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Consumer watchdog slams curd snack ad

  • 2005-12-14
  • Staff and wire reports
TALLINN - The Consumer Protection Board has imposed a fine for misleading advertising on the producer of the K-kohuke curd snack ad that bears an uncanny resemblance to the logo of the Center Party. The advertising agency, AS Idea AD, was fined 25,000 kroons (1,600 euros), half the maximum fine of 50,000 kroons as set out in the Advertising Act.

The Consumer Protection Board said the K-kohuke ad was misleading, since it failed to "bring out the advertised product clearly enough," spokespeople for the board were quoted as saying.

The watchdog said that, given the size of the text and the image used in the design, it was not possible for a consumer paying the usual amount of attention to unequivocally realize that the advertisement promoted a specific product 's a curd snack.

The curd ad materialized in the pre-election campaign period when outdoor political ads were banned in Estonia.

What's more, elements of the design used in the posters did not clearly refer to the product that was being advertised, the board said. It was difficult to unequivocally associate the word "cares" and the uppercase "K" with the product being advertised, and it remained unclear what was being advertised.

The Consumer Protection Board also rejected a claim by the advertising agency that the ad was promoting a well-known brand. The board said that, according to available information, the producer of the snack, AS Kohuke, was not in possession of a trademark similar to the white uppercase letter K on a green background.

The central electoral committee declared on Nov. 17 that the advertisements could be unambiguously associated with the Center Party.

The CEO of AS Idea AD, Mark Eikner, told the Baltic News Service that the advertising agency had obtained the ruling and would decide about its further actions during this week.

According to unofficial sources, a semiotic analysis of the advertisement ordered by the North Police Prefecture from Tartu University also noted the political nature of the ad and its connection with the Center Party.

Margi Ein, an MP from the People's Union and chairperson of the anti-corruption panel, said the Prosecutor's Office was asked to check if the K-kohuke curd snack, displayed in a period when outdoor political advertising was prohibited, effectively constituted an acceptance act of a concealed donation by the Center Party.

On Dec. 12, the anti-corruption committee also sent a letter to AS Idea AD to learn who financed the campaign.