What is The Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (RO)?
The Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen in Swedish, abbreviated to RO) is a self-regulatory organization. Our main task is to review commercial advertising and make sure advertising standards are kept high by self-regulating the industry. RO also inform and educate the public, the industry and the authorities about marketing ethics.
RO was founded in 2009 on the initiative of the Swedish Advertising Association and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
What RO does
Before RO existed there where two ethical councils to review advertising; the Trades Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising and the Council on Market Ethics. The former focused on sexism and gender discrimination and the latter on other aspects of ethical advertisement, such as marketing to children and misleading advertisement. RO has incorporated these two councils. Thus RO handles complaints about both gender discriminating and otherwise unethical advertisements. RO uses the guidance of the Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC code) when assessing advertising.
RO supplements article 4 about gender discriminating advertising in the ICC code by the following criteria:
- Advertising portraying men or women as sex objects that can be considered offensive (objectifying).
- Advertising portraying men or women in a stereotypical way in terms of gender roles and where men or women are represented in a derogatory way (stereotyping).
- Advertising that is discriminating or derogatory in any other way.
How RO is funded
RO is is funded on a voluntary basis through an annual fee from the advertisers, advertising producers and media. Any company can contribute and the fee is related to the companies' annual media spending, according to TNS SIFO's advertising measurements. The minimum fee is 10 000 sek and the maximum fee is 70 000 sek per year.
The RO Jury (RON)
Cases that are complicated or deals with a subject that has never been tried before are referred to the RO Jury (RON). The Jury consists of a chairman who is a judge or a lawyer, lawyers and representatives from the advertising industry, universities and consumer interests.