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Unethical advertising An analysis of complaints to the Advertising Ombudsman in Sweden 2009-2012.

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Marie Grusell
Holt Kristoffer
Publicerad i International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). Dublin, Ireland: 25-29 June
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid Institutionen för journalistik, medier och kommunikation (JMG)
Språk en
Länkar iamcr.org/congress/dublin2013
Ämnesord advertising; marketing communication; ICC codes; The Swedish Advertising Ombudsman; ethics; sexual discrimination
Ämneskategorier Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap


ABSTRACT Sweden has a long history of self-regulation in the advertising sector. It was, however, only in 2009, that the Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen, hereafter RO) was instated, and has since then tried all cases of advertising reported as unethical by the public. Hitherto, there has been no systematic analysis of the cases tried by RO, from a scholarly perspective. In this study, the first task is therefore to provide a general description of the amount and types of complaints reported since 2009, and the outcome of RO’s work - the statements. This is answered through an analysis of available data from RO’s office. Secondly, we ask what kind of response the complaints generate from the charged advertisers? Specifically, we investigate the responses from advertisers who were found culpable by RO for sexual discrimination, the most common cause for complaints. Our results indicate that a large portion of the cases are related to discrimination, and that the largest portion within this category deals with sexual discrimination. Also, the percentage of exonerative statements has hovered steadily around or above 60%. Furthermore, sexual discrimination is almost exclusively directed against women and most commonly found in adverts for clothes, cars, food and entertainment. The accused companies responses to the complaints reveals that in most cases, the advertisers disagree with the complaint, and would prefer to continue using the advertisement.

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