Showroomprivé.com advertisement pinned for violation of ARPP’s sustainable development recommendation

27/01/2021

The Ecological Transition Agency (hereinafter « ADEME” » and several individuals have filed a complaint in front of the Authority of professional regulation of advertising (hereinafter « ARPP ») against Showroomprivé.com for the broadcast on television of an advertising spot – « Le dilemme de Camille » – which would not respect the ARPP’s « Sustainable Development” Recommendation (hereinafter the “Recommendation ») [1] .

According to the ADEME, « this advertising pushes [notably] to a guilt-free consumption without proving at any time that the products proposed respond to the environmental and social issues we face », the advertising spot evoking « Camille’s dilemma » such as « choosing between conscience and pleasure », « ordering on Showroomprivé » or « buying a bike », « thinking about the planet » or « staying pretty » which, in its view, would be contrary to the recommendation.

In an opinion rendered on January 4, 2021[2], the advertising[3]  ethics jury found that the complaint was well-founded on the grounds that the disputed advertising spot did not respect the articles of the recommendation relating to the truthfulness of the advertiser’s actions in favor of the environment, the proportionality of the advertising message, and its clarity (Articles 2.1, 2.3[4], 3.1, 3.2, and 4.1 of the recommendation).

However, the jury for advertising ethics did not accept the argument that the litigious advertising spot incited excessive consumption.

In any case, the opinion of January 4, 2021, although it falls within the scope of soft law, should encourage companies and advertising agencies to be vigilant in view of the impact of their messages on consumer behavior.

UGGC Law Firm and its team specialized in advertising law are at your disposal to assist you in the development and implementation of advertising campaigns in compliance with the rules of ethics applicable to the advertising sector.

By the IP/IT team of UGGC Avocats Law Firm

Source: ADEME


[1] See last sustainable development recommendation in force since August 1, 2020: https://www.arpp.org/nous-consulter/regles/regles-de-deontologie/developpement-durable/

[2] To consult the opinion of the advertising ethics jury of January 4, 2021: https://www.jdp-pub.org/avis/showroomprive-ddb-television-internet-plaintes-fondees/

[3] For a definition of the mission of the advertising deontology jury, see : https://www.jdp-pub.org/qui-sommes-nous/mission/ :

“The Jury can be seized by any legal or natural person (individuals, associations, administration …) concerning an advertisement.

The complaint, entirely free for the complainant, can concern any support and sector.

To be admissible, a complaint must, however, relate to (i) a clearly identified advertisement, (ii) actually broadcast during the two months preceding receipt of the complaint, (iii) on French territory and (iv) be related only to the content of the advertisement (its message, images, sounds, atmosphere, etc.).

The JDP rules exclusively on the conformity of the advertisement with the ethical rules of the profession. It only examines the content of the advertisements and in no case, the product or service concerned. Nor does it pronounce on the practice or merits of the organizations or individuals who participated in the development of the message.

The JDP does not deal with non-compliance with the rules of law, which is the sole responsibility of the courts and the administration.

Each complaint is reviewed by the Chair and/or Vice-Chair who decides what action to take. Only complaints that present a presumption of non-compliance and require a debate by the members are examined in plenary session.

The Jury thus gives its opinions in a collegial manner, respecting the adversarial nature of the debates: the Jury asks the advertiser, its agency or the advertising medium(s) to put forward all elements relating to the advertising in question.

The Jury then deliberates with complete impartiality and independence, including in relation to ARPP decisions if the advertising was seen in the context of opinions and advice in all media and interventions after broadcast.

The ARPP provides the secretariat for the JDP throughout the public complaints management process.

4] Advertising must not mislead the public as to the reality of the advertiser’s actions or the sustainable development properties of its products. The actions of advertisers and the properties of their products in this area must be significant in order to be claimed (2.1 of the Recommendation).

The advertiser must be able to substantiate sustainable development arguments with objective, reliable, truthful and verifiable elements at the time of advertising (2.3 of the recommendation).

The advertising message must accurately express the action of the advertiser or the properties of its products, in adequacy with the transmissible supporting elements (3.1 of the recommendation).

The advertising message must be proportionate to the extent of the actions carried out by the advertiser in terms of sustainable development as well as to the properties of the product it promotes (3.2 of the recommendation).

The advertiser must indicate in the advertisement how its activities or products have the qualities claimed (4.1 of the Recommendation).

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