Marketing & advertising

ICC issues new guidelines on marketing and advertising using electronic media

  • 6 April 2005

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has published updated Guidelines on Marketing and Advertising using Electronic Media that address recent developments in the field of digital media and other technologies.

The guidelines, which were prepared by the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising, cover the use of telephone, SMS/MMS, digital radio and television as new marketing vehicles for selling products worldwide.

John Manfredi, Chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising and Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at The Gillette Company explained: “The guidelines demonstrate the responsiveness of ICC to stay current with the fast-changing area of the electronic media. As the electronic media change and new issues arise, ICC wants to provide the ethical guideposts needed for businesses to self-regulate their advertising and marketing efforts. The updated guidelines, which were first issued in 1996, should be useful to businesses of all sizes in all sectors around the world.”

The new guidelines include important guidance on advertising to children — a rapidly expanding market on the Internet — and uphold the basic principle that advertisers and marketers in general should not exploit the inexperience or credulity of children.

Anders Stenlund, Vice Chair of the Commission on Marketing and Advertising, and Director of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, said: “Business believes that self-regulation should be combined with the legal backstop of effective national enforcement regimes, to effectively deal with fringe operators.”

Speaking on behalf of world business, ICC maintains that the growing demand for new technologies in today’s ever-changing communications environment requires global, flexible and time enduring responses to regulatory issues regarding the scope of commercial messages.

“There should be no need to have more than light touch regulation in this area of responsible advertising” said Oliver Gray, Chair of ICC’s Task Force on Code Revision and Director-General of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA). “We believe that the new guidelines clearly explain how interactive services, such as those currently being reviewed in EU discussions on the possible revision of the Television without Frontiers Directive, are responsibly addressed by industry self-regulation.”

ICC codes and rules cover a diverse range of business topics and reflect business preference for self-regulation. The guidelines were updated by corporate and self-regulation experts from a wide range of countries. Many organizations contributed to the update of the guidelines. The result is an international, self-regulation tool that can be applied by companies of all sizes to ensure the transparency of their electronic marketing and advertising.

Deline Beukes, Executive Director of the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa commented: “The rules are very relevant to the South African context and demonstrate the useful role of ICC in developing globally accepted standards for advertising and marketing.”

ICC’s expanded guidelines aim to:

Contents include:

The Guidelines on Marketing and Advertising using Electronic Media, formerly called ICC Guidelines on Advertising using the Internet, were first issued in 1996 and revised in 1998 with the growth of the Net.

ICC is the world’s largest, most representative business organization. Its member companies come from 130 countries. Companies from all sectors and from all parts of the world have issued universal standards for international advertising practices through ICC since 1937. ICC’s rules are regularly reviewed and adjusted to meet public sensitivities and the demands of new technologies.