Last May the Foundation for Advertising Research embarked on a major project of creating a Best Practice Advertising Regulation Checklist. The Checklist is available on this link
There were two rounds of consultation and we received excellent feedback from practitioners and academics from all parts of the world with many constructive suggestions and improvements. Virtually all have been included in the final document. We are most grateful for the generous assistance we received in this most challenging project. We have now forwarded the Checklist to the industry Advertising Standards Steering Committee on APEC and other matters.
The request for a checklist came from the highest level. In November 2014 the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders, including Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, signed up to a Leaders’ Declaration that included the following:
‘We endorse the APEC Action Agenda on Advertising Standards and Practice Development to promote alignment of advertising standards and reduce the cost of doing business across the region’
The ‘APEC Action Agenda on Advertising Standards and Practice Development’ listed four challenging tasks for completion in 2015. One of the tasks was:
‘Develop an advertising regulatory checklist in 2015 that details key elements of a regulatory framework that facilitates trade and investment and protects consumers.’
We undertook to develop the Checklist and we are pleased to complete it within the 2015 deadline.
The Checklist has two parts – Best Practice by Self-Regulatory Organisations (SROs) and Best Practice by Governments. There are two parts to Best Practice Advertising Regulation – Government regulation and self-regulation. It is not an either/or situation, as even the most sophisticated self-regulatory regimes require a regulatory framework.
The Checklist is long with a large number of questions. A very learned contributor rightly made the point that the list was long because it was a ‘set of ‘maximum’ demands that not more than a dozen or score of countries can satisfy’ and that a shorter version of ‘minimum’ demands would be more appropriate for new and emerging SROs. Consequently it is intended to devise a shorter checklist with essential ‘minimum’ demands in the New Year.
We believe that the development of a Checklist is significant as it provides guidance for those in Government and industry when developing advertising regulatory regimes. With increasing calls for ad hoc bans and restrictions it is important that proper procedures are followed.
We would like to emphasise that there is no one perfect model of a best practice advertising regulatory regime. Each regime needs to be adapted to meet local customs, culture and business practices. However the general principles remain constant.
Enjoy the Checklist.
How does an advertising self-regulatory organisation (SRO) handle a complaint alleging that a tweet by the Prime Minister is misleading? Most SROs decline to regulate political advertising because of the inherent difficulties of a SRO regulating politicians who are in the business of regulating others rather than being regulated by an organisation over which they have no control.
One SRO has successfully regulated political advertising for the past 25 years. The Foundation for Advertising Research has written a paper on the subject which is available on this link –