A Danish ferry company has recently been fined with DKK 50,000 – approximately 7,000 Euros – for an illegal tobacco commercial spot.
The spot was shown on monitors on ferries sailing between Ystad in Sweden and Rønne on the Danish island of Bornholm. The spot consisted of a picture showing a picture of 8 packages of cigarettes from different brands and the text "Cigaretter, Frit Valg, DKK 29,95, 1 pakke pr. voksen, Husk Cigaretkupon" (Cigarettes, Take Your Pick, DKK 29,95, 1 package per adult, Remember Coupon).
The ferry company argued that the spot was to be considered legal information regarding price and that the passengers had to remember to bring their coupon if they wanted to buy cigarettes. However, the court ruled that the spot was to be considered an illegal commercial as it showed pictures of cigarette packages and was shown in the monitors in continuation with commercial spots for other products sold on the ferries.
When setting the fine, the court ruled that the limited commercial effect of the spot and the fact that the ferries had removed the spot immediately after receiving a request from the Danish Consumer Ombudsmand was to be considered mitigating circumstances.
The case once again underlines the importance of being aware of special legislation regulating marketing within different industry sectors.