This Code is structured in two main sections – General Provisions and Chapters. The General Provisions section contains fundamental principles and other broad concepts that apply to all marketing in all media. The Chapters are detailed and apply to specific areas of marketing -- Sales Promotion, Sponsorship, Direct Marketing, Digital Media and Environmental Marketing Claims.
Some of the broad principles covered are:
- Transparency – The Code specifies that communication must be truthful, clear and not misleading. It emphasizes the importance of open, honest and responsible communications. It calls for disclosure of the marketing practices used. Through this transparency it seeks to preserve and enhance consumer trust and confidence in business and its communications.
- Privacy – The Code details a full list of consumer rights, including the right to require that data isn’t passed on to another party and to correct incorrect data. Guidance is also provided in the Code on the proper collection, use and safeguarding of personal data. New provisions cover digital communications, including online behavioural advertising (OBA), where user control is a significant part of OBA responsibility.
- Children – Children are considered a special group requiring special care and diligence by marketers to avoid harm and exploiting their lack of experience. Among the guidelines related to marketing to children, the Code states: (a) only products suitable for children are marketed in media intended for them; (b) advertising and marketing communications geared to children should be clearly identifiable as marketing; (c) communications should not undermine positive behaviour, social mores or parental judgement; (d) parents are encouraged to participate and supervise online activities; (e) parental approval is given prior to gathering personally identifiable information; and (f) no online behavioural advertising segments can be designed to target children.
- Respect –Respect for human dignity and standards of decency is the ethical underpinning of the Code. All guidance in the Code supports the goal of having marketers meet consumers’ reasonable expectations.