The curtain has raised on a two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Advertising Standards Forum and Mentoring Workshop for member economies in Beijing. The capacity-building event is hosted by the Chinese Association of National Advertisers (CANA) and the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).
The workshop focuses on best practice advertising regulation with a view to aligning advertising standards across APEC markets, reducing barriers to trade from diverse regulations, and promoting quality standards and practice across the region.
The event builds on the insights of a recent APEC Policy Support Unity study, which noted the use of the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice (the ICC Code) as the globally accepted best practice principles. It will offer participants the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the ICC Code.
At the same time, experts from economies with substantial experience implementing these principles can meet with counterparts from regional economies seeking to learn how to develop a local code, and implement it effectively for self-regulation.
The first day of the event saw Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud, ICC Executive responsible for the Marketing Commission, team up with Linda Nagel, ICC Marketing Commission member, Chair of the International Council of Advertising Standards and President and CEO, Advertising Standards Canada, to discuss setting and maintaining advertising standards, the ICC Code, and experiences of applying it to local economies.
Ms Thomas-Raynaud presented the ICC Code, demonstrating its flexibility with key examples of how the Code has been used in different countries either in its entirety or as a strong base to developing national codes.
“This timely event is the culmination of more than two years of an exceptional cooperation across the self-regulatory community. Supporting the lead of ASB, ICC and its members and global partners have been extremely encouraged to see the responsiveness of local governments and industry to advancing this unique opportunity,” said Ms Thomas-Raynaud. She cited EASA, World Federation of Advertisers, and International Centre for Alcohol Policies along with Microsoft, Publicis Groupe, Procter and Gamble and others as ICC members engaged in the effort.
Ms Nagel explained the importance of a code and showed how the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards aligns with the key provisions and intent of the ICC Code, while fitting local context and culture. Ms Nagel offered examples of how the principles are interpreted against actual advertisements and spoke of the imperative for industry to self-regulate effectively.
The APEC event, coming on the heels of the successful launch and advocacy event of the first Mandarin translation of the ICC Code, is also an occasion to announce the creation of a local Commission on Marketing and Advertising by ICC China. This ICC Commission will work with industry and other key stakeholders to help advocate the benefits of advertising self-regulation and ensure local input is given into the global Commission that writes and revises the ICC Code.
Mr Shunjie Lin, Secretary General of ICC China, shared the timely Chinese expression: “Third tier companies work on their products; second tier companies work on their brands; and top tier companies work on developing standards.” Mr Lin expressed the importance of companies working towards becoming industry leaders. He noted the important opportunity of the APEC event to mark increased Chinese company engagement into the development of local self-regulation and into the process of writing global rules.
The ICC Code, developed by the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising, is the gold standard for most nationally applied self-regulation around the world. It offers a globally consistent baseline for economies developing advertising principles while also providing flexibility for local laws and culture to be reflected in a local code.