As marketing and advertising becomes more sophisticated, many lawmakers around the world have realized that they need to add regulations to protect consumers. As laws have changed over the years, this evolution has led to different advertising norms by country and era.
Check out the differences below and see how the United States differs from the rest of the world.
While advertising and marketing has been around for hundreds of years, if not longer, the technological advances and the new platforms of the last twenty-five years has completely changed the advertising landscape.
Now, the consumer has more power than ever before. Even though we’re exposed to more ads today than in the past, we have options, such as ad blockers and streaming services, which didn’t exist even at the turn of the century.
But, technological advances, especially public wi-fi, smartphones, and social media, has provided opportunities for companies to track our browsing and shopping habits by collecting personal data and placing cookies on our computers.
Advertisers are also able to study habits and performance of ads much better than in the past. As a result, they can target specific customers in different locations and in different points in the buying process.
In response, many countries around the world have passed regulations that enforce higher standards of advertising.
Germany, as with many of the EU nations, has many more advertising regulations than the U.S. and are a mix between basic rules and voluntary guidelines.
For example, offering premiums, which is widely accepted and used in the United States, is not allowed in Germany.
Some of the other rules and regulations for advertising in Germany are:
A study by the European Policy Information Centre ranked Ireland as the third most restrictive EU country when it comes to eating, drinking, and smoking. Some of the specific regulations include:
However, the study showed that these regulations haven’t correlated with a reduction in use by Irish citizens.
Advertising in Sweden has been a challenge for a number of years because of their progressive stance, especially in terms of advertising to children.
For instance, Sweden passed a law in 1991, well before other nations, that prohibited all advertising on television aimed at children under the age of 12.
While similar laws are still in effect, another major concern of regulators is the lack of transparency, or unclear and insufficient information. Some examples of this include:
In 2015, China updated its advertising law that had been in place since 1994, which was well before the rise of the internet and before many Western brands had arrived.
One of the key components of the update included targeting false advertising and the use of celebrity endorsers.
Some of the specific changes include:
As with many other developed nations, Brazil has been refining advertising regulations during recent years.
One of their biggest concerns recently is controlling influencer marketing, or endorsements masked on social media as not advertising.
In addition, one interesting fact was that in 2015, Brazilians consumed 40% more alcohol than other developed nations. As a result, Brazil has placed a heavy emphasis on controlling ads regarding alcoholic products.
Some of these regulations include:
Recent Australian advertising regulations in recent years has focused on false advertising, including claims such as:
These claims can mislead consumers into buying products that don’t meet expectations. As a result, the Australian government expects businesses to monitor their advertisements, social media posts, and anywhere else where a business advertises and take down any false claims as soon as possible.
As one of the most business-friendly economies in the world, the United States of America is not as strict as many other nations. Many laws put more emphasis on consumers educating themselves rather than regulating businesses and advertising claims.
However, there are many regulations for advertisers to follow. Some of the most important to know are:
There are many other laws and regulations that advertisers must follow, especially when it comes to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and alcohol, which includes properly labeling for harmful effects and health-related warnings.
One of the biggest differences between advertising in the 1960s and today is that consumers can choose between more products now and they have more opportunities to connect with brands.
As a result, many consumers feel more educated and want to spend money with brands who connect with them through online chats, social media, or forums.
Therefore, brands have morphed during the rise of the internet to find new ways to connect with customers. However, sometimes these new methods are just reinventions of old-school advertising techniques.
Some of the biggest differences in advertising in the 60s compared to now include:
The General Data Protection Regulation is a law passed in the European Union that is a set of rules to give EU citizens more control of their personal data online.
The biggest aspect of the law is the collection, use, and the protection of personal data. Some of the specific requirements of the law are:
The fines and punishments for offenses are in a tiered approach, with a cap of 20 million euros or 4% of a company’s total global revenue, whichever is larger, for the most serious offenses.
According to a study by the University of Minnesota, children in the United States view an average of one food commercial for every five minutes of television watched.
Usually, these ads are for foods high in sugar and fat, such as fast food, high-sugar cereals, sugary drinks, and candy.
As a result, eight countries have passed regulations restricting broadcast advertising and other child-targeted advertising techniques.
As new technologies are created, new advertising regulations will continue to pop up. How can you stay up to date?
One way it to pursue an Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a master’s degree with a concentration in marketing and advertising, which usually covers regulations, legislation, and technology.
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