New Marketing Code Raises Consumer Protection Standards Around the World

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New York, N.Y., September 15, 2011 –New protection for Internet users – along with detailed standards for marketers selling to them – are highlighted in a newly revised code of global marketing practice from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), according to ICC’s American national committee, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB).

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 in Buenos Aires 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 ICC’s Commission on Marketing and Advertising and CEO of Manloy Associates.  “This new Code expands the scope and reach of global efforts with rules that cover consumer rights and business’s 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.”

Mr. Manfredi added that ICC, to make the Code accessible to everyone, has launched a website, www.codescentre.com, 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,” he said.  “Its purpose is to build trust for self-regulation by setting high marketing standards.”

The Code sets out the do’s 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.

“The newly revised Code demonstrates industry’s continuing commitment to ethical marketing practice,” said Brent Sanders, associate general counsel with Microsoft Corporation and chair of USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee.  “Some of the most interesting revisions to the Code for U.S. marketers include those that harmonize for the first time at the international level provisions about online behavioral advertising [OBA], requiring transparency and control for consumers for their online data.  This builds on pioneering OBA self-regulatory efforts here in the United States and expands them globally.  Enhancing consumer trust in advertising is vital to a competitive and innovative marketplace.”

Mr. Sanders is scheduled to review the key provisions of the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications on October 3 in New York at the National Adverting Division’s annual conference.

About the International Chamber of Commerce

ICC is the world business organization, representing enterprises from all sectors in every part of the world. It promotes cross-border trade and investment and the multilateral trading system, and helps business meet the challenges and opportunities of globalization. Business leaders and experts drawn from ICC’s global membership establish the business stance on broad issues of trade and investment policy as well as on vital technical subjects. ICC enjoys a close working relationship with the United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations, including the World Trade Organization and the G20. ICC was founded in 1919. Today it groups hundreds of thousands of member companies and associations from 120 countries. For more information please visit: www.iccwbo.org

About USCIB

USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation.  Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world.  With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment.  More information is available at www.uscib.org.

ICC’s codescentre.com website

More on USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee

Staff Contact:   Jonathan Huneke

VP, Communications and Public Affairs
Tel: 212.703.5043

Jonathan Huneke is responsible for USCIB’s strategic communications, including media relations, publications, online content and high-level public events. He also manages the work of USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee.
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