ONLINE VERSION
PART 3: ADVERTISEMENT

 
1.0 - Scope and Coverage
   
1.1
This part serves as a guideline that applies to advertisements communicated electronically and includes television, radio, online services and audiotext hosting services otherwise referred to as premium rate services. In this part :
"Advertisement" means an announcement of a public nature whether for the sale or purchase or provision of goods or services or constituting of an invitation to participate in an activity and conveyed by or through any signage, image or sound disseminated through electronic medium for advertising purposes.
"Advertiser" means any person who utilises the electronic medium to advertise their products or services.
   
"Providers of advertisement Content" for this Part include:
(a) Advertisers;
(b) Advertising agencies; and
(c) Persons who control the dissemination effort.
   
"Consumer" is defined as any person who might be exposed to an advertisement whether as an end user of the product advertised or as a user who is doing business or as a purchaser of the product advertised.
1.2
Responsibility for observing this part primarily falls on advertisers. Others involved in producing and transmitting advertisements such as agencies, online publishers, broadcasters and other advertising service suppliers such as production houses, music composers and designers shall also accept an obligation to abide by this part and the specific guidelines that apply to them.

2.0 - Objectives
   
2.1
The main objective of this part is to ensure continued reliable standards of advertisements through self-regulation in accordance with expectations of consumers and internationally recognised good practice governing advertisement Content disseminated by the electronic media.
2.2
The Malaysian advertising fraternity recognises that creative freedom carries with it the responsibility of ensuring that the rights of its audiences are protected.
2.3
This Part, in addition to the recommended guidelines in this Content Code, serves as a guide towards upholding the high standards expected of the advertising service industry in a practical and commercially feasible manner and at the same time foster, promote and encourage its development.

3.0 - Principles
   
3.1 
The following principles shall guide Advertisement Content providers who are affected by and/or are subject to this Part of the Code:
     
  (a)
All advertisements must conform with this part and to the general guidelines on content.
  (b)
All advertisements should be legal, decent, honest and truthful.
  (c)
All advertisements should be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
  (d)
All advertisements should respect the principles of fair competition generally accepted in business.

4.0 - Specific Guidelines
   
4.1
By way of amplification of the scope objectives and principles the following specific guidelines shall apply to advertisements.
  (i) Legality
 

Advertisers have primary responsibility for ensuring that their advertisements comply with the law and should not incite anyone to break it.

  (ii) Decency
 
(a) 
Advertisements should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of, but not limited to, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and physical or mental disability.
 
(b) 
Advertisements must not contain statements, audio or visual presentations that are offensive to the standards of decency prevailing among those who are likely to be exposed to them. The fact that a particular product is offensive to some people is not sufficient grounds for objecting to an advertisement for it.
  (iii) Honesty and Truthfulness
 
(a) 
Advertisements must not be so framed as to abuse the trust of the consumer or exploit his lack of experience or knowledge.
 
(b) 
No advertisement should mislead by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise.
 

(iv) Fear and Distress
Advertisements must not without justifiable reason play on fear. They may, however, issue an appeal "to be fearful" to encourage prudent behaviour or to discourage dangerous or ill-advised actions, taking into consideration that the fear likely to be aroused should not be disproportionate to the risk.

(v) Safety
Advertisements should not show or encourage unsafe practices except in the context of promoting safety. Particular care should be taken with advertisements addressed to or depicting children and young people.

(vi) Violence / anti-social behaviour
Advertisements should contain nothing that condones or is likely to provoke violence or anti-social behaviour.

  (v) Protection of privacy
 
(a)
Advertisements shall not portray or refer to, by whatever means, any living person, unless their express prior permission has been obtained.
 
(b)
This requirement applies to all persons, including public figures and foreign nationals. Advertisers shall also take note not to offend the religious or other susceptibilities of those connected in any way with deceased persons depicted or referred to in any advertisement.
 
(vi) Claims
 
(a)
Advertisers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims made in an advertisement whether direct or implied that are capable of objective substantiation. If there is a significant division of informed opinion about any claims, they should not be portrayed as generally agreed.
 
(b)
Claims that have not been independently substantiated should not exaggerate the value, accuracy, scientific validity or practical usefulness of the product advertised. Obvious untruths or exaggerations that are unlikely to mislead and incidental minor errors and unorthodox words are all allowed provided they do not affect the accuracy or perception of the advertisement in any material way.
 
(ix) Testimonials and Endorsements
 
Advertisements shall not contain or refer to any testimonial or endorsement unless it is genuine and related to the personal experience over a reasonable period of time of the person giving it.
 
(x) Prices
 
(a)
Any stated price should be clear and should relate to the product advertised. Advertisers should ensure that prices match the products illustrated.
 
(b)
If the price of one product is dependent on the purchase of another, the extent of any commitment by consumers should be made clear.
 
(c)
Price claims such as 'up to' and 'from' should not exaggerate the availability of benefits likely to be obtained by consumers.
  (xi) Free Offers
 
(a)
In making a free offer conditional on the purchase of other items. Consumers' liability for any costs should be made clear in all material featuring the offer.
 
(b)

An offer should be described as free only if consumers pay no more than the:

 
i.
Current public rates of postage.
 
ii.
Actual cost of freight or delivery.
 
iii.
Costs, including incidental expenses, of any travel involved if consumers collect the offer.
 
(c)
Advertisers should make no additional charges to consumers for packing and handling.
  (xii) Availaibility of Products
 
(a)
Advertisements shall not be electronically disseminated unless the advertiser has reasonable grounds for believing that he can supply any demand likely to be created by his advertising.
 
(b)
In particular, no attempt shall be made to use the advertising of unavailable or unregistered products (when registration is compulsory) or non-existent products as a means of assessing likely public demand, should such a product be offered in the future.
 
(c)
Where it becomes clear that an advertised product is not available, (in circumstances where the public are not likely to assume from advertising its ready availability) immediate action must be taken to ensure that further advertisements for the products are promptly amended or withdrawn.
 
(xiii) Guarantees
 
(a)
The word 'guarantee' should not be used in any way that could diminish consumers' legal rights. Substantial limitations should be spelt out in the advertisement. Before commitment, consumers should be able to obtain the full terms of the guarantee from advertisers.
 
(b)
Advertisers should inform consumers about the nature and extent of any additional rights provided by the guarantee, over and above those stipulated by law, and should make clear how to obtain redress.
 
(xiv) Comparisons
 
(a)
Advertisements containing comparisons with other advertisers, or other products are permissible in the interest of vigorous competition and public information, provided they comply with the terms of this section.
 
(b)
All comparative advertisements shall respect the principles of fair competition and shall be so designed that there is no likelihood of the consumer being misled as a result of the comparison, either about the product advertised or that with which it is compared.
 
(c)
The subject matter of a comparison shall not be chosen in such a way as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser or so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is truly the case.
 
(d)
Points of comparison shall be based on facts that can be substantiated and should not be unfairly selected. In particular:
   
i.
The basis of comparison shall be the same for all the products being compared and shall be clearly stated in the advertisements so that it can be seen that like is being compared with like.
   
ii.
Where items are listed and compared with those competitors' products, the list shall be complete or else the advertisement shall make clear that the items are only a selection.
 
(xv) Denigration
Advertisers should not attack or discredit other businesses or their products.

(xvi) Exploitation of Goodwill
 Advertisers should not make unfair use of the goodwill attached to the trademark, name,    brand, logo, slogan or the advertising campaign of any other organisation.

(xvii) Imitation
No advertisement should so closely resemble any other that it misleads or causes confusion.

(xviii) Unacceptable Products and Services
Advertisements for products or services coming within the recognised character of, or specifically concerned with the following are not acceptable:

  (a)
Cigarette, tobacco and its accessories;
  (b)
Any item banned in the Postal Services Act 1991 (Act 465) for the purpose of cheating or misleading;
  (c)
The occult and fortune tellers;
  (d)
Marriage agencies and friendship clubs;
  (e)
Unlicensed employment agencies;
  (f)
Any form of gambling including betting and gambling tips;
  (g)
Clothing which is printed with word(s) or symbol(s) that has an inappropriate message;
  (h)
Scenes which are sexual in nature or are indecent including kissing scenes between adults;
  (i)
Scenes which are sexually explicit or impolite; Pornography;
  (j)
Pig, pork products and its derivatives;
  (k)
Betting and gambling;
  (l)
Fire crackers; Note: whilst the actual advertising of the product is banned, there is no issue with DEPICTING fireworks in commercials related to other products/services.
  (m)
Any form of financial speculation intended to promote or attract interest in any stocks and shares;
Note: only advertisements related to newly approved Initial Public Offering (IPO) is allowed - subject to the relevant applicable Acts.
  (n)
Death notices, funeral and burial service notices and burial monuments;
  (o)
Disco scenes;
  (p)
Slimming products, whether it is used orally or physical application.

5.0 - Indirect Advertising and Product Placements
   
5.1
An advertisement for an acceptable product or service shall be unacceptable in the event a significant effect would be to publicise indirectly an unacceptable product or service.
5.2
"Product Placements" relevant to the context of the situation are allowed but services and goods that are specifically banned are not allowed.
5.3
"Joint promotions" of products of different brands and products, if exercised for a certain period of time is permissible.
 
6.0 - Identifying Advertiser and Recognising Advertisements
   
6.1
Advertisers, online publishers, broadcasters and owners of other electronic media should ensure that advertisements are designed and presented in such a way that it is clear that they are advertisements.
6.2
Features, announcements or promotions that are disseminated in exchange for a payment or other reciprocal arrangement should comply with this Code if their content is controlled by the advertisers and should also be clearly identified as such.
6.3
Distance selling advertisements with written response mechanisms (e.g. postal, fax or e-mail) and advertisements for one-day sales, homework schemes and the like should contain the name and address of the advertisers. Distance selling advertisements for business opportunities should contain the name and contact details of the advertisers. Unless required by law, other advertisers are not normally obliged to identify themselves.

7.0 - The Use of People in Advertising
   
7.1
The Use of Women in Advertising
  (a)
Advertisements must not project women as an object for sex or be shown to merely satisfy men's desire and satisfaction.
  (b)
Advertisements must portray positive images of women.
7.2
Children and Advertising
  (a)
The use of children is not encouraged unless the products advertised are relevant to them and or except in the context of promoting safety for the children as depicted within paragraph (d).
  (b)
Advertisements addressed to children or young people or likely to be seen by them, shall not contain anything whether an illustration or otherwise, which result in harming them physically, mentally or morally or which exploits their credulity, their lack of experience or natural sense of loyalty.
  (c)
Advertisements pertaining to activities of a society or club for children must be that of a club or society that is properly supervised.
  (d)
In any situation where children are projected, careful consideration must be given for their safety.
  Illustrations
  i)
Children must not be seen leaning on a window or a bridge railing or climbing a steep cliff in a dangerous manner.
  ii)
Small children must not be shown climbing a high rack or to reach for something on a table higher than their head level.
  iii)
Medicines, disinfectants, antiseptics, caustic substances, pesticides and all aerosol preparations must not be shown within reach of children without close parental supervision or neither can they be shown using them.
  iv)
Children must not be shown using matches or any gas, petrol, paraffin, electrical or mechanical appliances which could cause them suffering burns, electric shocks or other injuries.
  iv)
Children must not be shown driving or riding agricultural machines (including tractor-drawn carts) or any other heavy machines.
  vi)
Children are not allowed to be exposed to any form of fire without being observed by adults.
  vii)
Children must not be shown playing with firecrackers or fireworks which are banned in Malaysia.
7.3

Professionals in Advertising
Care shall be taken, where a testimonial is given by a person with professional qualifications, that in indicating those qualifications the advertisers do not cause the person giving the testimonial to transgress any regulations of the professional institution(s) to which he belongs.


8.0 - Other Specific Advertisements
   
8.1
Commercials on Medical Products, Treatments and Facilities
Advertisements on medicines, remedies, appliances, skill and services relating to diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases or conditions affecting the human body are under the authority of the Medicine Advertisements Board, Ministry of Health Malaysia (K.K.L.I.U)
8.2 Pesticide Advertisements
Advertisements on pesticides are under the authority of Pesticide Advertising Board and Ministry of Agriculture.
8.3 
Food and Drinks
Advertisements of food and drink products that claim therapeutic or prophylactic qualities will be subject to prior screening; however, food and drink products that help improve, restore or maintain the consumers' general health, physical or mental condition will not be subject to prior screening. All advertisements must comply with the requirement in the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985.
8.4
Direct Sales Advertising
  (a)
Infomercials and Direct Sales Advertising must also abide by this Code.
  (b)
Unless otherwise provided by this Code, all advertisers must get relevant approval from the Ministries concerned and abide by the laws set by the Government from time to time unless stated otherwise.
8.5 
Alcoholic Drinks And Liquor
Advertisements on alcoholic drinks and liquor are not allowed. If an alcohol company is the title sponsor of an international sporting event held in Malaysia, it is only allowed to promote the event and not directly advertise its products. In addition to this, alcohol companies should only use the events' logo in the promotional on-air material.
8.6
Sanitary Protection Products and Incontinent Pads For Adults
Advertisements in this product category is unusually sensitive and commercials for it can easily cause offence or embarrassment, even among people who have no objection in principle to its being advertised on television. Because it is often viewed in a family setting, television advertising needs to be treated with restraint and discretion. Anyone intending to produce a commercial for a sanitary protection product and incontinent pads for adults MUST abide by the following:-
  (a)
Restriction on Times of Transmission Commercials portraying a sanitary protection product and incontinent pads for adults are permissible only after 10.00pm.
  (b)
Visual Treatments and Product Descriptions Sanitary protection products and incontinent pads for adults - visual treatments must be done with taste and restraint, particular care is needed with shots of unwrapped towels, pads or tampons, whether actual or diagrammatic. Detailed references, whether in sound or vision, should avoid graphic descriptions which might offend or embarrass viewers.
  (c)
Appeals To Insecurity Sanitary protection products and incontinent pads for adults - no commercial may contain anything which, either directly or by its implication, is likely to undermine an individual's confidence in her own standards of personal hygiene. No implication of, or appeal to, sexual or social insecurity is acceptable. Commercials may not suggest, by whatever means, that menstruation is in any way unclean or shameful and variations of the word "clean" are unacceptable in advertising for this product category, as are other potentially offensive words such as "odour". The same applies to the advertising of incontinence.
  (d)
Taste and Offence All advertisements for the category of sanitary napkins and incontinent pads for adults must not offend against good taste or decency or be offensive to public feeling and should not prejudice respect for human dignity.
8.7 Messages and Notices
Messages broadcasted on television based on the following:
 
(i)
Private messages (e.g. birthday greetings, well wishes, etc)
 
(ii)
Congratulatory messages; and
 
(iii)
Bereavement notices;
 
are only acceptable at the broadcasters discretion and are to be aired after 10.00pm. Broadcasters are encouraged to exercise strict discretion so as to reflect the true intention and spirit of the message.

Messages that are indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person is not permissible.