Social Responsibility Awareness and Social Values in Advertisements

The Advertisement Board rendered a guiding decision in September 2022 with respect to the advertisements published by an international fashion company operating in Turkey in which some food products like bread and doughnuts covered with colourful toppings were placed together with some attractive shoes and sandals also offered for sale. The Board evaluated that the advertisements violated the principle requiring that advertisements must follow the principles of fair competition which have gained acceptance in both business life and in public opinion within the framework of the sense of economic and social responsibility.

The decision does not contain any reasoning on why and how the scrutinized advertisement constitutes a breach of a sense of economic and social responsibility. However, it could be inferred from analysis of the Board’s decision that the fact that bread has a special meaning under the moral values of Turkish society and is deemed “sacred” has been was factored in to the decision. In addition, it could be argued that the Board did not only consider Turkish society’s values but also considered the fact that bread and food are indeed related to sacred values or other moral emotions in other parts of the world as well. Therefore, it could be interpreted that the Advertisement Board associates the term social responsibility awareness with values corresponding to the public conscience.  

Although it is stipulated in the Advertising Regulation that advertisements should be made with an awareness of economic and social responsibility, since these concepts are not clearly defined, we believe that the Board’s decision is important and helpful for interpreting the meaning of these concepts.

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