The Advertisement Board, rendered in its decision in the last month of 2020, proving its sensitivity towards Turkish cuisine and food culture, ruled that advertisements for a canned seafood product to be permanently suspended.
In the advertisement broadcasted on television channels and social media accounts of the advertiser, the couple who would like to dine out is on the street with various restaurants selling food from Turkish cuisine. However, the non-hygienic attitude of the waiters, the cooks’ dirty clothes and the ingredients of low quality used led the couple to prefer to eat the advertised product, which is canned seafood, at home. Moreover, the scenes presenting disregarded hygiene rules and the perception created by the advertisement is supported by the posters with slogans on the restaurant walls, the horror-thriller movie soundtrack playing during the scene and the smoky atmosphere in these scenes.
The Advertisement Board concluded that the advertisement slanders the activities of the actors in the food and beverage industry and creates the impression as if they are unhealthy and should not be preferred. The most striking conclusion drawn regarding the advertisement is that it degrades entire Turkish cuisine and the food and beverage industry. According to the decision, it is disreputable that featuring well-known Turkish cuisine dishes in an undesired way is defamatory. Based on this evaluation, the Advertisement Board concluded that the advertisement is defamatory and constitutes an unfair comparison against other business entities providing food and drink services in the market. The advertisement abuses consumer trust and unfairly benefits from the consumers’ lack of experience and information.
The decision set a precedent in which the Advertisement Board evaluated the level of its tolerance to defamation and comparative advertisements. The Advertisement Board adopted quite a sensitive and strict approach. Considering this recent decision, advertisers should be very careful about comparative advertisements, even if the comparison is implicit.