On 17 February 2015 several industry organizations and associations signed the new Hungarian Code of Ethics for Advertising under the coordination of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Board and the Hungarian Advertising Association (e.g. the Association of Hungarian Food Supplement Manufacturers and Distributors, the Hungarian Cosmetics and Household Chemicals Association "KOZMOS"). The new Code of Ethics for Advertising will enter into force on 30 June 2015. The modification of the currently applicable 2009 Code of Ethics for Advertising was necessary due to digital development, the appearance of new products and in order to ensure compliance with international self-regulatory standards.
The advertising of cosmetics has also been included into the scope of the new Code of Ethics for Advertising. The reason for this is that Cosmetics Europe, which represents cosmetics manufacturers and their associations, adopted stringent provisions relative to advertising of cosmetics in 2012 that have now been implemented by the Hungarian Code of Ethics for Advertising. Furthermore, in recent years the Hungarian Competition Office also developed new requirements for cosmetics advertising through its decisions.
Article 17 of the new Code of Ethics for Advertising determines the definition of cosmetic products which corresponds to the definition provided by the relevant EU regulation on cosmetic products.
The Code of Ethics for Advertising lays down several new requirements regarding the advertising of cosmetic products including the following ones:
- Any claims on cosmetic products must be supported by adequate and verifiable evidence demonstrating the performance of a product. If possible, the claims must be based on experimental studies, consumer perception tests or the use of published information.
- The new Code of Ethics for Advertising sets forth conditions for the use of digital technology relative to visualization.
- The advertiser should ensure that the illustration of a performance of an advertised product is not misleading; digital techniques (e.g. Photoshop) should not alter images of models such that their body shapes or features become unrealistic and misleading regarding the performance achievable by the product. Furthermore, they should not imply that the product has characteristics or functions that it does not have.
- Using obvious exaggeration or stylized beauty images in advertising or marketing communication that are not intended to be taken literally (such as puffing elements) is not considered misleading.
- Besides the material substantiation of a claim, testimonials and specialist recommendations may be used to emphasize the characteristics of cosmetic products and create a brand image. However, they must be genuine, responsible, verifiable and avoid any misrepresentation and misinformation.
- Testimonials from celebrities, private persons or consumers etc., may be used provided they are presented as a personal assessment or impression of a product.
In the future, companies distributing cosmetics in Hungary must comply with the provisions of the Code of Ethics for Advertising because non-compliance may result in sanctions. Authorities may also take into account a company's compliance with the industrial standards determined by the Code of Ethics for Advertising during administrative proceedings.