No Sexism Please, We’re Swedish

18th November 2015

There’s just a week to go until our International Training event, where Elisabeth Trotzig (Director General of Reklamombudsmannen) will be one of the speakers. Here’s a look at some of the major themes in Swedish and Scandinavian advertising regulation.


Most Scandinavian countries are regulated by the same framework – the ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Practice, together with relevant EU regulations. However, only Sweden has a self-regulatory organisation, Reklamombudsmannen (similar to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority), responsible for enforcing the code. In other Scandinavian territories it’s down to a more general consumer ombudsman to oversee advertising.


Alcohol ads and advertising to children are dealt with extremely strictly, being banned in some countries. It’s notable that a few Norwegian and Swedish channels operate from the UK, meaning they fall under Ofcom jurisdiction and regulation. The EU directive for TV has attempted to limit this practice, so if in doubt talk to the relevant broadcaster.


As with any part of the world, culture and history have a direct influence on how advertising regulation is interpreted. This is very much the case for Sweden, where more than half of all complaints are about portrayal of gender (compared to the 15% EU average). The three most complained about ads in Sweden last year were all about sexual and ethnic discrimination and were all upheld.


The majority of complaints in Sweden come from lobbying groups, such as The Swedish Women’s Lobby, rather than individuals. There is also a growing lobby against gambling which may see increased numbers of complaints.



Deal with global or pan-European campaigns? Get the full story on Swedish regulations and complaint trends from Elisabeth Trotzig at our International Ad Compliance Training event.