Proposed Polish bill pushes ad industry self-regulation

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WARSAW -- Poland's marketing community has established the country's first self-regulation council, the Polish Advertising Committee Initiative (PACI).

The organizers say the industry-wide effort calls for members, including manufacturers, agencies and the media, to adhere to a code of ethics that guarantees honesty, truth and morality in advertising - but they admit that the move is partly an effort to counter increasing government interest in Polish advertising practices.

"Our main objective is to ensure the code of practice for advertisers protects the consumer," says David Williams, Managing Director of Bates/Saatchi & Saatchi Warsaw.

Procter & Gamble's Warsaw-based General Manager Ian Troop adds: "it's important for us to establish credibility with consumers so they can believe the advertising they see on TV. Major multinationals will also benefit from having an effective means with which to deal with claim complaints, whether they are major or minor, in a clear and efficient way."

Other organizers include Media Polska publisher Kehrt Reyher, J. Walter Thompson/Parintex Director Frederic Winckler, and Marek Janicki, director of ITI/McCann- Erickson.

The initiative should also relieve some government pressure on legislation, "because there is a self-regulating body that has the legal status to lobby for the rights of advertisers," Mr. Williams says. "It's important for us to demonstrate to the government that the industry is going to be responsible towards the community it works in and to have a single voice to advise the government on things like standards in advertising."

In the next few weeks, Polish legislators are expected to vote on a consumer protection bill that could greatly effect the use of nudity, aggressive behavior, negative role models, and subliminal messages in advertising. And recently, a law was passed which strengthens the ban on alcohol advertising.

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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