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What you don’t have to advertise in Russia, according to the law?

05.07.2021

If you want to develop your business in Russia, you should know local laws, because it is essential for an owner of company or brand to understand what rules are in the field of advertising and marketing in Russia.

 

The principal law on advertising in Russia is Federal Law No. 38-FZ of 13 March 2006 ‘on advertising’ (the Advertising Law), which provides relevant definitions of advertising and advertising participants, lists general requirements for advertising and imposes restrictions on advertising of specific goods and for specific types of advertising.

 

The principal regulator is FAS. There are no sectoral advertising regulators and FAS enforces advertising across all industries. FAS decisions may be appealed to a commercial court.

 

The exemption is the role of local authorities in regulating outdoor advertising, but this issue is more specific since it primarily deals with the relevant permissions to place advertising boards and other constructions.

 

Let’s have a look at some of restrictions and rules accroding to Russian laws.

 

What products and services you can not advertise in Russia

 

Advertising of the following products and services is not allowed:

 

1. Goods or services that are forbidden for manufacture and sale.

2. Narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors, as well as plants and their parts contained in them.

3. Explosive compounds and materials, except for pyrotechnic products.

4. Body organs or human tissue as an object for sale or purchase.

5. Unregistered goods that are subject to state registration.

6. Goods that are subject to mandatory certification or other obligatory confirmation of compliance with technical regulations, in case such certification or confirmation was not undertaken.

7. Goods for which a licence or other special permission is necessary where such permission was not obtained.

8. Tobacco, tobacco products and goods, as well as smoking accessories, including pipes, hookahs, cigarette paper and lighters;

9. Medical services for artificial pregnancy termination.

 

So these are typical types of products that you can not advertise, but what about some other special goods and services? Here is the most important information.

 

The rules for advertising as regards minors and their protection

 

For the purpose of protecting minors from abuse of their confidence and lack of experience, the Advertising Law bans:

 
  1. 1. Discrediting parents and tutors and undermining confidence in them.

2. Igniting minors to persuade parents or other persons to purchase the advertised goods.

3. Creating a false impression that the advertised goods are available to a family with any level of income.

4. Creating the impression that possession of the advertised goods gives advantage among peers.

5. Creating an inferiority complex for minors owing to non-attractiveness or to non-possession of the advertised goods.

6. Demonstrating minors in dangerous situations, including cases where actions create risk to life or health.

7. Underestimating the level of skill necessary to use the advertised goods.

 

There are also prohibitions to addressing minors in the advertising of certain goods (eg, alcohol). Further, the advertising of content (video games, films, etc) requires compliance with the special legislation on age rating and must be age appropriate.

Special rules for advertising credit or financial products

 

The Advertising Law provides detailed regulation of advertising of credit or financial products. This type of advertising is under specific attention from FAS. The requirements may be generally represented as:

 
  1. 1. A specific indication of who renders the products must be given.

2. No promises or guarantees of investment profitability, if it cannot be determined at the moment of entering into the relevant contract, must be made.

3. Other conditions of service, influencing the income or expenses or sum of credit or loan, if advertising mentions at least one such condition, must be mentioned.

 

There are also specific rules on disclosure of information for financial advertising relating to real estate investments, securities and other financial services.

 

Therapeutic goods and services

 

Rules for claims made about therapeutic goods and services

 

First, advertising for all products, except for medicines and medical services, shall not contain indications of medical properties.

 

Second, for medicines and medical services (and for medical devices), the Advertising Law provides detailed rules, including a ban on creating the impression that it is unnecessary to visit doctors and a ban on addressing minors in advertising; the claim shall not guarantee a positive effect, safety, effectiveness or lack of side effects.

 

Food and health

 

Advertising of biologically active additions and dietary supplements shall be accompanied with a warning that the advertised product is not a medicine. Further, such advertising shall not:

 
  1. 1. create an impression that the product is a medicine or has a medical effect.

2. Refer to specific cases of curing or improvement of conditions as a result of consumption.

3. Display gratitude from individuals as a result of consumption.

4. Ignite termination of following a healthy diet.

5. Create an impression of the product’s advantages by referring to tests, obligatory for the registration of such products, or use results of other research in the form of a direct recommendation to consume.

Advertising of baby food shall not represent the advertised products as a full substitute for breast milk and shall not state advantages of artificial nutrition for babies. There shall also be information on age restrictions and warning on the necessity of professional advice in the case of advertising substitutes for breast milk and products for babies of up to 12 months old.

 

Alcohol and tobacco

 

Advertising of alcoholic beverages (including beer) shall not:

 

1. State advantages of consuming alcohol (eg, to achieve success or improve mood).

2. Criticise abstention from alcohol.

3. Represent alcohol as safe or helpful for health (including by indication of vitamins or food additives in alcohol beverages).

4. Represent alcohol as a one-off way to satisfy thirst.

5. Address minors.

6. Use images of human beings or animals, including by way of animation.

 

Various restrictions exist on the advertising media: alcohol advertising cannot be published:

 
  1. 1. On transport vehicles.

2. On the first or last pages, or on covers, of magazines and newspapers (with an exception for beer and Russian-produced wine).

3. On TV or radio (except for sport events broadcasting under specific conditions and except for wine produced in Russia).

4. In or near educational or some other institutions.

 

Restrictions are also imposed on promotional campaigns. Online advertising of alcohol is also banned.

 

Permitted alcohol advertising shall be accompanied with warnings of harm as a result of alcohol consumption.

 

Advertising of tobacco, tobacco products and goods, as well as smoking accessories, including pipes, hookahs, cigarette paper and lighters, is forbidden in Russia.

 

Gambling

 

The general rules for the advertising of gambling are:

 
  1. 1. Minors cannot be addressed.

2. It cannot be implied that gambling is a way of generating earnings or other income.

3. Statements that overestimate the chance of winning or underestimate the risk of losing must not be included.

4. No reference can be made to winners that, in fact, did not receive an award.

5. No statements that gambling is important for achieving success can be made.

6. Non-participation in gambling cannot be criticised.

7. No impression of a guaranteed win can be made.

8. The use of images of human beings or animals is not permitted.

 

The advertising needs to provide information on the specific gambling at issue (organisers, terms, etc), as well as provide the terms under which prizes are drawn.

Various restrictions on where the advertising may be published also apply, depending on the types of advertised gambling (sport bookmaking, casinos, etc).

 

Lotteries

 

Advertising of lotteries shall not:

 
  1. 1. Address minors.

2. Give the impression that lotteries are a way of generating earnings or other income.

3. Overestimate the chance of winning or underestimate the risk of losing.

4. Refer to winners that, in fact, did not receive awards.

5. State that lotteries are important for achieving success.

6. Criticise non-participation in gambling.

7. Give the impression of guaranteed wins.

 

Promotional contests

 

Advertising of promotional contests requires an indication of the terms under which the contest is held, as well as provide information on the organiser of the contest, rules of holding the contest and the amount of prizes or awards as result of the contest, as well as the terms, place or ways to obtain them.

 

And if you need a help to start or develop your business in Russia, just contact us! W know how to do it well!

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