Self-Regulation and Advertising: Surviving the Global Challenges Ahead

Plenary speaker Deborah Platt Majoras, vice president and general counsel with Procter & Gamble and former chair of the Federal Trade Commission.
Plenary speaker Deborah Platt Majoras, vice president and general counsel with Procter & Gamble and former chair of the Federal Trade Commission.

Last month in Washington, D.C., just ahead of the change in administration, marketers and advertisers from around the world gathered at an International Chamber of Commerce roundtable on the future of self-regulation, organized by USCIB.  The January 12 roundtable focused on upcoming U.S. regulatory and self-regulatory initiatives, their international components, and engagement by U.S. firms on global marketing and advertising policy.

Plenary speaker Deborah Platt Majoras, vice president and general counsel with Procter & Gamble and the former chair of the Federal Trade Commission, shared her perspectives on what lies ahead for the advertising industry, given the current financial crisis, and warned against the call for broad regulatory reforms.

Ms. Platt Majores urged business to communicate the benefits of advertising in encouraging competitiveness and to stress the cost-effectiveness of self-regulation at a time where government coffers are already heavily burdened.  She praised the Children’s Food and Beverage Initiative, which uses marketing and advertising to foster good nutrition for children, as a positive undertaking by the food sector.

“It is a great example where self-regulation can do something that government cannot do, not just because of constitutional limitations but also in terms of effectiveness,” Ms. Platt Majoras said.

Speakers from AT&T, Google, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, the FTC, the U.S. and Dutch self-regulatory bodies and a range of legal experts contributed to panel discussions on:

  • advertising in interactive environments
  • sustainability and advertising
  • self-regulation in Latin America
  • new models and initiatives in self-regulation

Chairing the roundtable, the American advertising executive John Manfredi, who also serves as chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising, cautioned that the erosion of trust caused by the current crisis has serious implications for the marketing world.

“When trust and confidence are gone, marketing and marketers suffer. Without trust, it’s impossible to establish or retain a relationship with consumers,” he said.  “And without trust, bad things happen.  Not only in the marketplace, but also in the arena of public policy and governance.”

The ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising met the day after the roundtable and explored practical steps for the commission to take in 2009 to help restore trust and effectiveness in self-regulation.

The roundtable and commission meetings, hosted by the law firm Winston & Strawn, attracted participants from 11 countries, including China, Brazil, Mexico, Belgium, Sweden and Turkey.  (Click here to view a summary of the roundtable.)

ICC has been a major rule-setter for international advertising since the 1930s, when the first ICC code on advertising practice was issued. Since then, it has extended the ICC self-regulatory framework on many occasions to assist companies in marketing their products responsibly.  A revised and expanded consolidated ICC Code on Marketing and Advertising Practice was issued in 2006, following in the long-established tradition of promoting high ethical standards for advertisers, advertising agencies and the media around the world.

Staff contact: Jonathan Huneke

Summary of the ICC Marketing Roundtable

More on USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee

ICC website

Staff Contact:   Kira Yevtukhova

Acting Director of Communications
Tel: 202.617.3160

Kira Yevtukhova manages USCIB’s print and online publications, including the website, e-newsletter and quarterly magazine, and serves as the organization’s digital media strategist. Prior to this role, Kira worked for over five years within USCIB’s Policy Department, focusing on climate change, environment, nutrition, health, and chemicals related policy issues. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and is currently pursuing an MBA at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.
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