The latest revival of the law began this month, with 3 companies having action taken against them, for using English words in their advertising material. Apparently this is only the start. According to Deputy Head of the Moscow Anti-Monopoly Service, Alexander Tarkhov, interest will not subside and if anything, they will pursue lawbreakers with renewed vigor.
He only attributes the lack of action on the 2006 law to date, to the “small” size of his department and resources.
Foreign words are permitted as long as they are accompanied by a translation. But if they are part of a registered brand name, trademark or service mark, or the name of a television or radio show, they do not have to be translated. Companies use this clause as a loophole by registering slogans as trademarks.
Advertisers maintain that often when a translation is included, it is either done in such a tiny font that it is meaningless or a bigger one that destroys the creative concept and aesthetics. Puns are often lost in translation as well.
The law stems from the fear that foreign words may confuse or mislead consumers, a point hotly contested by advertising specialists. However it is true that some Russian companies use foreign words to add an aura of prestige to a product and lead people to believe it is imported. Foreign-made goods are still valued and trusted over locally produced items.
The ruling on the three companies targeted over this law is expected within the next few days, so expect another update soon.