Fur advertisement stopped in Norway

Publisert 03.01.2004

The fashion magazine ELLE received a warning from the Consumer Ombudsman for presenting an advertisement as editorial material.

Pels hvit rev 3

The fashion magazine ELLE received a warning from the Consumer Ombudsman for presenting an advertisement as editorial material.

In August 2003, the Norwegian issue of the international fashion magazine ELLE showed a seven-page advertisement for fur. The advertisement looked almost exactly like an ordinary fashion editorial: The photos were shot by one of ELLE´s favourite photographers Gilles Bensimon. The advert was titled "Fur Love" and "by Gilles Bensimon", there were no prices or fur trade marks, and the layout was similar to the rest of the magazine. The advert was followed by a small label in the corner of every second page reading "Elle international promotion".

The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance claimed that the advertising was a clear violation of the Norwegian marketing act, which states that every advertisement must be easy to identify as such, and be clearly marked so that it is not likely to be confused with editorial articles or photographs.

The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance sent a legal complaint to the Consumer Ombudsman ("Forbrukerombudet", an independent administrative body ensuring that traders observe the regulatory framework). Just before Christmas 2003 the Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance received a decision from the ombudsman, which fully supported the objections raised against ELLE. The ombudsman stated that the fur advertisement clearly violates Norwegian law, and must not be repeated. This means that both ELLE and other media must be a lot more reluctant to publish fur adverts in the future; similar fur ads cannot be legally shown anymore.

The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance got a lot of media coverage on the issue, and the president of the journalists union was interviewed about the case. He criticised ELLE for not upholding the boundary between advertising and editorial material, claiming it damaged the reputation of the media in general.

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