"Advertising is first and foremost communication and information"
In recent years, the debate on the regulation of advertising in Switzerland has intensified. The Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) is currently examining a revision of the Foodstuffs Act, which provides for restrictions on advertising aimed at children and young people for foods with a high fat, sugar or salt content.
The position of the legislation naturally has far-reaching implications for the Swiss advertising landscape. We spoke to Jürg Bachmann, President of KS/CS Communication Switzerland, the umbrella organization for commercial communication in Switzerland, about the issue.
Mr. Bachmann, tobacco, gambling, soon also sugar - many politicians are calling for advertising restrictions and bans. What is the position of the KS/CS association on this?
Political pressure on sugary products is indeed increasing all the time. The regulatory pressure will not only affect the sugar content of products, but also their salt and fat content. This will include many more foods that will no longer be allowed to be advertised. If the WHO had its way, advertising for Swiss cheese, for example, would also be banned. In addition to initiatives by politicians in the national parliament, the departments of the authorities are also working diligently on new ideas on how our industry could be subject to bans and restrictions. It is therefore clear to us that our political work is and will become more important from year to year in order to maintain and enable a well-functioning Swiss advertising industry in the future.
Let's assume that politicians nevertheless consider such restrictions and bans. What would that mean for the advertising industry?
It would affect everyone who works in the advertising industry and depends on a functioning advertising industry: the clients, the agencies, the marketers, the media and outdoor advertising. Every part of the value chain would have to reckon with a loss of order volume. That cannot be allowed to happen. KS/CS Communication Switzerland will campaign against this. And wherever such laws and regulations are passed.
What is the KS/CS association doing to counter this trend towards bans?
As an umbrella organization for commercial communication and advertising in particular, we are campaigning at federal, cantonal and communal political levels in Switzerland. We focus primarily on the national parliamentary level. Where necessary, we also get involved in the development of advertising policy in the cantons and municipalities. Our goal is legislation that gives advertising as much creative freedom as possible. Advertising should not be hindered by unbalanced regulations or ineffective bans. After all, advertising is first and foremost communication and information. This is also the view of various consumer surveys. We are clearly of the opinion that legally available products and services may also be advertised. Unnecessary advertising bans create the illusion of solutions without actually creating them. They do not affect the problem that would like to be solved, but the people who work in the advertising industry. The KS/CS association stands for a strong Swiss advertising market.
How does KS/CS specifically get involved in these political processes?
KS/CS has several effective tools at its disposal to influence such developments. We monitor federal policy with regard to laws and parliamentary initiatives that affect advertising. If such an initiative is submitted to parliament, we work with our members in thematic working groups to develop positions and arguments. We then make these available to the members of the "Market and Advertising" parliamentary group at the right time in the political process. In addition, we have the opportunity to bring the interests of the industry directly to Parliament and are available as a competence center for political and, together with our specialist lawyer, legal issues.
How can the companies concerned support KS/CS in its political work?
Membership of KS/CS has the strongest effect. Companies support our work directly and are involved in it in return. In addition, our members benefit from regular industry-relevant information and are well informed about current political and legal developments.
Thank you very much for the interview.