An efficient, cost-effective approach to ethical marketing and advertising communications practices
Advertising and marketing self-regulation is a system by which the advertising, marketing, agency and media industry set voluntary rules and standards of practice that go beyond their legal obligations. Self-regulatory organizations (SROs) are responsible for enforcing industry’s commitment to these rules. They offer consumers increased protection and a cost-effective, accessible and responsive alternative to legal avenues. Depending on the country, SROs provide some or all of the following services to their communities: respond to complaints, monitor advertising, initiate their own investigations, give copy advice -- all aimed at efficiently helping prevent and correct problems.
The International Chamber of Commerce’s Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice is the gold standard for self-regulation. Since its introduction in 1937, it has served as the foundation and cornerstone for the codes of most self-regulatory systems around the world. Most recently, it served as the foundation of the China Responsible Marketing Code endorsed by the Chinese advertising industry in April 2011.
The world’s most effective self-regulatory systems have their voluntary codes enforced by a self-regulatory organization. Examples from the European Union and the United States and Latin America demonstrate the value of SROs in encouraging advertisers to implement self-regulatory ethical standards, enabling consumers to register complaints, and identifying issues that need rectification.