European Commission

 

Case detail



Directive article Article 7 1.
Annex I al1 11.
National ID Vj-60/2011/45.
Country Hungary Decision date 09/01/2012
Common name Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (Budapest) Plaintiff(s) Hungarian Competition Authority
Court translation Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest) Defendant(s) Vodafone Magyarország Zrt. (“Vodafone”) and Napi Gazdaság Kiadó Kft. (“Napi”)
Subject advertorial
Keywords black listeditorial contentfalse impressionfalse informationinaccurate informationmisleading omissions

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Headnote

The use of a slogan or a logo which indicates that editorial content has been supported by a trader, does not suffice to avoid infringement of the black listed provision on advertorial content (item 11 of the black list).

Facts

The defendants had entered into a contractual relationship. Napi, a newspaper, provided advertisement space in its publication for Vodafone, a telecom provider, while Vodafone provided promotion materials. Napi did not distinguish in prices on the basis of the nature of the advertisement, hence articles and advertisements had fallen under the same scope.
In certain cases, articles seemingly unrelated to Vodafone had been published including slogans like “sponsored by Vodafone” and Vodafone’s logo. These articles had been an integral part of the newspaper, written and signed by editors of Napi. This created a false impression on the nature of the articles, making it hard for readers to define the nature of the published material.
Vodafone argued that no misleading practices had taken place and that all measures had been taken to inform readers on the nature of the articles.
Napi on its turn stated that these articles had been indeed of a genuine journalistic nature, irrespective of the contract with Vodafone, as Vodafone merely provided press material for these articles. In addition, Vodafone had not in any way verified or influenced the content of the articles.
 

Legal issue

Does the use of a slogan or a logo which indicates that editorial content has been supported by a trader, suffices to avoid infringement of the black listed provision on advertorial content (item 11 of the black list)?

Decision

The Authority set out that the articles concerned are published as a result of yearly advertising contracts between Vodafone and Napi, and that these articles are directly tied to Vodafone. As a result, the Authority stated, item 11 the Annex to the UCP Directive is undoubtedly applicable.
To justify its decision, the Authority further pointed out that there had been no indications for the readers (consumers) that the articles are written and published on behalf of Vodafone. In the opinion of the Authority, the use of the slogans and Vodafone logos are not satisfactory for indication of the nature of the material. In addition, the fact that the readers of Napi are mostly educated people, does not affect the assessment.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
HU http://www.gvh.hu/domain2/files/modules/module25/1916306DD3E87210C.pdf

Result

The Authority did not find imposing of a fine necessary, due to several factors, such as the low number of affected consumers and the fact that the defendants agreed to carry out amendments.

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