Marketing & advertising

ICC Guidance on Native Advertising

  • 11 November 2016

ICC Guidance on Native Advertising

ICC provides business guidance on native advertising.

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The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has long been promoting the global development of the digital economy and the stable growth of its underlying information and communication technology (ICT) platform, via private sector policy leadership, regulatory advocacy, and the promotions of best practices. To this end, ICC has always championed the use of effective self-regulation.

Given that, by definition, digital marketing communications occur in the online space and tend to cross market borders, it is key that global principles be in place, to guide businesses wherever they are, and help to foster consumer trust in ecommerce, both nationally and across borders.

With the aim of helping business and consumers harness the benefits offered by digital advertising, ICC develops standards and best practices in this area through its work on marketing and advertising.

Subsequent to its last revision in 2011, the ICC Consolidated Code on Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice (hereinafter ICC Consolidated Code orICC Code ) was amended to include new provisions covering, inter alia , matters related to Advertising and Marketing Communications Using Digital Interactive Media . In addition, work aimed at addressing the subject of online behavioural advertising was developed, as was ICC Guidance onNative Advertising , which is released today.

Native advertising is a type of paid for content marketing which is not new, but is evolving rapidly, as online advertising is expanding, formats allowing users to experience ads organically (as part of the content) are being developed, and as web properties are seeking ways to monetize and enhance user experience.

While the mere appearance of a brand or product does not necessarily mean that a certain content will be advertising, in its Guidance released today, ICC reiterates the importance of some key principles in the ICC Consolidated Code , that are deemed vital to ensure transparency, as well as to enhance consumer trust. ICC underscores that:

  1. Consumers should be able to recognise when something is an ad (covered inICC Code , art 9, B1 and D2)
  2. The identity of an advertiser should be easily ascertainable (covered in ICC Code , art 10; B12).
  3. Disclosures should be prominent and understandable to consumers (covered in ICC Code , art 3).

As with many advertising issues in a complex and evolving landscape, application of these principles in a given instance requires judgment and respect for content that is entertainment and news-focused. Therefore, the ICC Code approach ( i.e.providing general principles applicable to all forms of marketing communications and all media) covers the overarching compliance issues, while allowing for innovation.