Advertising is not the Wild West Marko Likić

Marko Likić is Senior Account Executive at the Imago Ogilvy. In addition, he is a court expert for advertising and a standing member of the Court of Honor of HURA. He is a good interlocutor when it comes to advertising regulation and its application. He is an advocate for solving disputes through discourse, because court processes unnecessarily burn resources, and they cost a pretty penny as well. For regional marketing portal “Media Marketing“ he has given an interview on the topic.

You were recently named a court expert for marketing. How did you decide to get educated for a court expert, and what does this bring to the Imago Ogilvy?
Marko Likić: As part of the HURA Expert project, a certification program for self-regulation experts in market communications was launched in 2017. The main goal of the program was to get marketers familiar with the basic concepts, legal provisions and ethical and self-regulatory standards of the profession. I joined the program as a representative of Imago Ogilvy.
After completing the program, I entered a separate one-year education program. In that period, with the mentorship of Kamilo Antolović, I gained extended knowledge from the field covered by a permanent marketing expert. I have been appointed for the expert in January this year and since that time Imago Ogilvy has an additional asset, as it has an officially certified person for this field of work.

What is actually the job of a court expert for marketing? What kind of cases do they work on?
Marko Likić: The need for a court expert occurs in cases where the court has insufficient knowledge of the specific matter. But the court is the final step when the parties cannot reach an agreeable solution to a dispute. Fortunately, there are not many such cases. In such a situation, everyone actually loses, because the long-term processes consume significant resources. It is my opinion that it is more productive to try to resolve potential disputes by agreement.
A court expert may, for example, give expert opinion in the extrajudicial procedure and make recommendations on further actions to agencies, advertisers, generally opposing parties. In this way, the situation is much simpler, smarter, faster and cheaper. Of course, my role in the agency is to prevent such potential situations.

Marketing industry is more and more subject to self-regulation, why?
Marko Likić: The state creates laws that regulate social activity, including the field of advertising and market communications which, according to leading experts’ estimates, may be too numerous. On the other hand, these same laws may sometimes be rigid, deficient or imprecise, so professional associations bring self-regulatory standards that harmonize the actors’ action in marketing with the legal framework. A good example of this is the HURA’s Advertising and Market Communication Code.
Codes of conduct are developed in accordance with the law, intermingled with it, supplementing it and filling in gaps that are not clearly defined by law. Practice has shown that the best results are achieved precisely in that area of correlation, ie the interdependence of professional-ethical norms and codes with the legal framework.

Is there some other place where such knowledge could be applied?
Marko Likić: I am a permanent member of the Court of Honor of HURA, a professional body within which all (un)substantiated objections to violations of the Code of Advertising and Market Communication of HURA are discussed. Given the sporadic attempts to create campaigns that are on the verge of acceptable, there is an increased pressure of the public and regulators on the industry.
The Court of Honor is actually a kind of a buffer to alleviate the unfounded pressure from the public and institutions on the creative freedom of the message creators, but also a dam that prevents advertising industry from breaking the standards of responsible and ethical communication with the market.

Which kind of communication is most subject to the public scrutiny?
Marko Likić: I would say these are messages directed at children and youth. The public is, rightfully, especially sensitive to this social group, which is why you should be especially careful in planning communication for this target group.

Any final message for agencies and advertisers?
Marko Likić: I want us all to produce smart, positive, innovative and responsible advertising, for the purpose of preserving and raising consumer trust in the marketing industry.

Original article available on link.

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