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Advertising Code of Ethics: Major Mistakes To Avoid When You Create A Creative Advert

If you ever wondered if the advertisement is bound by certain rules or can be controlled then the answer is yes, and it’s not bound by just copyrights. In fact, the industry of advertising has ethical rules or a code of ethics that must be followed, and if any rule was broken, it might lead to a huge crisis and the advert might be removed from all platforms.

To sum it up, breaking the code of ethics for advertisement might lead to a huge loss for the brand; it can lose money and lose its reputation. One single and even unintentional mistake can ruin everything.


What Is The Code of Ethics?

Code of ethics defines the legal conditions and rules of creating an advert.

This code prevents any copywriter from promoting any false, unreliable, and immoral information and prevents using vulgar language. If these rules were not followed, as we mentioned, it can destroy the brand’s reputation, honor, and dignity.

Also, the code discourages any sort of advert that disrespects similar brands or products.

So, today we will provide you with some topics that should be avoided when creating a copy for an advert.


Sexual Harassment

Unless you’re raising awareness of the consequences of sexual harassment, don’t tackle this topic even for fun.

This is a sensitive topic to tackle even for fun, it has caused many women to suffer from such acts and it even traumatized them.

You should be really careful when you create a copy that includes a relationship between a man and a woman. Many brands or copywriters think it’s funny when they show a man sweet talks to a woman without her consent to promote a certain product and some brands use sexual harassment as a trend just for the sake of trendjacking; this can definitely end your career and business.


Degrading Women

Some people think it’s fun to degrade women as some people grew up seeing such acts.

People especially women are now aware of what degrades them and tackling this topic just to add a little humor is breaking the code of ethics. For example, people have been using the term “Women belong to the kitchen” a lot on social media, but if this was used in an advert, it will lead to a serious crisis for the brand and the copywriter.

With the feminist initiatives and organizations emerging more than ever, anything that degrades women will backfire.


Bullying or Making Fun of Someone

If you were to look back at the cinema industry or even theater, you would find that racism was normal.

Bullying someone or mocking them for their disability, color, or even ethnicity can break the code in adverts and even now in movies. People are aware now of these topics and they understand what bullying is and what racism is.

So, tackling these topics in an advert is unethical.


Invading Privacy

Don’t create an advert where someone could invade people’s privacy easily.

This is another sensitive topic, so brands need to pay attention in order not to encourage such acts. It’s not ok to show someone taking a picture of another person without their permission; if this was used in an advert, it will spark the viewers’ rage.

People and many initiatives have been doing a huge effort to raise awareness regarding this topic, a certain advert that encourages these acts can destroy what these initiatives have been doing.

In fact, a while ago, a person was sent to prison for shooting a video of a woman on her balcony.


Sexual References

Sexual references or explicit flirting shouldn’t be included in any advert.

Some brands think when they use sexual references or any semi-explicit words can be funny, when in fact, it is the worst way to promote a product or a service.

These sexual references can be used among people and instead of the brand promoting its product, it promoted vulgar language.


Violence / Abuse

We have seen many adverts that use physical abuse as a funny topic.

Right now people are trying to raise awareness about the type of abuse including child abuse! So, when a brand shows a father hitting their son or even two friends hitting each other as a joke, the brand will be promoting violence instead of the product.


Brands Took Down Their Adverts

There are many brands that took down their adverts due to the backlash.


Yesterday Citroen removed its newly released advert from all platforms after people viewed it as sexual harassment.


In Ramadan 2020, Cottonil also removed its advert featuring Mais Hemdan for its sexual references that angered the viewers.


Madinaty also sparked controversy when they released their advert in Ramadan 2020 that showed stratified. The brand didn’t take down the advert but removed this part.



Do you remember back in Ramadan 2016 when Juhayna released an advert with babies? Do you still remember the word “Dandoo”?

It made people really angry and they have every right to be.



Do you remember “Eezy Moozo?” If yes, then we would like to tell you that this advert backfired and was banned from television for how explicit and immoral it was.



Back in 2017, Ole released one of the worst adverts that encourages sexual harassment and even includes sexual references.

We can think of only 2 questions, “What the heck is this?” and “Why? Just Why?”


Brands That Shouldn’t Have Released These Adverts

If we went back in time about 10 years ago or more, Melody channels were releasing the worst adverts.

Even though we still remember them all and they used to make us laugh but when you think about them now with today’s mindset, you’ll realize that they were immoral.

Most of Melody’s adverts encouraged sexual harassment, violence, bullying, and even vulgar language. We frankly have no idea how were they aired and approved back then.

Share with us your opinion and tell us what advert made you furious.

Think Marketing

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