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Official Gazette

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Law on Advertising

Updated: 15:52’ - 29/08/2012

From January 1 next year, the new Law on Advertising (the Law) will take effect, superseding the 2001 Advertising Ordinance (the Ordinance).

The 5-chapter and 43-article Law governs all advertising activities in the Vietnamese territory with specific and clear provisions. It provides advertising activities, rights and obligations of organizations and individuals involved in advertising activities and state management of advertising activities.

The Law does not apply to political propaganda information.

The Law has perpetuated the provisions of the Ordinance and contains many new contents.

New provisions on advertising activities

Advertising activities are specified in Chapter III of the Law with many new provisions.

Regarding advertising media, websites, electronic devices, terminal equipment and ad persons are added as two new types. Under Article 17 of the Law, advertising media include: i) Press; ii) Websites, electronic devices, terminal equipments and other telecommunications equipments; iii) Printed products, audio or video records and other technological devices; iv) Billboards, banners, signboards, light boxes and specialized advertisement screens; v) Transport means; vi) Trade fairs, conferences, seminars, exhibitions, events and cultural or sports programs; vii) Ad persons and advertising objects; and viii) Other advertising media as prescribed by law.

Regarding advertisement on the press, the Law increases advertising areas for printed press and the volume for advertisements on audio and visual press. Accordingly, the maximum area covered by advertisements is 15% for newspapers and 20% for magazines (the Ordinance sets a common level of 10%). The maximum volume for advertisements is 10% for audio and visual press, (this level is 5% in the Ordinance) and 5% for Pay TV. The Law also has separate provisions on advertisement on e-newspapers and websites. 

For advertisements on terminal equipment and electronic devices, the Law provides the sending of advertising short massages and emails. Organizations, individuals, electronic information service providers and telecommunications service providers must comply with requirements on recipients, conditions, time and frequency of sending.

The Law no longer requires permits for advertisement on computerized information networks, billboards and banners.

Advertising involving foreign elements

The Law devotes Chapter IV to providing for advertising involving foreign elements.

Accordingly, foreign organizations and individuals operating in Vietnam may advertise their products, goods, services and operation under this Law. For those not operating in Vietnam but wishing to advertise their products, goods, services and operations in the country, they must hire advertisers in Vietnam to do so.

Foreign advertising businesses may set up their representative offices in Vietnam. The provincial-level People’s Committee of the locality where they request the establishment of their representative offices will grant establishment licenses. Their representative offices are allowed to promote advertising but may not directly provide advertising services. The Government will stipulate the competence, dossiers, orders and procedures for licensing the establishment of representative offices.

Under the Ordinance, foreign organizations and individuals providing advertising services may open their branches in Vietnam. However, after Vietnam joins the WTO, they are allowed to sign business cooperation contracts or set up joint ventures with Vietnamese partners, but are not allowed to set up their branches. Therefore, the Law does not provide the establishment of foreign advertising branches.

Products, goods and services banned from advertising

Article 7 of the Law lists eight kinds of products, goods and services banned from advertising, including:

i) Goods banned from trading and services banned from provision by law;

ii) Cigarettes;

iii) Liquors of an alcoholic content of 150 or higher;

iv) Breastmilk substitutes for children under 24 months, dietary supplements for children under 6 months, feeding bottles and pacifiers;   

v) Prescription medicines; non-prescription medicines which are recommended by competent state agencies for restricted use or use under physician supervision;

vi) Goods and products of obscene nature;

vii) Hunting rifles and bullets, sports weapons and violence-inciting products and goods; and

viii) Other products, goods and services banned from advertising to be specified by the Government to meet practical requirements.

The Ordinance does not provide the above list.

Article 8 of the Law additionally prohibits acts of advertising using direct comparisons, advertising products as the best without lawful documentary evidence, advertising with unfair competition contents and advertising goods infringing upon intellectual property.-


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