Reference on the primacy like “No. 1 in the world” in advertisement in Ukraine: The practice of usage

Marketing claim ‘No 1’ is widely used in Ukraine in advertising goods and services. Because of so wide use it attracts the attention of Ukraine’s anti-competitive body – the Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine (the ‘AMCU’) – which runs investigations to verify the truthfulness and validity of such claims since the Law of Ukraine “On protection against unfair competition” defines that unfair competition is the dissemination of misleading information.

To comply with the Law of Ukraine “On advertising” in terms of the legality, accuracy and reliability of advertising and to confirm the prominence of the relevant products, advertisers include in advertising references to research made by marketing organizations and external experts, or their own research.

Thus, having analyzed the Recommendations of the AMCU dated 12 November 2020 No.52-pk, where the AMCU considered advertising materials containing statement ‘No. 1 in the world’, the following situation is reviewed, and conclusions are suggested:

A pharma company, as an advertiser, distributed the statement ‘No. 1 in the world in the category of drugs for the liver’ in the advertising of a medicinal product and used a disclaimer which referred to a study involving 63 countries. Having analyzed it, the AMCU noted that there are at least 193 countries in the world (the UN-member countries), and the world is not limited to 63 countries. Based on this approach, the AMCU instructed to cease the dissemination of such information and recommended the advertiser to inform consumers about their products in a way that would not be misleading.

Thus, the advertisers should more carefully compare the results of their research with ‘world’s top product’ statement in the absolute claims like ‘No.1’, so as not to become the object of the AMCU attention. Each statement muse be analyzed on case-by-case basis, but the general recommendations would be to indicate in the disclaimer at least the following information: (1) product market / category of goods, among which the advertised product has gained leadership; (2) the claimed fact (e.g., value of sales, sales in pieces or money); (3) the period which covers calculated data; (4) who counted it and when.

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