about advertisements already published. For professionals, this set of standards is a guide to ethical advertising and respect for the consumers. The Code does not cover the applicable laws, as it considers them to be known.

Among many other significant changes, the section on environmental and sustainability related advertising (Article 22) has been completely revised in the updated text, reflecting the significant shift in public attitude in this area in recent years.

Articles 12 and 29 of the Code deal with advertising to, or featuring, children and minors, but provisions on the protection of children and minors also appear in industry-specific sections, showing that the importance of this aspect has increased significantly in the advertising activities.

In view of the changes in the EU (GDPR) and the national data protection law and practical experience from 2018, the new Code will include data protection regulations under a separate chapter, significantly revised (Article 8).

The former rules on advertising of alcoholic beverages have been extended also to non-alcoholic beverages bearing the brand name of an alcoholic beverage (Article 18) and the advertising of betting tips services has been introduced as a new content section immediately after the article regulating gambling (Article 21).

In Chapter III of the new Code, which regulates advertising in the digital space, the rules on influencer marketing (Article 27) appear in a brand new section, building on the content of the recommendations previously issued by the Competition Authority.