Mexico forum promotes industry leadership in responsible advertising

  • 3 October 2011

With globalization bringing sea changes not only in the production and distribution of goods and services but also in marketing and publicity, advertising needs to be considered both within the rights that protect freedom of expression and in a context of social responsibility, a recent forum organized by ICC Mexico concluded.

The forum, held in late October in Mexico City, debated the issues and challenges posed by governmental regulation of the industry and the benefits of self-regulation in the advertising and marketing fields from the points of view of governments, the media, and the private sector. It said advertising must preserve consumer trust by ensuring practitioners follow basic principles such as truthfulness, decency, and the veracity of its claims.

“Industry recognizes the leadership role it has to play in strengthening consumer trust in advertising,” said Carlos F. Portilla Robertson, Chair of the ICC Mexico Marketing and Advertising Commission. “This can only be helped by better explaining how self-regulation sets out to protect consumers while ensuring marketers are accountable for their commitments to responsible advertising.”

The forum specifically examined the reliability and the suitability of the existing self-regulatory procedures and their relationship to governmental regulations. The various seminars covered topics including advertising regulations, the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice, and self-regulatory practices.

John Manfredi, Chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising and co-author of the Consolidated ICC Code, praised ICC Mexico for taking an active role in raising awareness of the Code and the importance of industry co-operation in ensuring that self-regulation is well understood by all concerned parties and is effectively applied.

“Many governments mistakenly believe that increased regulation is the answer to any consumer concerns and issues about marketing and advertising. Often the regulations compound the problems by creating new levels of bureaucracy that are poorly equipped to resolve issues and are very inefficient and costly in their attempts,” Mr Manfredi said. “Marketing self-regulation has a long history in countries around the world of offering effective, flexible, accessible mechanisms to redress problems promptly when they occur.”

The latest version of the Consolidated ICC Code of Practice was published at the end of 2006 and covers a range of marketing practices from advertising on the Internet to the dos and don’ts of communicating with children. The Code specifies that advertising intended for children should never be included in media where the editorial material is unsuitable and it should not contain messages that exploit children’s natural credulity or undermine positive social behaviour.

The Mexico forum brought together leaders from government; leading companies such as Coca Cola of Mexico and Danone of Mexico; major media organizations including Mexico’s two top television networks, Televisa and Television Azteca; and the Mexican Association of Advertising Agencies.

Speakers included Mexico’s top consumer protection official, Antonio Morales de la Peña; ICC Mexico President Pierre A. Froidevaux Chavan; Paul Rodriguez Marquez, President of the Board of Autoregulation and Advertising Ethics and Mr Portilla.

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