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Parliamentary question - E-003522/2015Parliamentary question

Ban on subliminal advertising

Question for written answer E-003522-15
to the Commission
Rule 130
Olga Sehnalová (S&D)

Advertising based on subliminal perception is considered to be particularly dangerous in that it is virtually imperceptible to the final consumer.

According to Council Directive 2007/65/EC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities, audiovisual commercial communications shall not use subliminal techniques.

Directive 2006/114/EC concerning misleading and comparative advertising, on the other hand, does not incorporate any provisions on subliminal advertising. Nor is subliminal advertising covered by Directive 2005/29/EC concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market.

The Czech Republic bans the use of advertising based on subliminal perception under the Advertising Regulation Act. To date, infringements of this prohibition have been treated as a major offence punishable with fines of up to 10 million crowns. Now, a bill is surfacing which does away with the regulation of subliminal advertising. This is intended as a response to the Commission’s criticism that the Czech Republic has failed to transpose the said Unfair Commercial Practices Directive properly because Czech law goes beyond the bounds of maximum harmonisation.

Is the Commission demanding that the regulation of subliminal advertising in Czech legislation be abolished in connection with the transposition of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive?

The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive does not prevent Member States from retaining or adopting measures which provide more extensive protection for consumers.

Can the use of subliminal advertising be banned under Member States' national advertising legislation on the basis of the said provisions of Directives 2007/65/EC and 2005/29/EC?