New marketing code raises consumer protection standards around the world

  • 15 September 2011
ICC Innovation

New protection for Internet users and detailed standards for marketers selling to them are highlighted in a newly revised code of global marketing practice.

The Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications, launched today and made globally available online, serves as the foundation for national self-regulatory systems that monitor marketing practices and provide consumers with easy access to make complaints and redress problems.

The Code was unveiled today at an international conference on responsible advertising, hosted by CONARED, the Latin American Association of Advertising Self-Regulatory Organizations.

“Our Consolidated Code is recognized as the gold standard for self-regulation,” said John Manfredi, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commission on Marketing and Advertising, and CEO of Manloy Associates in the US. “This new Code expands the scope and reach of global efforts with rules that cover consumer rights and business’ responsibilities online.  It increases protection for children on the Internet and sets parameters for all advertising directed to them, and it adds safeguards for consumers’ privacy and personal information.”

“To make this code accessible to everyone, we launched a website,, that is dedicated to self-regulation at all levels – global, national and regional.  It will serve business people, regulators, self-regulators and academics as well as consumers.  Its purpose is to build trust for self-regulation by setting high marketing standards,” Mr Manfredi said.

The Code sets out the dos and don’ts on many topical and difficult marketing issues including:

Setting conditions and limits for online behavioral targeting of advertising (OBA), based on interest profiles created by tracking web browsing habits of consumers;

  • Establishing restrictions on products that may be marketed to children and information gathered from them;
  • Specifying guidelines for making responsible environmental marketing claims and creating sound food and beverage ads;
  • Setting standards for ethical behavior and transparency on digital communications for the new technology players, including mobile operators, search engines, application developers, information aggregators and data gatherers;
  • Protecting consumer privacy with clear guidance on consumers’ rights, including the right to know what information is acquired by a marketer and the standards for the collection, use and safeguarding of personal data when it is collected.

“This Code reflects the commitment of businesses from all sectors of industry and all regions of the world to responsible marketing and advertising,” said Jean-Guy Carrier, ICC Secretary General.