Not boom yet, but buoyancy

In 2010, Belarus’ advertising market generated $100m, showing that producers now rely on more than their reputation for quality to ensure sales; money spent on advertising is steadily growing

By Monika Kedrova

After a small delay, Belarusian industrialists are realising that advertising is their path to preserving a market niche. Moreover, retail outlets are ready to take on a share of these costs. Last year, advertising budgets of the trade rose by 40 percent. Jointly with manufacturing enterprises, retailers conducted about 20,000 advertising campaigns.

“State policy aims to stimulate manufacturers to promote their products via advertising,” explains the Head of the Department for the Control of Advertising and Protection of Consumer Rights at the Trade Ministry, Irina Baryshnikova. She adds that the advertising market’s present development leaves much to be desired, while national legislation continues to be improved. “We’ve prepared a draft law, amending the Law on Advertising to prevent misrepresentation to the public by unscrupulous advertisers,” explains Ms. Baryshnikova.

Interestingly, last year, specialists from the Trade Ministry detected many cases of unfair use of advertising, which provoked the infringement of consumers’ rights. Additionally, bankers received attention for failing to indicate the full interest rates due on loans during TV and radio advertisements, and on billboards. If these amendments to the Law on Advertising are adopted, banking officials will be obliged to give full disclosure of terms.

Companies involved in promoting concert tours should also expect changes, with names of foreign stars and their compositions to be written in foreign languages, without the current need for translation into Russian. “We aim to create more acceptable conditions for advertising, without infringing the rights of consumers or advertisers,” notes Ms. Baryshnikova.

The domestic advertising market is demonstrating measurable growth, reaching $100m last year (up 12 percent on 2009). Two years ago, the market entered the crisis with this figure, so it has clearly overcome economic difficulties. “We avoided a major advertising dip, unlike Russia and Ukraine; here, advertising revenue fell by about 20 percent, against 30 and 50 percent in Russia and Ukraine respectively. Financial advertising and that of property suffered greatly in these neighbouring states but such advertising was never a significant element of the Belarusian advertising market. Outside advertisements and those placed in the mass media dropped in Russia and Ukraine yet remained buoyant in Belarus. I think that we’ll maintain our 10-12 percent pace of market growth throughout 2011,” believes SMG Holding’s Director, Piotr Popelushko. The Trade Ministry is also optimistic about the future. “The state is interested in establishing conditions to liberalise the advertising market and ensure growth,” says Ms. Baryshnikova.

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