The Cyprus Advertising Standards Agency (in Greek: Φορέας Ελέγχου Επικοινωνίας) has recently completed a decade of successful operation in the Cyprus advertising and media market. It is a non-profit organisation whose primary purpose is to regulate advertisements displayed in Cyprus to ensure that they are legal, decent, honest, truthful, created with a sense of social responsibility, and in compliance with the applicable laws and principles of fair competition.
The Advertising Standards Authority serves as a self-regulatory body for the communication industry, as it involves all three interested parties: advertisers, who are the clients of any advertising communication; advertising agencies, which are responsible for creating advertisements; and the media, which handle the registration or broadcasting of advertisements. Similar bodies exist and operate in 23 European Union countries today. This commitment aligns with the European Advertising Standards Alliance, a non-profit organisation based in Brussels that promotes self-regulation for the adherence to advertising ethics. It aims to establish and successfully operate such bodies in every EU country.
In addition to issuing decisions on contested issues of advertisements, one of the most successful services offered by the Cyprus Advertising Standards Agency is the advisory services concerning a pre-check of an advertisement, also known as Copy Advice. Copy advice is an essential component of the advertising industry, serving as a valuable resource for advertisers and advertising agencies alike. This advisory service plays a pivotal role in ensuring that advertising content complies with ethical standards and legal regulations, thereby minimizing the risk of potential issues and complaints after advertisements are broadcast or published. One of the primary benefits of copy advice is its proactive nature. By seeking guidance before finalizing an advertisement, advertisers can identify and address any potential ethical or legal concerns in advance. This approach not only helps in avoiding costly and time-consuming disputes but also contributes to maintaining the reputation and credibility of the advertising industry as a whole. Furthermore, copy advice is a confidential service, ensuring that advertisers can openly discuss their creative concepts and advertising materials without fear of public scrutiny. This confidentiality encourages transparency and fosters a constructive dialogue between advertisers, advertising agencies and the media, promoting compliance with advertising standards. In many cases, copy advice has proven to be a cost-effective strategy. The nominal fee associated with non-member requests for copy advice is a small investment compared to the potential expenses incurred when dealing with legal disputes or regulatory fines resulting from non-compliant advertisements. By utilising this service, advertisers can save both time and resources in the long run.
The significance of copy advice is not limited to its role in preventing advertising issues. It also reflects the commitment of organizations like the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) to uphold high ethical standards in advertising. Their involvement in providing copy advice demonstrates their dedication to fostering responsible advertising practices and protecting consumers from misleading or harmful content.
Copy advice takes the form of a non-binding opinion. It practically means that the advertiser/advertising agency may choose not to follow the placement recorded in the copy advice. Accordingly, in the event of a complaint about the said advertisement, the First Instance Committee which will be called upon to decide on the complaint will be informed of the opinion and will consider, but it is not bound by it in its decision. The experience from organisations such as the Cyprus Advertising Regulation Organisation (CARO) that participate in the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) and provide copy advice in their vast majority, has shown that the use of copy advice particularly helps to avoid problems/complaints after the broadcasting/publication or the advertisements, problems that usually cost time, money and possibly the image of the advertised business. The Management of the Cyprus Advertising Regulation Organisation (CARO) provides copy advice to all interested companies, with absolute confidentiality. For the members of CARO, the service is provided free of charge. For non-members, the cost is 200 euro for each advertising proposal.
The placement of CARO is usually provided within 2 working days. From 2012 to 2020, CARO gave a total of 237 copy advices.