town hall
Procedure descriptions

File a complaint about offensive advertising

You can complain about offensive advertising to the German Advertising Council.

Responsible department

The German Advertising Council.

It is a self-regulatory body of the German advertising industry.
You can call on it in the event of violations of voluntary advertising codes.

Note: In the case of violations of legal provisions, the German Advertising Council cooperates with the competent authorities and forwards the complaint if necessary.



An advertising measure by a company is harmful to minors, discriminatory or otherwise offensive.

The German Advertising Council is not responsible for the advertising of political parties, churches, foundations, associations or non-governmental organisations.


You can complain to the German Advertising Council.
You can do this by

  • Letter
  • Fax
  • E-mail
  • Complaint form
  • Complaints by telephone are also possible.

Enclose the criticised advertising motif or a description of it with your complaint.
You must give reasons why you find the motif discriminatory, harmful to minors or otherwise offensive.

Note: Always state your name in your complaint. The German Advertising Council does not process anonymous complaints.
The name of the complainant will be treated confidentially unless he or she agrees to be named. If an organisation or institution is the complainant and does not expressly request confidential treatment, the Advertising Council may disclose its name to the other parties to the proceedings.

If the German Advertising Council considers your complaint to be justified after examination, it will contact the company responsible for the advertising measure.
If the company does not show willingness to change or stop the advertising measure, the Advertising Council can issue a reprimand and publish it.

Notice: A reprimand issued by the German Advertising Council is not associated with any further sanctions (e.g. fine). However, it is considered damaging to the company's image.



Required documents

  • Naming of the criticised advertising, stating the advertising medium (for example, advertisement, poster, TV spot, online advertising, etc.)
  • Reasons for the complaint, if applicable with reference to a violation of the guidelines of the German Advertising Council
  • in the case of an advertisement: the advertisement in the original, as a copy or scanned in as a file
  • in the case of a poster: the advertising motif as a photograph or photo file
  • in the case of a TV or radio advertisement Indication of the station as well as the day and time of broadcasting
  • for online advertising: if possible, a screenshot (screen shot)



Processing time

Most cases can be concluded within a few days.
According to the German Advertising Council, the average duration of proceedings is about ten working days.


The German Advertising Council acts on the basis of voluntary self-regulation.

Release note

26.09.2023 Ministerium für Ernährung, Ländlichen Raum und Verbraucherschutz Baden-Württemberg


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