Seven Depts Have Taken Action To Regulate Celebrity From Advertising Endorsement Activities, E-cigarettes Included
BY Mozart Liu @ January 29, 2023


By the relevant work arrangements of the Central Propaganda Department on the governance of the cultural and entertainment sector, the State Administration for Market Regulation, together with the Cyberspace Administration of the Central Committee, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and the State Film Administration, jointly issued the Guiding Opinions on Further Regulating Celebrity Advertising Endorsement Activities (hereinafter referred to as the "Guiding Opinions"), which will be implemented from the date of promulgation.

In recent years, the entertainment industry has played an active role in meeting the diversified cultural needs of the masses and promoting economic growth, but the frequent occurrence of "overturning" incidents of celebrity advertising endorsements has seriously disrupted market order and polluted social atmosphere, and urgently needs to be effectively rectified. From the perspective of promoting the comprehensive management of the cultural and entertainment sector, the Guiding Opinions fully integrate existing laws, regulations, and policy documents, comprehensively use market competition, industry management, regulatory law enforcement, industry self-discipline, social supervision, and other measures to build a governance system that standardizes celebrity advertising endorsement activities and provide new institutional support for maintaining a clear space in the celebrity endorsement field.

To standardize celebrity advertising endorsement activities, it is not only necessary to strengthen supervision and law enforcement, but also to standardize market operations, strengthen industry management, promote market entities to take their responsibilities, orderly competition in the market, and strengthen industry autonomy, forming a virtuous circle in which virtuous and unethical stars are recognized by the market, and illegal and unethical stars are boycotted by the market. It is hoped that all parties involved in celebrity advertising endorsement activities will conscientiously study the Guiding Opinions, strictly implement the relevant requirements of laws, regulations, and the Guiding Opinions, carry out advertising endorsement-related activities by the law and compliance and create more excellent advertising works worthy of the times.

Guidance on further regulating celebrity advertising endorsement activities


All provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Market Supervision Bureau (department and committee), Cyberspace Administration of China, Department of Culture and Tourism (Bureau), Radio and Television Bureau (Bureau of Culture, Sports, Radio, Television, and Tourism), China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Bureau, China Securities Regulatory Bureau, and film authorities:

In recent years, some well-known artists, entertainment stars, Internet celebrities, etc. (hereinafter collectively referred to as celebrities) have illegally endorsed, falsely endorsed, or even promoted erroneous concepts in endorsement activities; Some enterprises believe in traffic first and choose illegal and unethical stars to endorse their products; Some media are not strict in their control and allow illegal and unethical celebrities to participate in advertising endorsement activities. This chaos in the field of advertising endorsement seriously infringes on consumer rights and interests, disrupts market order, and pollutes the social atmosphere, and the people have reacted strongly. To adhere to the correct advertising orientation, clarify the industry atmosphere, create a good social environment, maintain the order of the advertising market, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, by the Advertising Law of the People's Republic of China and other laws and regulations, the following opinions are hereby put forward on further regulating celebrity advertising endorsement activities.


  1. General requirements

Adhere to the guidance of socialist core values, adhere to problem-oriented, symptomatic, and root causes, comply with laws and regulations, be active and prudent, strengthen industry management, strengthen supervision and inspection, strictly supervise credit, advocate social co-governance, do a good job in publicity and guidance, effectively clean up the chaos in all links of the whole chain of celebrity advertising endorsements, standardize the behavior of celebrities, enterprises, and media, effectively maintain market order, and create a clear atmosphere in the advertising field.


  1. Regulate celebrity advertising endorsements


All relevant departments should further clarify the rules for celebrity advertising endorsement behavior, strengthen advertising-oriented supervision, strengthen celebrity self-restraint, and regulate celebrity advertising endorsement behavior.


  • Adhere to the correct orientation. Celebrities shall consciously practice the core socialist values in advertising endorsement activities, and endorsement activities shall conform to social morality and traditional virtues. Do not publish speech that harms the dignity or interests of the state; Do not engage in words or deeds that impede social stability and public order; Do not promote obscenity, pornography, gambling, superstition, terror, violence, etc.; shall not promote discrimination based on ethnicity, race, religion or gender; Do not hype privacy; Do not promote erroneous concepts and deformed aesthetics such as extravagance and waste, money worship, and entertainment first; Advertising endorsements must not be made with images or similar images such as party and state leaders, revolutionary leaders, heroic models, etc. (where advertising endorsements are made with the image of other film and television drama characters played, authorization and permission of the copyright owner of the film and television drama shall be obtained); Do not promote other speech or concepts that run counter to good social customs.


  • Do a good job of checking things in advance. Before carrying out advertising endorsement activities for goods or services (hereinafter collectively referred to as commodities), celebrities shall fully understand the endorsed enterprise and the endorsed goods, consult the registration information of the endorsed enterprise, relevant qualification approval status, enterprise credit records, product manuals (service procedures) of the endorsed goods, contract terms and transaction conditions involving consumer rights and obligations, and review relevant advertising scripts. Celebrities shall properly record their understanding of the information of the enterprises being endorsed, their experience and use of goods, keep relevant advertising endorsement contracts and consumption receipts for endorsed goods, and establish archives for undertaking advertising endorsements.


  • Creditworthy endorsements by law. Celebrities shall strictly abide by relevant laws and regulations so that advertising endorsement activities are carried out by law, regulations, and integrity. Do not advertise and endorse products (including prohibited services) that are prohibited by law; Do not recommend or certify unused products (unreceived services); Advertising endorsements must not be made for market entities operating without a license or other enterprises that should obtain approval qualifications but have not been approved; Do not endorse tobacco and tobacco products (including electronic cigarettes), off-campus training, medical treatment, drugs, medical devices, health food, and formula food for special medical purposes; It shall not violate the relevant provisions of other laws and regulations on advertising. In the process of advertising endorsement, state secrets or personal privacy must not be disclosed; Do not exaggerate the efficacy of the product; Do not quote unverifiable data; No commercial defamation of other operators; Do not make misleading publicity about the price of the product, preferential conditions, etc.; shall not directly or covertly publicize or promise capital preservation and guaranteed returns for asset management products, or imply capital preservation, risk-free or guaranteed returns by predicting investment performance; Lending financial products must not blindly advertise low thresholds, low-interest rates, and easy loans, causing misunderstanding among consumers.
  1. Standardize the selection of celebrities by enterprises to carry out advertising activities


All relevant departments should strengthen the supervision and management of enterprises, consolidate the main responsibility of enterprises, and standardize enterprise advertising endorsement activities.


  • Ensure that the content of advertisements is truthful. When an enterprise selects celebrities for advertising endorsements, it shall provide the celebrities with relevant advertising scripts and be responsible for the authenticity and legality of the advertising content. Advertisements for financial products shall actively and fully disclose product information and reveal risks, and strictly abide by the regulations of the financial industry management department on the marketing of financial products. Where relevant goods are related to consumers' life, health and safety, enterprises should take the initiative to remind the advertising spokesperson to be selected of the endorsement risk. The products provided by enterprises to endorse celebrities for experience and use shall be consistent with those provided to consumers in terms of quality, price, trading conditions, and service quality.


(2) Properly select celebrity endorsements. Before selecting celebrities to endorse, enterprises shall fully understand the celebrity's employment situation, personal credit, etc., pay attention to the unity of economic and social benefits, and consciously resist the selection of illegal and unethical celebrities as advertising spokespersons. Strictly abide by the provisions of advertising laws and regulations, and celebrities who have been administratively punished for endorsement of false advertisements for less than three years must not be selected as advertising spokespersons.


  • Strictly abide by the prohibitions. Enterprises must not select minors under the age of 10 as advertising spokespersons, and where laws and regulations on the protection of minors and relevant provisions on the management of live streaming marketing have other provisions on the age limit for advertising spokespersons, follow those provisions. Enterprises engaged in the medical, pharmaceutical, medical devices, health food, and other industries must not use advertising spokespersons for advertising. Advertisements for off-campus training for primary and secondary schools (including kindergartens) must not be published, and enterprises engaged in other education and training industries must not use professionals or beneficiaries to carry out advertising endorsement activities. Enterprises engaged in pesticides, veterinary drugs, feed, feed additives, crop seeds, forest seeds, grass seeds, breeding livestock and poultry, aquatic seeds, and seed breeding industries shall not use professionals to engage in advertising and endorsement activities.


  1. Strict management of celebrity endorsement advertisements


All relevant departments should strengthen supervision and management of advertising publishing units, urge advertising publishing units to strengthen advertising review and content management, and resolutely curb illegal and unethical celebrity advertising endorsements.


(1) Strict internal audit. Newspapers, periodicals, radio, television, film, the Internet, and other advertising release carrier operators should properly produce and keep advertising release archives by the law, establish and complete internal review systems for advertising releases, increase the intensity of review of celebrity endorsement advertising content, resolutely correct negative advertising information such as violating correct orientation, hype on sensitive topics, vulgar and vulgar kitsch, and promptly stop publishing advertisements that violate illegal and unethical celebrity endorsements.


  • Strengthen the management of programs (columns) and live broadcasts. All kinds of media units should strictly implement the management system for festivals (columns), strengthen the management of live broadcasts by laws and regulations, and strictly prohibit unethical celebrities from carrying out advertising endorsement activities in disguised form by participating in interviews, variety shows, live broadcasts, and other such methods.


  1. Precise law enforcement and strict supervision


  • Accurately identify celebrity advertising endorsements. Except for celebrities acting as advertisers to advertise and promote goods produced or sold for themselves, celebrities recommending or proving goods or services through image display, language, text, actions, etc. in commercial advertisements shall be recognized as advertising endorsement by the law. Where a celebrity image does not appear in a radio advertisement, but indicates the celebrity's name and promotes the product in the name of the celebrity, it shall be deemed that the celebrity has made an advertising endorsement. Where celebrities use the role of film and television dramas to promote products in advertisements, it shall be deemed that the celebrities themselves have made advertising endorsements. To recommend or certify products, celebrities introduce products in the process of participating in entertainment programs, interview programs, and online live broadcasts, which constitutes advertising endorsement. Where an enterprise fraudulently uses the name of a celebrity or steals the image of a celebrity for advertising, it is not an act of advertising endorsement.
  • Accurately determine the circumstances of using advertising endorsements by unlawful and unethical celebrities. Where an enterprise knows or should know, that celebrities have made erroneous political remarks or other remarks that violate the core socialist values and cause a bad social impact, and still selects celebrities for advertising endorsements, it shall based on the facts and circumstances, determine that the relevant advertisements obstruct social stability and obstruct social and public order. Where an enterprise knows or should know that celebrities have committed illegal and criminal acts such as drug use, gambling, drunk driving, forced indecency, tax evasion, fraud, and insider trading in securities and other illegal and criminal acts that have caused a bad social impact, and still select celebrities for advertising endorsements, it shall determine that the relevant advertisements violate good social customs based on the facts and circumstances.
  • Accurately grasp the advertising spokesperson's obligation to use the goods being endorsed. The celebrities themselves shall make full use of endorsement products to ensure that the time or quantity of use is sufficient to produce a daily consumption experience; The symbolic purchase or use of endorsement goods shall not be deemed to mean that the advertising spokesperson has fulfilled its obligation to use the goods by the law. Where celebrities endorse goods exclusively for infants and young children or heterosexual use, the celebrity's close relatives shall fully and reasonably use the goods. During the advertising endorsement period, celebrities shall continue to use the endorsement products with a reasonable frequency and frequency. For products with rapid technological iteration such as electronic products and automobiles, celebrities only use a certain generation of products of a certain brand, and cannot endorse other generations of products of the brand. Where celebrities advertise for the overall image of the enterprise or brand in the name of brand "experience officer", "recommendation officer", "image ambassador", etc., the advertisement shall indicate or explain the product name of the enterprise or brand used by the star.
  • Pursue the main responsibility of all parties to illegal conduct of advertising endorsements by the law. Relevant departments should strengthen the supervision of the entire chain of advertising endorsement activities, strictly investigate and deal with false and illegal advertisements endorsed by celebrities, and pursue the legal responsibility of advertisers, advertising agents, advertising publishers, advertising spokespersons, and relevant Internet information service providers by the law. When celebrities make false or illegal endorsements, they must be resolutely punished by the celebrities themselves by law, and the punishment of celebrities must not be replaced by the punishment of star brokerage companies. Where a star agency participates in advertising endorsement activities, it shall bear legal responsibility as an advertising agent. Where celebrities' false or illegal endorsements are egregious, public exposure is to be strengthened, and personal creditworthiness records are to be included by laws and regulations, and joint punishments for untrustworthiness are strengthened. Where celebrities promptly and proactively bear civil compensation for compensation to consumers after false or illegal endorsements, the punishment may be mitigated or mitigated by the law.
  1. Strengthen organizational leadership


(1) Raise political standing. Relevant departments should further improve their political judgment, political comprehension, and political execution, and from the perspective of implementing the people-centered development concept and promoting the construction of spiritual civilization, earnestly increase the intensity of regulating celebrity advertising endorsements, to ensure that there is a responsibility to defend the land, be responsible for defending the land, and fulfill their responsibilities in defending the land, promote the chaos of celebrity advertising endorsement to be fundamentally cured, maintain good social customs, and enhance the people's sense of gain.


  • Strengthen departmental cooperation. It is necessary to give full play to the function of the joint conference on rectifying false and illegal advertising, increase the intensity of joint interviews, joint law enforcement, joint exposure, and joint punishment work, give play to the role of coordinated supervision, and improve the efficiency of supervision. It is necessary to fully rely on the working mechanism of comprehensive management in the cultural and entertainment field, strengthen education guidance, industry management, supervision during and after the event, and self-discipline of celebrities, and establish a multi-field and cross-departmental collaborative work pattern. Communication and coordination with public security, taxation, and other departments should be strengthened, and where tax evasion or other illegal or criminal acts are discovered in the supervision of celebrity advertising endorsements, they are promptly transferred to the relevant departments for handling.

(3) Strengthen multi-party co-governance. Relevant departments should strengthen the education, guidance, and management of celebrities and other relevant groups, increase the intensity of guidance for art groups and online performance agencies, support art groups and online performance agency institutions in strengthening the management of advertising endorsement activities for stars affiliated to their units, and explore the filing management of celebrity advertising endorsement contracts and related advertising scripts. Strengthen the supervision of financial institutions and financial marketing activities, and guide and regulate the relevant behavior of financial institutions in selecting celebrities to carry out advertising endorsements. Support relevant group organizations and industry associations in giving play to their role in education, guidance, and self-discipline, and encourage relevant industry ethics committees to carry out ethical review and evaluation activities on celebrity advertising endorsements and other activities by laws and regulations, giving play to the function of moral restraint and punishment. Supervise celebrities, enterprises, and media to carry out self-inspection and rectification, and earnestly assume the main responsibility of maintaining the order of the advertising market.


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