For the last year Burger King, one of the leading chains of
hamburger fast food restaurants, has run two rather controversial
advertising campaigns. The main trick was to use polysemantic words
or images with a reference to vulgar language. The reference is
made slightly: the pun in this ad is supported by the image of the
For example, in ad campaign of May 2016 the slogans "Hello
to everyone, whose nuggets costs more than ours" and "We
made them again" were accompanied by the image of hand shaped
nuggets with a middle finger up.
This case is not the first in our country. However, it is
significant that these campaigns were organized by a large company
having a good reputation in Russia.
Needless to say Burger King advert campaigns are quite
successful, the main goal - to bring into the public eye - has been
achieved. But also the Russian authority authorizing for control
over advertising law compliance (the Federal Antimonopoly Service
or simply FAS Russia) displays a keen interest in such
It should be noted that there is no definition of ethic or
non-ethic advertising in Russian advertising laws; therefore, FAS
Russia shall address to other law requirements to recognize
non-ethic materials as illegal. A part of materials are fallen
within prohibition related to demonstration of alcohol, tobacco or
Alternatively, the Federal Law on Advertising No. 38-FZ dated
March 13, 2006, ("Advertising Law") provides a general
prohibition to use foul language, indecent and offensive images,
comparisons and expressions in advertising.
FAS Russia clarified additionally indecent and offensive images,
comparisons and expressions include the ones which conflict with
generally accepted rules and principles of behavior in society from
morality and ethics perspective. FAS Russia confirmed that this
criteria is rather subjective and it is possible when different
social groups have controversial positions with respect to
evaluation of the issue. Given this, a final decision shall be made
with consideration to the opinion of essential part of consumer
We believe this means the more domestic unrest grows over
advertising the stricter it is regulated by FAS Russia. Therefore,
it is impossible to anticipate what the consequences are for an
It is interesting to trace how activity of FAS Russia with
respect to non-ethic advertisement monitoring has been changed in
As officials of FAS Russia declared in 2014 the body focused on
tobacco and alcohol advertising fallen under severe law
restrictions that year1.
As for 2015 tobacco and alcohol advertising materials were still
in the spotlight2. But FAS Russia reported non-ethic
advertising complaints figure raised.
We believe this trend can lead to increasing legislative
pressure on advertisers trying to speculate on associations with
vulgar language or images in advertising. Thus, any attempt to
imply a hint to forbidden elements into advertising shall be
As mentioned above Burger King has run 2 campaigns with slogans
and images "on the verge" that resonated a lot in Moscow.
For the time being the first campaign has been recognized as lawful
by the Expert Council of Moscow Office under FAS Russia already,
but the second one is subject to public opinion polls
currently3. Therefore, it is still possible Burger King
advertising could be found illegal.
The High Court held, in The Software Incubator v Computer Associates, that a supply of commoditised software is a sale of goods for the purposes of the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993.
Hotel proprietors are strictly liable, without proof of negligence, for the loss of property brought to the hotel by their guests, unless they can show that the loss resulted from the guest's own negligence.
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