June 07, 2016.

Law on Advertising

A new Law on Advertising (published in the Official Herald of RS No. 6/2016, hereinafter the „Law“) has been enacted. It came into force on May 6, 2016 and superseded the Law on Advertising (published in the Official Herald of RS No. 79/2005 and 83/2014 - et al. law, hereinafter the „Law of 2005“), which had been in force for ten years.

The Law makes no systematic changes, but introduces certain new concepts such as internet advertising in Article 45 thereof, and makes some changes in the application of some old concepts. The Law was enacted in response to directives of the European Union regulating the matter of advertising.

One of the above mentioned changes is related to comparative advertising. The literal interpretation of certain provisions of the Law of 2005 had led to the position by administrative authorities that any comparative advertisement of products or services was prohibited. The Law now clearly provides that comparative advertising is permitted provided it meets the statutory requirements such as, inter alia, comparing goods or services that serve the same need, it is not misleading or deceptive, it is not disparaging the competitor or his reputation, his trademark, etc.

When it comes to advertising alcohol, the Law of 2005 distinguished between advertising wine and beer, on one side, and other alcohol beverages, on the other side. The Law now sets a threshold at 20% of alcoholic content of the beverage; advertising of alcohol beverages with alcoholic content of over 20% can be published in print media if the media is not principally targeted at audiences below the age of 18; such advertising can be posted online only between the hours of 23:00 and 06:00. Advertising alcohol beverage with alcoholic content below 20% is more lax and it is permitted to be advertised, for example, on buses and in sporting events.

The Law treats e-cigarettes the same way as tobacco and other smoking products and applies the same stringent rules on the advertising.

Fines, ranging between 300,000 and 2,000,000 RSD, may be imposed on legal entities that violate the provisions of the Law; for an entrepreneur the fines range from 50,000 to 500,000 RSD, and for the responsible person of a legal entity the fines range from 50,000 to 150,000 RSD.