Requirements for the content of advertising materials
1. General Provisions (The Act)
These requirements for the content of advertising materials regulate the publishing of advertisements via 2GIS Products.
The essential elements and regulation of advertising are governed by Act No. 103(I)/2007, Law concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices (“The Act”).
The Act provides the following definitions:
(a) ‘consumer’ means any natural person who, in commercial practices covered by the Act, is acting for purposes which are outside his trade, business, craft or profession;
(b) ‘trader’ means any natural or legal person who, in commercial practices covered by this Act, is acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession and anyone acting in the name of or on behalf of a trader;
(c) ‘product’ means any goods or service including immovable property, rights and obligations;
(d) ‘business-to-consumer commercial practices’(hereinafter also referred to as commercial practices) means any act, omission, course of conduct or representation, commercial communication including advertising and marketing, by a trader, directly connected with the promotion, sale or supply of a product to consumers;
(e) ‘to materially distort the economic behaviour of consumers’ meansusing a commercial practice to appreciably impair the consumer’s ability to make an informed decision, thereby causing the consumer to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise;
(f) ‘code of conduct’ means an agreement or set of rules not imposed by law, regulation or administrative provision of a Member State which defines the behaviour of traders who undertake to be bound by the code in relation to one or more particular commercial practices or business sectors
(g) Code owner’ means any entity, including a trader or group of traders, which is responsible for the formulation and revision of a code of conduct and/or for monitoring compliance with the code by those who have undertaken to be bound by it;
(h) ‘professional diligence’ means the standard of special skill and care which a trader may reasonably be expected to exercise towards consumers, commensurate with honest market practice and/or the general principle of good faith in the trader’s field of activity;
(i) ‘invitation to purchase’ means a commercial communication which indicates characteristics of the product and the price in a way appropriate to the means of the commercial communication used and thereby enables the consumer to make a purchase;
(j) ‘undue influence’ means exploiting a position of power in relation to the consumer so as to apply pressure, even without using or threatening to use physical force, in a way which significantly limits the consumer’s ability to make an informed decision;
(k) ‘transactional decision’ means any decision taken by a consumer concerning whether, how and on what terms to purchase, make payment in whole or in part for, retain or dispose of a product or to exercise a contractual right in relation to the product, whether the consumer decides to act or to refrain from acting;
(l) regulated profession’ means a professional activity or a group of professional activities, access to which or the pursuit of which, or one of the modes of pursuing which, is conditional, directly or indirectly, upon possession of specific professional qualifications, pursuant to laws, regulations or administrative provisions
The Act forbids, by section 4(1), unfair commercial practices, (unfair advertising), i.e. advertising that:
1. is contrary to the requirements of professional diligence,
2. materially distorts or is likely to materially distort the economic behaviour with regard to the product of the average consumer whom it reaches or to whom it is addressed, or of the average member of the group when a commercial practice is directed to a particular group of consumers.
3. is misleading as set out in sections 5 and 6, or
4. is aggressive as set out in sections 7 and 8.
Misleading commercial practices (misleading advertising)
Misleading actions in advertisements
1. A commercial practice shall be regarded as misleading if it contains false information and is therefore untruthful or in any way, including overall presentation, deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer, even if the information is factually correct, in relation to one or more of the following elements, and in either case causes or is likely to cause him to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise:
(a) the existence or nature of the product;
(b) the main characteristics of the product, such as its availability, benefits, risks, execution, composition, accessories, after-sale customer assistance and complaint handling, method and date of manufacture or provision, delivery, fitness for purpose, usage, quantity, specification, geographical or commercial origin or the results to be expected from its use, or the results and material features of tests or checks carried out on the product;
(c) the extent of the trader’s commitments, the motives for the commercial practice and the nature of the sales process, any statement or symbol in relation to direct or indirect sponsorship or approval of the trader or the product;
(d) the price or the manner in which the price is calculated, or the existence of a specific price advantage;
(e) ) the need for a service, part, replacement or repair;
(f) the nature, attributes and rights of the trader or his agent, such as his identity and assets, his qualifications, status, approval, affiliation or connection and ownership of industrial, commercial or intellectual property rights or his awards and distinctions;
(g) the consumer’s rights, including the right to replacement or reimbursement under the law on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees or the risks he may face.
2. A commercial practice shall also be regarded as misleading if, in its factual context, taking account of all its features and circumstances, it causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise, and it involves:
(a) any marketing of a product, including comparative advertising, which creates confusion with any products, trademarks, trade names or other distinguishing marks of a competitor;
(b) non-compliance by the trader with commitments contained in codes of conduct by which the trader has undertaken to be bound, where:
(i) the commitment is not aspirational but is firm and is capable of being verified,
(ii) the trader indicates in a commercial practice that he is bound by the code.
Misleading omissions in advertisements
1. A commercial practice shall be regarded as misleading if, in its factual context, taking account of all its features and circumstances and the limitations of the communication medium, it omits material information that the average consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed transactional decision and thereby causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise.
2.It shall also be regarded as a misleading omission when, taking account of the matters described in paragraph 1, a trader hides or provides in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner such material information as referred to in that paragraph or fails to identify the commercial intent of the commercial practice if not already apparent from the context, and where, in either case, this causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise.
3. Where the medium used to communicate the commercial practice imposes limitations of space or time, these limitations and any measures taken by the trader to make the information available to consumers by other means shall be taken into account in deciding whether information has been omitted
4. In the case of an invitation to purchase, the following information shall be regarded as material , if not already apparent from the context:
a. the main characteristics of the product, to an extent appropriate to the medium and the product
b. the geographical address and the identity of the trader, such as his trading name and, where applicable, the geographical address and the identity of the trader on whose behalf he is acting;
c. the price inclusive of taxes, or where the nature of the product means that the price cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, the manner in which the price is calculated, as well as, where appropriate, all additional freight, delivery or postal charges or, where these charges cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, the fact that such additional charges may be payable;
d. the arrangements for payment, delivery, performance and the complaint handling policy, if they depart from the requirements of professional diligence;
e. for products and transactions involving a right of withdrawal or cancellation, the existence of such a right.
Aggressive commercial practices (Aggressive advertising)
Aggressive commercial practices
A commercial practice shall be regarded as aggressive if, in its factual context, taking account of all its features and circumstances, by harassment, coercion, including the use of physical force, or undue influence, it significantly impairs or is likely to significantly impair the average consumer’s freedom of choice or conduct with regard to the product and thereby causes him or is likely to cause him to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise.
Use of harassment, coercion and undue influence
In determining whether a commercial practice uses harassment, coercion, including the use of physical force, or undue influence, account shall be taken of:
a. its timing, location, nature or persistence
b. the use of threatening or abusive language or behavior
c. the exploitation by the trader of any specific misfortune or circumstance of such gravity as to impair the consumer’s judgement, of which the trader is aware, to influence the consumer’s decision with regard to the product;
d. any onerous or disproportionate non-contractual barriers imposed by the trader where a consumer wishes to exercise rights under the contract, including rights to terminate a contract or to switch to another product or another trader;
e. any threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken
The Act specifically considers and thereby forbids the following commercial practices in advertising as unfair and prohibited
Misleading commercial practices
1. Claiming to be a signatory to a code of conduct when the trader is not.
2. Displaying a trust mark, quality mark or equivalent without having obtained the necessary authorisation.
3. Claiming that a code of conduct has an endorsement from a public or other body which it does not have.
4. Claiming that a trader (including his commercial practices) or a product has been approved, endorsed or authorized by a public or private body when he/it has not or making such a claim without complying with the terms of the approval, endorsement or authorisation.
5. Making an invitation to purchase products at a specified price without disclosing the existence of any reasonable grounds the trader may have for believing that he will not be able to offer for supply or to procure another trader to supply, those products or equivalent products at that price for a period that is, and in quantities that are, reasonable having regard to the product, the scale of advertising of the product and the price offered (bait advertising).
6. Making an invitation to purchase products at a specified price and then:
a. refusing to show the advertised item to consumers;
b. refusing to take orders for it or deliver it within a reasonable time;
c. demonstrating a defective sample of it,
with the intention of promoting a different product (bait and switch)
7. Falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice.
8. Undertaking to provide after-sales service to consumers with whom the trader has communicated prior to a transaction in a language which is not an official language of the Member State where the trader is located and then making such service available only in another language without clearly disclosing this to the consumer before the consumer is committed to the transaction.
9. Stating or otherwise creating the impression that a product can legally be sold when it cannot
2. The Code on Advertising Practice (the Code)
Further elements of advertising in Cyprus are regulated by the Code on Advertising Practice (the Code) of the Cyprus Advertising Regulation Organisation.
a. All marketing communication should be legal, decent, honest and truthful.
b. All marketing communication should be prepared with a due sense of social responsibility and should conform to existing law and the principles of fair competition, as generally accepted in business.
c. No communication should be such as to impair public confidence in advertising.
Marketing communication should not contain statements or audio/visual treatments which offend culture and currently prevailing standards of decency.
a. Marketing communication should be so framed as not to abuse the trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge.
b. Relevant factors likely to affect the final decision of the consumer should be communicated clearly and at such a time that consumers can take them into account.
a. Marketing communication should respect human dignity and should not contain or imply any form of discrimination, including that based upon race, nationality, origin, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation.
b. Marketing communication should not without justifiable reason play on fear or exploit misfortune or suffering.
c. Marketing communication should not directly or by implication include anything which may lead to violent, unlawful or anti-social behaviour.
d. Marketing communication should not play on superstition.
a. Marketing communication should be truthful and not misleading.
b. Marketing communication should not contain any statement, or audio or visual elements which, directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggeration, is likely to mislead the consumer, in particular with regard to:
• the characteristics of the product such as: nature, composition, method and date of manufacture, suitability for intended purpose, range of use, efficiency and performance, quantity, commercial or geographical origin or environmental impact;
• the value of the product and the total price to be paid by the consumer;
• other sale terms such as payment by instalments, on credit, at sales prices etc.
• terms for delivery, exchange, return, repair and maintenance;
• terms of guarantee;
• copyright and industrial property rights such as patents, trademarks, designs and models and trade names;
• compliance with standards;
• official recognition or approval, such as awards, prizes and diplomas;
• the extent to which the purchase of the product will benefit charitable causes.
Use of technical/scientific data and terminology
Marketing communication should not:
a. misuse technical data, e.g. research results or quotations from technical and scientific publications;
b. present statistics in such a way as to exaggerate the validity of a product claim;
c. use scientific terminology or vocabulary in such a way as to falsely suggest that a product claim has scientific validity.
Use of “free” and “guarantee”
a. The term "free", e.g. “free gift” or “free offer”, should be used only
• where the offer involves no additional payment or obligation; or
• where the only consumer obligation is to pay handling and delivery charges which should not exceed the cost estimated to be incurred by the marketer, or
• where the offer is made in conjunction with the purchase of another product, provided the price of that product has not been increased to cover all or part of the cost of the offer.
b. Marketing communication should not include any reference to a guarantee if the latter does not offer the consumer rights additional to those provided by law. Marketing communication may refer to a guarantee (or other expression having substantially the same meaning) only if the terms and the process to acquire any such guarantee or warranty, are clear and conspicuous in the advertising or are available in writing to the buyer at the point of sale or are available with the product.
Descriptions, claims or illustrations relating to verifiable facts in a marketing communication should be capable of substantiation. Before publishing any marketing communication advertisers should have valid substantiation which proves that the content of the marketing communication is true and honest.
a. Marketing communication should be clearly distinguishable as such, whatever their form and whatever the medium used. When an advertisement appears in a medium containing news or editorial matter, it should be so presented that it is readily recognisable as an advertisement and the identity of the advertiser should be apparent.
b. Marketing communication should not misrepresent their true purpose. They should not be presented as, for example, market research or consumer surveys if their purpose is commercial, i.e. the sale of a product.
The identity of the marketer should be apparent. This does not apply to communications with the sole purpose of attracting attention to communication activities to follow (e.g. so-called “teaser advertisements”).
Marketing communication should, where appropriate, include contact information to enable the consumer to get in touch with the marketer without difficulty.
Marketing communication containing comparisons should be so designed that the comparison is not likely to mislead the consumer. Points of comparison should be based on facts which can be substantiated and should not be selected in bad faith or unfairly. Marketing communication which contains comparisons is allowed only if it fulfils the following provisions:
• it compares goods or services meeting the same needs or intended for the same purposes;
• it objectively compares material, relevant, verifiable and representative features of those goods and services, which may include price;
• it does not create confusion in the market, between the advertiser and a competitor
• it does not discredit or denigrate the trademarks, trade names or other distinguishing marks of a competitor;
• for products with designation of origin, it relates in each case to products with the same designation;
• it does not take unfair advantage of the reputation of a trademark or other distinguishing marks of a competitor;
• it does not present goods or services as imitations or replicas of goods or services bearing a protected trade mark or trade name;
Marketing communication should not denigrate any person or group of persons, other advertisers, any firm, organisation, industrial or commercial activity, profession or product, or seek to bring it or them into public contempt or ridicule.
Marketing communication should not contain or refer to any testimonial, endorsement or supportive documentation unless it is genuine, verifiable and based on the individual’s personal experience. Testimonials or endorsements which have become obsolete or misleading or are not applicable anymore should not be used.
References to persons and personal property
Marketing communication should not portray or refer to any persons, whether in a private or a public capacity, unless prior permission has been obtained; nor should marketing communication without prior permission depict or refer to any person’s property in a way likely to convey the impression of the owner’s recognition and endorsement of the product or organisation advertised.
Exploitation of goodwill
Marketing communication should not make unjustifiable use of the name, initials, logo and/or trademarks of another firm, company or institution. Marketing communication should not in any way take undue advantage of another firm’s, individual’s or institution’s goodwill in its name, brands or other intellectual property, or take advantage of the goodwill earned by other marketing campaigns without prior consent.
Marketing communication should not imitate those of another marketer in any way likely to mislead or confuse the consumer, for example through the general layout, text, slogan, visual treatment, music or sound effects etc.
Where a multinational marketer has established a product with a distinctive marketing communication campaign in one or more countries, other marketers should not imitate that campaign for a reasonable period of time in other countries where the marketer who originated the campaign may operate, thereby preventing the extension of the campaign to those countries.
Safety and health
Marketing communication should not, without justification on educational or social grounds, contain any visual portrayal or any description of potentially dangerous practices, or situations which show a disregard for a person’s safety or health.
Instructions for use should include appropriate safety warnings and, where necessary, clarifications. Whenever the use of a product or an activity involves a safety risk, children should be shown to be under adult supervision.
Information provided with the product should include proper directions for use and full instructions covering health and safety aspects whenever necessary. Such health and safety warnings should be made clear by the use of pictures, text or a combination of both.
Data protection and privacy
When collecting personal data from individuals, care should be taken to respect and protect their privacy and to comply with relevant rules and regulations.
Collection of data
When personal information is collected from consumers, it is essential to ensure that the individuals concerned are aware and consent to the purpose of the collection and to any intention to transfer the data to a third party for that third party’s marketing purposes. When it is not possible to inform and receive the consent of the individual at the time of collection, these should be done as soon as possible thereafter.
Use of data
Personal data collected in accordance with this Code should be:
• collected for specified and legitimate purposes and not used in any manner incompatible with those purposes;
• adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which they are collected and further processed;
• accurate and kept up to date;
• preserved for no longer than is required for the purpose for which the data were collected or further processed.
Security of processing
Adequate security measures should be in place, having regard to the sensitivity of the information, in order to prevent unauthorised access to, or disclosure of, the personal data.
If the information is transferred to third parties, it should be established that they employ at least an equivalent level of security measures.
Rights of the consumer
Appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that consumers understand and can exercise their rights
• to opt out of marketing lists (including the right to sign on to general preference services);
• to require that their data are not made available to third parties for their marketing purposes; and
• to rectify incorrect data which are held about them.
Where a consumer has expressed a wish not to receive marketing communication using a specific medium, whether via a preference service or by other means, this wish should be respected.
Particular care should be taken to maintain the data protection rights of the consumer when personal data are transferred from the country in which they are collected, to another country.
When data processing is conducted in another country, all reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that adequate security measures are in place and that the data protection principles set out in this Code are respected.
Transparency on cost of communication
Where the cost to consumers of accessing a message or communicating with the marketer is higher than the standard cost of postage or local telephone call, e.g. “premium rate”, this cost should be made clear to consumers, expressed either as “cost per minute” or as “cost per message/call”. Consumers should be clearly informed at the time when they are about to access the message or online service, and be allowed a reasonable period of time to disconnect without incurring the charge.
Where a communication involves such a cost, the consumer should not be kept waiting for a long time in order to achieve the purpose of the communication and calls should not be charged until the consumer can begin to fulfil that purpose.
Unsolicited products and undisclosed costs
Any marketing communication associated with the practice of sending unsolicited products to consumers who are then asked for payment (inertia selling) should be avoided.
Marketing communication which solicits a response constituting an order for which payment will be required (e.g. an entry in a publication), should make the demand for payment unambiguously clear.
Marketing communication soliciting orders should not be presented in a form which might be mistaken for an invoice, or otherwise falsely suggest that payment is due.
Marketing communication should not appear to condone or encourage actions which contravene the law, self-regulatory codes or generally accepted standards of environmentally responsible behaviour. They should respect the principles set out in the Chapter for Environmental Claims in Marketing communication.
3. Advertising and Children under the Code
The following provisions apply to:
• Advertising addressed to children
• Advertising of products which are mainly used by children and which children may reasonably be expected to use, even if the advertising is not addressed to them
• Advertising featuring children
The word “children” refers to people under 12 years of age.
Inexperience and credulity
Advertising should not exploit inexperience or credulity, with particular regard to the following areas:
a. Advertising should be clearly distinguishable by children as advertising.
b. While the use of fantasy is appropriate in advertising for children, it should be done in such a way so as not to make it difficult for them to distinguish between reality and fantasy
c. When demonstrating a product’s performance and use, advertising should not
• understate the age level or minimize the degree of skill generally required to assemble or operate the product;
• exaggerate the true size, value, nature, life cycle, use, operation and performance of the product; special attention should be given so that these qualities may be accurately evaluated in each form of advertising;
• fail to disclose information about the need for additional purchases, such as accessories, or individual items in a collection or series, required to use the product as shown in the advertising or produce the result shown or described.
Avoidance of harm
Advertising should not contain any statement or visual treatment that could have the effect of harming children mentally, morally or physically.
With the exception of advertising for safety issues, advertising should not:
a. portray children in unsafe situations or while engaging in unsafe activities and behaviour, or encourage them to engage in unsafe situations or actions potentially harmful to themselves or others
b. portray children in an environment not appropriate for children to be in, or portray children associating with strangers
c. show children unattended in the street unless they are old enough to take responsibility for their own safety. Pedestrians and cyclists must be seen to observe the Road Safety Code.
d. show children using or in close proximity to dangerous substances or equipment without direct adult supervision
e. show children using or holding medication without adult presence/supervision.
f. show or encourage children to copy practices that might be unsafe for them.
Advertising should not undermine socially acceptable behaviour, established habits and lifestyle.
The behaviour of children in advertisements should be in line with what is generally accepted as proper behaviour.
Advertising should not make children believe that possession or use of the promoted product will bring happiness, popularity or success or give them physical, psychological or social advantages over other children, or that not possessing the promoted product will have the opposite effects.
Advertising should not make children believe that they are lacking in courage or that they are not fulfilling a duty if they do not buy or do not encourage others to buy a product
Advertising should not undermine the authority, responsibility, judgment or tastes of parents.
Advertising should not include any direct appeal to children to persuade their parents or other adults to buy products for them.
Prices should not be presented in such a way as to lead children to an unrealistic perception of the total cost or value of the product, e.g. with the use of words such as “only” etc. Advertising should not imply that the product being promoted is within the reach of every family budget.
Advertising which invites children to contact the marketer should encourage them to obtain the permission of a parent or other appropriate adult if any cost, including that of a communication, is involved.
Children’s personal information
When personal information is collected from children, children should be encouraged to obtain a parent’s or other appropriate adult’s permission before providing information, and reasonable steps should be taken to check that such permission has been given.
Only as much personal information should be collected as is necessary to enable the child to engage in the featured activity.
Data collected from children should not be used to address advertising to the children’s parents or other family members without prior consent of the parent.
4. Medicinal products for human use (Cap. 70(I)/2001)
The Law relating to the Human Use of Medicinal Products, Cap. 70(I)/2001, regulates the advertising of medicinal products for human use.
According to this Law any advertising of a medicinal product in respect of which a marketing authorization has not been granted is prohibited.(section 62).
According to section 62(3), the advertising of a medicinal product
1. Shall encourage the rational use of the medicinal product by presenting it objectively and without exaggerating its properties and
2. Shall not be misleading.
Section 63, Prohibits, among others, the advertising to the general public of medicinal products which
1. are available on medical prescription only
2. Contain psychotropic or narcotic substances
According to Section 64 all advertising to the general public of a medicinal product shall
a. Be set out in such a way that it is clear that the message is an advertisement and that the product is clearly identified as a medicinal product;
b. Include the following minimum information:
-the name of the medicinal product, as well as the common name if the medicinal product contains only one active substance;
-the information necessary for correct use of the medicinal product;
-an express, legible invitation to read carefully the instructions on the package leaflet or on the outer packaging, as the case may be.
According to section 64, the advertising of a medicinal product to the general public shall not contain any material which
a. gives the impression that a medical consultation or surgical operation is unnecessary, in particular by offering a diagnosis or by suggesting treatment by mail;
b. suggests that the effects of taking the medicine are guaranteed, are unaccompanied by adverse reactions or are better than, or equivalent to, those of another treatment or medical product;
c. Suggests that the health of the subject can be enhanced by taking the medicine;
d. Suggests that the health of the subject could be affected by not taking the medicine
e. Is directed exclusively or principally at children;
f. Refers to a recommendation by scientists, health professionals or persons who are neither of the foregoing but, who because of their celebrity, could encourage the consumption of medicinal products;
g. Suggests that the medicinal product is a foodstuff, cosmetic or other consumer product;
h. Suggests that the safety or efficacy of the medicinal product is due to the fact that it is natural;
i. Could, by a description or detailed representation of a case history, lead to erroneous self-diagnosis;
j. Refers, in improper, alarming or misleading terms, to claims of recovery;
k. Uses in improper, alarming or misleading terms, pictorial representations of changes in the human body caused by disease or injury, or of the action of a medicinal product on the human body or parts thereof.
5. Package travelling and holidays (Cap. 51(I)/1998)
Section 4 of the Law relating to package travel, package holidays and package tours, provides that any descriptive matter concerning a package and supplied by the organizer or the retailer to the consumer, the price of the package and any other conditions applying to the contract must not contain any misleading information.
a. The Customer (the maker of the advertisement) is fully responsible for the content of an advertisement. Placement of an advertisement in violation of these Requirements and without a prior approval of the Contractor may cause alteration of Advertising Materials, suspension and/or termination of placement of advertising in sole discretion of the Contractor and application of disciplinary sanctions to violators.
b. The Customer is also responsible to check that the content of the advertisement complies with Cyprus law even if a relevant advertising regulation is not included in the above requirements.
c. The Contractor warns the Customer that the above regulations may be amended from time to time, and the Customer is not relieved from the responsibility that the content of the advertisement must comply with Cyprus law.
d. In case the Contractor suffers any loss as a result of the publication of advertisement by a Customer, then the Customer shall immediately indemnify the Contractor for any loss or damage incurred.
Version as of June 01, 2017