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The Once Upon a Time in Advertising Law

The art of storytelling is something as human as humanity itself. Fundamental element of formation of cultures over the years, “telling” stories (or storytelling) is something from the dawn of humanity, when the Cro-Magnon man began the practice of rock art, relying on drawings – and quite rudimentary way – the facts experienced in prehistoric every day.
Surpassing the pre-history, storytelling won ancient civilizations (such as the Aztecs, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans) and even religious institutions, as a way to promote the entertainment and education, as well as to preserve the history and culture of peoples and nations. And, as it should be, the practice of storytelling reached modern civilization with the same force that had in the past.
Storytelling, however, does not always mean telling the truth: we know that many stories are based on myths, legends, assumptions, rumors and inspirations with one or more bits of fantasy and fiction – as in the good old Santa Claus, an character inspired on St. Nicholas.
As the storytelling, this kind of story also reached modern civilization, weighing up, however, which is increasingly difficult to instill fantasies in the human imagination, because of the ease to “unmask” such stories in modern times, by seeking for information on the Internet. But still, there are people and especially companies increasingly engaged in such practices, but with a very different view of our ancestors: marketing.
The storytelling as a marketing tool has been increasingly explored around the world and, in Brazil, a leading market in the production of advertising, this practice has grown considerably.
This is because, as demonstrated by the analysis of marketing doctrine, storytelling is a way to retain consumers by “telling” a story that establishes an identification connection between a company, a brand, a product or a service and its consumer, reinforcing branding.
This story, if told properly, creates an emotional bond with the consumer that enhances engagement and the valuation of basic elements of his decision, as best price, best service, etc. That is, tell the right story for your target audience can increase sales, bring new customers and retain existing ones – all that any company wants.
It happens that, being a marketing tool, invariably the storytelling business is viewed as an advertising artifice for commercial purposes (profit) directly or indirectly, subject to self-regulation of the industry and consumer protection laws.
With the growing interest in storytelling by advertising agencies and companies, many have been devoted to this practice in a risky way, making use of fanciful stories to build concepts to products and services, as well to approach the consumer, as reported regarding Diletto (from the ice cream industry) and Do Bem (non-alcoholic beverage industry), being represented by the National Council of Self-Regulation (CONAR).
For those who know these companies, it is clear that their marketing is state of the art: while Diletto produces fine popsicles and boasts freezers (and even stores) with classic and fancy design, Do Bem stands out on the grocery shelf with their juices and box of teas with natural-looking.
The storytelling of them makes the same way, and while Diletto account that its recipes are based on some of the Italian immigrant fictionally named as Nonno Vittorio (an alter ego of the grandfather of the founder of the brand), Do Bem that its fruits come from the farm of Mr. Francesco, one of the company’s suppliers.
Without going into the truth of such stories, it is worthy to say that the Brazilian Code of Advertising Sector Self-Regulation provides that “every advertisement should be respectful and conform to the laws of the country; must also be honest and true “and that provides that description and claims must contain a true and verifiable presentation, in the same sense of the Brazilian Consumer Law.
Therefore, if the storytelling is fictitious, a disclaimer shall be provided to state stating that it is a fictional story or at least fiction elements were incorporated to enhance the story. All this in order to prevent responsibilities and avoid proceedings before CONAR and even in the State Courts, which may be too costly.
And even the storytelling is true, it is recommended that the company keep records and supporting documents to prove the story told is a true story, including for prompt response purposes since that the greatest damage that may occur, without doubt, is regarding the image of the company or the brand. A mistake in this sense can turn a lots of investments in “a once upon a time” a good marketing strategy.
Anyway, is important to say that CONAR decisions cannot be enforced as State Court decisions can, but they are usually adopted by the punished.

Conar investigates Diletto and Do Bem

São Paulo – CONAR (National Council for Advertising Self-Regulation) is investigating the Diletto companies (ice cream) and Do Bem (Well of juice).
The cases are open on November 3, investigating the stories about brands, created by themselves – the “storytelling”.
They cite the report published in the magazine Exame “Every company wants to have a good story. Some are lies,” the journalist Ana Luiza Leal. Consumers complain that there is information on packages and in advertisements that are not true.
The Diletto says, for example, that the popsicles brand born with Vittorio Scabin, grandfather of the founder of the brand. They say he manufactured ice cream in Italy and came to Brazil to escape the Second World War.
But as the Review report shows, the one Nonno Vittorio never existed. “I recognize that I may have gone too far in history,” said Leandro Scabin, founder of the company.
This technique to create or disseminate stories involving the company and the brand is known as “storytelling”. Narratives create humanized tones for brands, unmoved consumers, promote values – so they stand out among so many competitors in the market.
From Do Bem is also being investigated for their stories. The company says that oranges are baked and come, for example, the lord of the farm Francesco, the interior of São Paulo. Many consumers identify with the “organic” and “family” brand. “Eco-friendly”.
The Exame magazine shows, however, that giants like Brazil Citrus provide oranges to Do Well – and also for several other companies in the industry.
Consumers in this case, claim that advertising is misleading, because it seems that small farmers are being directly benefit from Do Bem.
Diletto and Do Bem will be notified and will have ten days to submit their defenses, which must be judged in the meeting of December 11.
If the result is positive for the consumer, both shall be notified to “recommendations” to suit. For example, change packaging and in marketing.

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