Don’t use coronavirus for advertising, says Ethics Council
Share article:
Share article:

Don’t use coronavirus for advertising, says Ethics Council

The key rule is to "avoid irrelevant references to the coronavirus crisis in new advertising messages." Credit: Belga

Belgium’s Advertising Council has urged advertisers to not play into the public’s feelings of fear and uncertainty regarding the new coronavirus (Covid-19) after receiving several complaints from the public.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Jury of Advertising Ethics (JEP), an independent self-regulatory body of the Belgian advertising sector, is receiving an increasing number of complaints and questions about ads “that might not occur as much under normal circumstances,” it said in a statement on its website, “but express very understandable sensitivities and concerns right now.”

To prevent more complaints, the Advertising Council made some coronavirus-specific recommendations to the entire advertising sector, with the key rule being to “avoid irrelevant references to the coronavirus crisis in new advertising messages” and ensure that they “do not portray behaviour that undermines the measures taken by the public authorities.”

Secondly, particular attention should be paid to the current circumstances in a campaign that had already been planned, or if it is recycled. “A campaign that would not have been problematic under normal circumstances may now be perceived as inappropriate by the public,” the Council added.

Related News:


Lastly, ads should not play on feelings of fear, or mention anything, “whether explicit or implicit,” about the specific efficacy of a product to prevent or control the spread of the coronavirus.

Many advertisements seemed to run counter to the government’s measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, containing messages such as “visit your advisor,” “come to our showroom,” or “our shops are open during the week.” These ads were likely created before the current crisis, according to the JEP.

Others, however, refer to immune system boosting, “with or without a specific mention of the coronavirus.”

On top of that, the Jury received complaints about “a digital marketing communication from a foreign advertiser in which two mouth masks were offered at the time of purchase of the product in question.” However, the ad has since been withdrawn.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Belgian youth asked to skip school for Friday’s climate strike
Young people in Belgium have been called on by the climate movement Youth for Climate to once again skip school and take to the streets during the ...
Belgium to invest in sustainable heating in 2022
The federal government will set aside about one million euros in its 2022 budget for a social tariff for sustainable heating, Federal Energy Minister ...
Over 50,000 march against fascism in Rome
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated against fascism in Rome on Saturday, one week after violent protests against the Covid certificate. Over ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Belgium’s health minister not in favour of a general booster shot
The latest figures on new coronavirus cases are worrying, but rather than imposing new safety measures, what is needed is full compliance with ...
Thousands protest against the Covid health pass in France
Demonstrations against the health pass and other measures aimed at preventing the spread of the Coronavirus mobilised tens of thousands of protesters ...
Record-breaking 770-metre highline installed in Freÿr, Belgium
A 770-metre long highline was installed at an altitude of 70 metres at the Freÿr Rocks on Saturday, setting a new Belgian record, according to ...
Huge cannabis farm discovered inside closed down Chinese restaurant near Charleroi
A cannabis plantation with several hundred mature plants was dismantled on Friday evening in a former Chinese restaurant on Chaussée de Bruxelles ...
Citizen founded wind turbine project launched in Liège region
A citizen founded wind turbine project was inaugurated in the Liège Region on Saturday by Walloon Energy Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) together ...
Five questions to philosopher Philippe Van Parijs on Leopold II and embarrassment in Brussels’ public space
The worldwide explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, combined with the 60th anniversary of the ...
Unfinished draft of new Astérix story discovered
The discovery of the unfinished draft of a cartoon album on the most famous of all Gauls, sketched by cartoonist René Goscinny, was announced by his ...
Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...