By Anton Komarovsky
This year sees the third White Square Festival, although this will be the first time that a session of the Advertisement Co-ordination Board will be hosted (part of the CIS Interstate Antimonopoly Policy Council). According to Irina Baryshnikova, who heads the Belarusian Trade Ministry’s Consumer Rights Protection and Advertising Supervision Department, representatives of state authorities from eleven CIS countries are to join advertisers. They will be discussing problems relating to the regulation of the advertising market while looking at the influence of trans-national advertising.
A social advertising contest looks set to be the most interesting event at the forum, welcoming ordinary students alongside prominent designers. Specialists note that advertising standards, including for public information campaigns, have significantly enhanced in Belarus. “Belarusian advertising has become more serious,” asserts White Square Festival Director Alena Ustinovich. “The professionalism of advertising agencies has increased while advertisers have begun to appreciate the importance of creativity.”
According to specialists, domestic enterprises are requesting the services of advertising agencies more frequently. Ms. Baryshnikova explains that, last year, manufacturers’ advertising activity rose by 30 percent. Unfortunately, advertising can be misleading, so strict legislation is required to ensure that false claims or ambiguous statements are not made. Last year, the Trade Ministry prepared amendments to advertising legislation, with banks being always required to indicate the full interest rate charged on loans.
Discussing these amendments at their first reading, the parliamentarians proposed that advertising of alcoholic and low-alcohol beverages and beer be limited, alongside that of any form of gambling, such as lotteries or casinos. “The proposals will be discussed and, if we manage to reach a co-ordinated position, the changes will be reflected in legislation,” Ms. Baryshnikova notes, adding that Parliament will return to these amendments in April.