World Federation of Advertisers promotes self-regulation initiative

LONDON - The World Federation of Advertisers has drawn up an initiative to strengthen global advertising self-regulation, following meetings held during the Global Advertising Summit in Toronto last month.

The initial focus will involve reinforcing advertising self-regulatory mechanisms to ensure the highest level of responsible marketing communications in key emerging markets, including Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia.

On a biannual basis, the summit brings together industry leaders from advertising, agencies, the media, and other stakeholders with marketing interests, to address issues affecting the global marketing communications industry.

The initiative will include the promotion of greater consumer awareness about the self-regulatory system, how it works and how consumers can complain about advertisements.

The WFA said it would also be looking to ensure that processes for fast complaint handling are improved, to ensure advertisements in breach of the codes of conduct are quickly retracted. There will be transparent adjudication processes, with decisions published, to act as a deterrent for non-compliance.

Stephan Loerke, managing director of the World Federation of Advertisers, said: "Effective advertising self-regulation plays a critical role in ensuring responsible marketing communications and consumer trust in many countries.

"At a time when new technologies and new markets are driving significant changes in our industry, we need to ensure effective advertising self-regulation exists in all markets."

Measures will include "non-industry involvement in the self-regulatory process to ensure outward credibility and increased trust in the system", to maintain an independent process.

The WFA has convened a specific task force, bringing together industry leaders -- including the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Advertising Association and the European Advertising Standards Alliance -- chosen for their experience of establishing self-regulatory organisations in Central and Eastern Europe.

The group will seek to draw up a roadmap for rolling out effective advertising self-regulation primarily in the markets identified.

Bernhard Glock, WFA president and vice-president of global media and communication at P&G, said: "Society and regulators rightly demand that business assumes its responsibilities.

"The marketing communications industry is clearly committed to funding and implementing effective advertising self-regulation worldwide. It is critical for global consumer confidence in our industry."