Other forms of tobacco advertising
Although TV, Internet and the press are the main and most common channels of advertising, companies engaged in the manufacture and sale of tobacco products are increasingly developing marketing strategies involving a wider range of various advertising and promotional communications such as the so-called ‘below-the-line’ activities6, outdoor advertising, point-ofsale promotions, etc.
These forms of tobacco advertising in Bulgaria are limited to the following three cases:
i. advertising on the territory of companies where tobacco or tobacco products are produced, and commercial outlets where tobacco and tobacco products are on sale
ii. using a trademark, where participants in the advertisement do not include persons aged under 18 and it is not intended for or targeted at such persons7;
iii. advertising on locations or events where access of persons aged under 18 is prohibited.
Provided that the conditions listed above are met, advertising of tobacco and tobacco products is allowed. All other types of advertising are prohibited.
It should be noted that this only covers forms of advertising other than printed media, radio, TV and Internet, i.e. the use of a tobacco product’s registered trademark in a TV advertisement would not be legal even if no under age people are involved or targeted.
3. SPONSORSHIP ISSUES
Bulgarian companies dealing with tobacco business are limited in their sponsorship campaigns since sponsorship is generally accepted as a tool for brand promotion and advertising. However, restrictions cover only sponsorship associated with somehow a cross-border promotional effect.
The Bulgarian TTP Act prohibits persons whose primary business activity is the manufacture and sale of tobacco products to sponsor:
i. radio and TV programmes; and
ii. events or activities involving or taking place in several EU or EEA member states, or otherwise having cross-border effects.
Furthermore, the TTP Act bans any free distribution of tobacco products in the context of crossborder events as referred to in point (ii.) above, having the purpose of direct or indirect promotion of such products.
4. OTHER LEGAL ISSUES
International efforts are targeted to calling upon the introduction of a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, i.e. a ban covering all forms of commercial communication promoting tobacco products.
However, currently some important issues related to tobacco advertising that seem to be left outside the scope of application of the Directive still raise controversy under most national legislations in the EU, including in Bulgaria.
Tobacco advertising in films
Although it is commonly accepted among international film makers that tobacco advertising should be avoided in films, it is still argued whether showing smoking scenes or indirect advertising in films is permitted under the current regulations.