Frequently asked questions about RO



What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation is an industry regulating itself. RO is a self-regulatory organization making it possible for consumers, companies and organizations to complain about advertising that might be in breach of the Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice (Consolidated ICC Code). 

Through self-regulation, ethics in advertising is raised, aiming to increase trust in advertising among consumers. Another benefit with self-regulation is that it works faster than legislation and adapts easier to a constantly changing market.

But self-regulation can't replace legislation, it is complementary. In some areas, self-regulation is more appropriate and other areas require legislation.


Are there similar organizations in other countries?

Yes, there are similar self-regulatory organizations in the EU-countries and other parts of the world. These organizations are coordinated within the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), which has its headquarters in Brussels. On the EASA website you´ll find all the member organizations.


How many complaints does RO receive per year?

Between 500 and 1000 complaints. There may be several complaints in one case.


How many decisions are made per year? 

Approximately between 230 to 260 decisions.


How is the advertiser "punished" if the complaint is upheld?

The advertisers are expected to follow the decisions.The decision is published on reklamombudsmannen.org and in some cases in newsletters and press releases. Many decisions receive a lot of media attention. Since RO is not an authority or court there are no financial or legal sanctions.


Will the advertising agency be "punished" if the complaint is upheld?

No, but the name of the agency is specified in the decision which is published on the website.


Does the advertiser change the advertising if it the complaint is upheld?

In most cases the advertiser changes or ceases to use the advertising. Most advertisers want to avoid the negative media attention . In several cases the advertiser even chooses to cease using the advertising because of the complaint, even before the advertising has been assessed. 


Does the complainant get any economic compensation if the complaint is upheld?

No, RO can't impose economic sanctions.


Can a complainant be anonymous?

The advertiser will get to know the complainants name but receives no contact information, unless the complainant is a company or other organization. A complaint about advertising can never be upheld unless the advertiser has been given the chance to respond to RO about the complaint. The complaint and the advertisers response is quoted in the decision.


How long does it take for the case to be handled?

Most cases are handled within three months. It can take longer depending on the investigation.

Do you have other questions? Contact [email protected]