On 27 April 2016, the Belgian self-regulatory advertising
authority Jury on Ethical Practices in Advertising
("JEP") published its Recommendation on Native
The subject matter is advertising, in whatever form, medium or
format, harmonized and imbedded in a classic editorial content of a
publisher. Besides adhering to the existing self-regulatory rules,
the following is recommended:
Rule 1: Native advertising should disclose /
identify its advertising nature. As foreseen in Article 9 of the
ICC-Code, marketing communication has to be clearly recognizable as
such, regardless of the form and the medium used. When the ad
appears in medium which also contains news or editorial content, it
has to be presented as advertising in a directly recognizable
manner and the advertiser has to be disclosed. The advertising
communication should not disguise its true commercial purpose. The
promotion communication of a product cannot be presented as a
market- or consumer review, information from users, a private blog
or an independent evaluation.
Recommendation 1: It is advisable to mention
the sponsored nature of a content through an explicit notice such
as "sponsored by" or "in cooperation with."
This notice should be clearly readable, audibly and
Rule 2: The identity of the advertiser should
be made known, as foreseen in Article 10 of the ICCC-Code.
Recommendation 2: Each advertiser must be
easily identifiable to the public, clearly observable and have
easily accessible identification, possibly through one or several
brands or trademarks or another characteristic sign that is
unequivocally linked with the advertiser. The message should in no
circumstance mislead the public on the identity of the issuer and
the capacity of the publisher.
Rule 3: Special attention is needed in case
native advertising is directed to children or minors of age of when
those appear in advertising. Commercial communication should not
exploit their lack of experience or credulity, particularly as
regards the identification of the advertising.
Rule 4: Special attention should be given to
the truthfulness and honesty of the content of these commercial
In case of doubt about the lawfulness and/or the ethical nature
of a campaign, the advertiser, its agency or the media concerned
are strongly suggested to request a preliminary/prior advice.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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On 26 November 2015, amendments to the Law on Communications 2004 (the "Communications Law") were published.
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