Europe’s advertising industry is close to drawing up a new voluntary
code of standards to derail any moves by the European Union to impose
The guidelines are not intended to diminish the powers of national
regulatory bodies, such as Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority,
but to establish a set of principles about what is legal, decent, honest
The group of industry executives responsible for drawing up the
guidelines maintains that the initiative has nothing to do with a
provisional judgment made by the European Court last week, which could
prevent an EU country banning an advertisement which had already been
passed by another country (Campaign, 20 September).
The European Advertising Standards Alliance - a group made up of 22 ASA-
type bodies committed to promoting self-regulation as an alternative to
government legislation - is behind the move to produce the ‘core’ rules.
These are expected to be published in a so-called ‘blue book’ within the
next two months.
The work is being carried out by a liaison committee chaired by Michel
Reinarz, senior vice-president and director of communications at Nestle.
Christopher Ogden, the ASA’s deputy director-general and the chairman of
EASA, commented: ‘We have to allow for the huge cultural diversity
between European countries. But underneath it all, we share a sense of
decency and honesty alhough this has never been formalised.’
Ogden said the establishment of a pan-European code was a ‘logical
progression’ rather than a reaction to events. But he admitted: ‘The
threat of legislation still exists both at European and national