Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith has ordered all radio stations, television channels, newspapers and magazines to temporarily cease disseminating a commercial spot by Sin Veng Yu Coffee Co, Ltd because it violates statutes prohibiting “deceitful” advertising.
In a Monday letter, Kanharith said a team working alongside the Ministry of Commerce’s Camcontrol department had recently evaluated compliance of the advertisement, and found irregularities in the spot. It said the advertisement sought to trick consumers into buying the company’s product by saying its coffee didn’t contain chemicals, and insinuating that the products of three other companies – Rattanakiri Coffee Co, Stung Treng Coffee Co and Cafe Angkor Wat – did.
“Under the rules, you can advertise your product, but not disturb other companies’ product,” he said yesterday. Kanharith said the company will have to rectify the spot, but declined to comment further. The action by the ministry follows the receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Commerce on November 29 concerning the spot.
Soeng Sophary, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Commerce, said the ministry had taken preliminary action because the company failed to honour its promise to correct the ad, as discussed during a November 11 meeting with Camcontrol.
Sophary said the spot violates Article 21 of the Law on the Management of Quality and Safety of Products and Services, which forbids ads that are “deceitful, misleading, false, or likely to cause confusion on the quality and safety of products”.
“If the company still does not take any corrective actions as required, Camcontrol is fully entitled to take any necessary actions,” she said.
Theang An, assistant to the manager of Sin Veng Yu Coffee, defended the company’s claim that other brands use artificial additives, saying it must be true in order to account for their low prices. The three companies named in the ad were singled out because they don’t have their own coffee plantations, An said.
Ngarn Rattana, director of Stung Treng Coffee, said he welcomed the ministry’s action. He said his company has been attacked by Sin Veng Yu’s advertisements for about two years already. “Though this action is a bit late, I am delighted and fully support it, because the commercial advertisement has ethically violated the principles of free market in Cambodia,” he said.