Updated rules of professional conduct

"The updating of this rule (formerly known as "Health & Beauty") responds to a need to adapt to some changes that have appeared in the advertising discourse specific to the sector, but also to marketing and scientific developments that characterize the new products which are precisely promoted by the ads", says the ARPP (previously named BVP) in a statement.

As the procedure requires, the initial draft was submitted to the Joint Council for Advertising (Conseil Paritaire de la Publicité) - composed equally of representatives from NGO (consumer and environment) and advertising professionals. In its opinion, the Council has placed particular emphasis on issues such as the statistical significance of samples used for surveys or refering, in advertising, to techniques such as facelifts, as well as refering to ARPP’s new Code of Sustainable Development for all entries related to environmental protection. According to the ARPP, the new Code of ethics has taken into consideration all of its recommendations.

Main changes

Among the important points introduced by the new Code:

- Presentation of performances including figures: Beyond clear display concerning the nature of tests carried out (clinical or customer satisfaction), sample size and average scores on the general population, new rules set limits for any further presentation of more typical results on a smaller proportion of the sample ;

- Use of allegations such as “without” / “free”: Such allegation can only be used, provided it is presented in a positive way and only aiming to be informative. Hence, professionals want to avoid proliferation of claims such as “without parabens”, “without preservatives”, “phthalates free”, which could give way to stronger consumer suspicion towards a number of substances, even though they admit there are real expectations from a “growing part of the public” for such information;

- Products claimed as “organic” or “natural”: A cosmetic product can only be described as “natural” if the final product contains a minimum of 95 percent of ingredients identified as "natural" or "of natural origin", and it can only be described as "organic" if it contains 100 percent of ingredients derived from certified organic farming and / or if it has been certified "organic" by a certification body and / or if it can be proven that it was developed according to published specifications equivalent to those of acknowledged certification bodies.

New advertisements will have to comply with these new rules as of March 1st, 2010. All ads are concerned, regardless of the broadcast medium used.

Click on the image here below to retrieve the document (in French):

ARPP Code des produits cosmétiques