Swedish Television enforces strict advertising rules

A remote control is resting on a table

writer icon Samuel Christiansen     ISB   |   Culture     🕐 21. Dec. 2018

Throughout December, up until Christmas Eve, more than a million people in Sweden watch a public-funded television programme every day. The programme has been an annual Advent tradition since 1960, and Norway and Denmark share the same tradition with programmes of their own.

Advent Calendar
Typically, the programme takes the form of a story, usually with a Christmas theme. Each day, a new episode is broadcast.

The show functions like an Advent calendar and even has an accompanying paper calendar that people can open at home. After each episode, a much larger version of the same calendar is opened in the studio.

Fixed restrictions
There are strict rules in place for presenters who work for the public television broadcaster, SVT. Slightly different rules apply for actors, but they are also under scrutiny.

In this year's Advent programme, one of the leading actors has fallen on the wrong side of one of the rules. Specifically, the rigorous directive against advertising.

Swedish actress Cecilia Forss has a main part in the Advent programme. At the same time as it is being broadcasted, she is the face of an advertising campaign for a new shopping app that has just launched in Sweden.

The app, called Tise, is a second-hand shopping from Norway. It competes with existing services such as eBay, Tradera and Blocket. Its design is similar to that of Instagram, with Tise users following people whose style they like. The twist is that they can buy the pictured clothes and interior furnishings directly from them.

Forss is not only the face of the Swedish campaign, but she is also the Creative Director for the Swedish branch of Tise. 

Situation “not optimal”
Lisa Andrae, Project Manager for the Advent programme on SVT, told Breakit - “We were not aware of this and are now in a dialogue with [Forss] about how to handle the campaign”.

Andrae went on to say that they do not think it is optimal that the Tise campaign coincides with the Advent programme. 

Veronika Kylbergh, Country Manager for Tise in Sweden, told Breakit that Forss had subsequently informed her that she was not permitted to be affiliated with another company until after the 24th December. Forss had missed communicating this fact to her colleagues at Tise.

Shortly afterwards, it was reported that Forss, together with SVT, had decided to delay the marketing campaign for Tise in Sweden until January 2019.

Some may feel that the rules are too strict in Sweden, with regards to the restrictions on actors and presenters who appear on SVT programmes. It can seem a little excessive for a production company to set boundaries for what the actors and presenters do outside of the company itself.

SVT argues that the rules exist in order for the publicly-funded television channel to remain impartial. They do not wish to be affiliated with any products or services and have therefore drawn up the stringent rules accordingly.

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