International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) representatives joined government and industry participants from 17 of the 21 APEC economies gathered at a meeting on “Advertising Standards – Principles and Practice” in Hanoi on 7-8 November. The importance of the 75-year old ICC Code as the gold standard for most of the national and sectoral advertising and marketing self-regulatory mechanisms around the world was noted by ICC but also echoed by many self-regulators participating in the event.
Brent Sanders, Chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising, and Microsoft Deputy Counsel presented case examples from Microsoft campaigns to show how self-regulation works and the significance of the commitment companies make to uphold the standards they agree to in the ICC Code development process.
“Self-regulation built on the foundation of ICC Code principles offers a cost-effective, accessible and responsive alternative to government restrictions when implemented effectively. Codes built on harmonized principles makes it easier for global companies to commit to these standards, prepare global campaigns and to invest in strengthening consumer trust across markets,” said Mr Sanders.
Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud, ICC Executive responsible for the Marketing Commission, explained the principles – built on the pillars that all advertising should be legal, decent, honest and truthful – and how they work in practice when implemented by an effective self-regulatory mechanism. She highlighted the responsiveness of self-regulation and explained how the ICC Code has evolved and kept pace with technical and practice changes over the nine revisions since it was first introduced in 1937.
The dialogue was initiated by the Australian government and standards body under the auspices of APEC. It was attended by industry and government representatives from economies with well-established self-regulation such as Australia, Chile, the Philippines and the US as well as economies in development stages such as Russia, China and Indonesia. Industry from Vietnam were especially pleased to host their peers from other economies as they seek ideas and expertise to set up a local self-regulatory mechanism since a new advertising law gives them the green light from government.
ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier said: “ICC applauds APEC for this effort to facilitate trade and foster common best practice across its member economies. We will continue our support and encouragement for further cooperation between governments and industry to build effective self-regulatory mechanisms upon this foundation”
The 75-year anniversary of the Code
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has been a major rule-setter in international advertising self-regulation since 1937, when the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising issued the first ICC Code on Advertising Practice. This Code is one of the most successful examples of business self-regulation ever developed. Revised for the ninth time in 2011, the ICC Code is the gold standard used as a foundation and basis for updates of most national and sectoral advertising self-regulation systems around the world. As the world business organization, whose membership is composed of thousands of enterprises from all sectors and geographical regions, ICC continues to be a key player in the ever-changing landscape of modern marketing and advertising.