On Monday, the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance, in partnership with its Russian member ALRUD, held a half-day legal seminar in Moscow, "Significant Legal Issues in Advertising: An International Perspective." In the shadow of the Kremlin, lawyers from Russia, the United States, Hungary, South Africa, Poland, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom discussed key issues for marketers to take into account when advertising in Russia, EMEA, and around the world.

The event kicked off with a special presentation from a representative from Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service, who highlighted some of the areas that the consumer protection regulator was focused on, which included pharmaceutical advertising, the use of "surrogate advertising" to advertise banned products, misleading comparative advertising, and social media, text message, and other online marketing.

Here are some of the other key takeaways from the event that should be of interest to global marketers:

  • Even with harmonization in the European Union, you still need to ensure that your advertising complies with the laws of each country where it will run. Don’t assume that just because it complies with one country’s laws, that the advertising will be appropriate for other jurisdictions.
  • Pay attention to both the laws that govern your marketing and the advertising self-regulatory principles that apply. Many countries have strong self-regulatory systems with detailed codes that should be take into account. 
  • Comparative advertising raises special challenges for marketers creating global campaigns.  It’s critical to understand the different standards that apply, including the rules on the use of others’ trademarks and the different remedies that may be available for false advertising and trademark infringement. 
  • While influencer marketing is a global phenomenon, the standards for who is an "influencer," the disclosures that are required, and what type of monitoring is necessary vary widely.  For example, using #ad as a disclaimer works in some counties, but not others.  
  • Don’t ignore the other risks associated with influencer marketing, including potential liability for false advertising and intellectual property infringement, as well as reputational risks. 

In addition to lawyers from a broad cross section of marketers and advertising agencies based in Russia, representatives from about twenty-five GALA’s EMEA region attended as well.