ICC publishes updated marketing communications guidelines for business

  • 6 September 2019

As digital marketing practices have become more prominent, ICC is calling for extended responsibility throughout the advertising ecosystem and has published updated frameworks on food and beverage, alcohol, and environmental marketing communications, providing practical guidance to business and helping to protect consumers from false and misleading claims.

Responsible marketing can help consumers make informed choices about the products they choose and to understand the role of nutrition, diet and physical activity in promoting a healthy lifestyle.

The frameworks provide business with guidance on how to communicate their products in a legal, decent, honest, and truthful manner and clarify that everyone has a part to play – including market influencers and bloggers.

Helping to maintain trust between consumers and companies the updated frameworks align with  respective revisions to the ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code (ICC Code).

ICC Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communications

Marketing restrictions have been more prevalent across the globe as regulators, national governments and international organisations strive to encourage healthy diets and curb rising rates of childhood obesity.

The ICC Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communications covers several important considerations for food and beverage businesses in the development of their marketing communication strategies – including responsible marketing to children, the importance of consumer choice, and the role of commercial communication in an information-based society. It also offers practical guidance on applying the general Code principles specifically to food and beverage marketing.

This ICC Framework represents the food and beverage industries’ willingness to work with governments in their various efforts to improve the health and welfare of children and has been used as a foundation for aligning industry efforts and self-regulatory commitments in response to the World Health Organization’s agenda on reducing obesity.

The ICC Framework builds on principles of responsible marketing communications outlined in the ICC Code, which contains  best practices and restrictions for marketing communications directed at children. Food and beverage marketers should adhere to principles of responsible marketing communications, above and beyond compliance with legal requirements, especially when communicating to children.

ICC Framework for Responsible Alcohol Marketing Communications

Similarly, the ICC Framework for Responsible Alcohol Marketing Communications provides guidance in the context of alcohol specific marketing communications  to encourage responsible practices across all markets.

This ICC Framework defines the importance of incorporating key ICC Code principles, such as social responsibility, in the development of business marketing communications  pertaining to alcohol. ICC worked in close consultation with the alcohol sector to ensure that the ICC Framework helps companies to meet their commitments through strengthened self-regulation. The ICC Framework is globally applicable and serves as a basis for developing self-regulatory rules for alcohol  marketing communications.

Countries seeking to establish or enhance marketing self-regulation codes for marketing communications of alcohol can look to the ICC principles as the baseline global standards and use the interpretation of this Framework to easily adapt them into national codes according to varying cultures and contexts.

ICC Framework for Responsible Environmental Communications

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our world today. In response, governments and businesses are working hand in hand to promote the environmental attributes of their products to help encourage sustainable consumer spending.

The ICC Framework for Responsible Environmental Communications removes obstacles that hinder effective communication between consumers and marketers when it comes to environmental attributes of the products they buy. The ICC Framework provides a detailed approach for the advertising industry to use in developing and analysing environmental claims.

As consumers become more interested in the environmental footprint of the products they buy, this Framework helps marketers and advertisers avoid mistakes of vague, non-specific or misleading environmental claims as well as how to evaluate environmental communications to ensure consumer confidence in these claims is safeguarded. The ICC Framework helps marketers ensure the messages they develop hold up to the basic principles of truthful, honest and socially responsible communications.

Features of the ICC Framework for businesses include access to a detailed checklist aimed at the creators of marketing communications around environmental claims, and a chart providing easy reference to relevant provisions of the global advertising Code, and interpretations on current issues related to environmental marketing.

Helping to make climate action everyone’s business, the ICC Framework encourages business to come together and adopt common standards for environmental marketing communications to ensure responsibility and build consumer confidence.