The Royal Gazette has published an announcement restricting the use of certain phrases in advertisements as they are said to mislead customers when purchasing products or services.

Under the rules which are now in force, phrases that can cause confusion or misunderstanding are prohibited.  They include superlatives such as ‘’best’’, ‘’finest’’ and the ‘’one and only’’ and terms that guarantee satisfaction such as ‘’money back guarantee.’’

The announcement also requires written advertisements to be clearly displayed in Thai, although it is unclear how this effects English language publication.  Announcers in radio and television commercials are to speak clearly and not too fast.

For broadcast media, text must be clearly displayed for no less than five seconds and the text height must occupy at least a 25th of the screen height.  Customers must be informed of the terms and conditions of any free offers or services.

The use of such superlatives in local advertising is easy to find.  For example ‘’the ultimate experience’’ or ‘’the best in Thailand.’’  Whether quoting review sites which rank various establishments as being the best in a location is also questionable.

And our non-favourite advertising description – the word ‘’unique’’.  As no two establishments are ever exactly the same, they could all be described as unique, but not necessary in a positive way.  So what does that description really mean?