Testimonial Advertisement and Burden of Proof

It is the main principle that all advertisements should be accurate, honest, and the accuracy of claims is required to be proven. In practice, it is crucial to determine whether the advertisement is accurate and is not misleading. There is no legal definition under Turkish Law for misleading advertising, while misleading advertising is strictly prohibited. Within general practices, misleading advertising is interpreted as advertisements giving false information to consumers and advertisements against the good faith principle.

Claims in advertisements should be proven with scientific information and data. The advertiser may use its own research, information, and data that are scientifically acceptable. There is no legal obligation to present, along with the advertisement, the scientific data that proves the claims asserted in the advertisements. However, verified scientific reports and documents should be presented to the Advertisement Board upon complaint, or in the case of a possible ex-officio examination by the Advertisement Board.

In terms of comparative advertising, an advanced level of burden of proof is required for comparison between competitors and the products. Accordingly, every claim in comparative advertisements should be proven with reports obtained from universities, accredited testing institutions, or independent research institutions.

There is no type of advertising where the requirement of proof does not exist. However, it is acknowledged that some abstract claims are not expected to be proven. Yet, it should be noted that the Advertisement Board adopts an extremely strict approach in relation to abstract and superlative claims in advertisements. The Advertisement Board imposes sanctions upon statements such as, ‘’The best, the number one in the world, etc.,’’ on the grounds that these claims exceed abstract claims, and should be proven.

In terms of testimonial advertisements, the accuracy of the advertisements, and the proof of the claims in the advertisements are very important. In testimonial advertisements, testimonies or confirmation statements that are not based on real experiences, knowledge or research of the experts, institution, or organization should not be used in advertising.

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