International Expansion and Growth Insights | Advertising and marketing

Written on 26 Nov 2019

Advertising and marketing

A key aspect of successful international expansion is the ability to market products and services effectively. It is important to remain vigilant of local advertising laws and regulations. Different jurisdictions have different rules governing both the content of advertising, and the medium through which marketing activities may carried out. Sanctions can also vary by country, from 'cease-and-desist' or 'take-down' demands through to regulator fines or even private court action.

As a general rule, most countries require advertising claims to be accurate and not misleading. While there may be country-by-country nuances as to how this principle is enforced, it is advisable to only make advertising claims that are truthful and which can be proven, particularly where the claim is capable of objective substantiation.

Businesses engaged in regulated industries such as financial services or medical products, or in the promotion of higher-risk and/or age-restricted products or services, such as alcohol, tobacco or gambling, should be aware that there may be industry-specific rules in place that could impact marketing content and disclosures that need to be made on ads and age-targeting restrictions.

Certain types of advertising content tend to be higher risk, such as claims which make comparisons against a competitor or which reference individuals in a disparaging light. The chances of a complaint or action in these circumstances tend to be much higher where a third party feels aggrieved or provoked than where an ad simply focuses on promoting the advertiser's own products or services in an honest manner without reference to third parties.

Advertising regulations in many territories will apply to claims made on websites or social media accounts controlled by the advertiser, just as they would apply to paid-for advertising carried out via TV, radio or posters. Furthermore, many countries have privacy laws in place which dictate whether the express consent of the end recipient is required in order to engage in certain types of marketing, particularly direct marketing; for instance, in many European countries a prior opt-in consent may be needed in order to send promotional emails to a consumer. As such, marketers should carry out appropriate checks to ensure that they are fully aware of laws in the territories being targeted which will apply to the medium through which the marketing is distributed. Failure to do so may lead to unwanted scrutiny from local regulators.