Overseeing non-commercial ads

Advertising self-regulatory organizations (SROs) ensure that advertising and other messages of a commercial nature are responsible. But what about non-commercial ads?

What do we mean by non-commercial ads?

The main goal of non-commercial ads is not to sell a product or service but to raise awareness about an issue, collect funds for a cause, or promote an idea. Examples include the fundraising campaign of an NGO, a government-sponsored public health awareness campaign, and electoral ads of political parties.

Who oversees these ads?

Non-profit making institutions such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, and other public sector organizations, increasingly tend to use the same marketing techniques as commercial enterprises to convey messages to consumers and citizens.

As a result, more than 2/3 of the advertising SROs surveyed by ICAS have included non-commercial ads in the scope of their activities. Like for commercial ads, they assess whether ads of not-for-profit making organizations comply with the applicable (self-regulatory) principles and seek to obtain corrective measures where this is not the case.

In 5 of the 16 markets surveyed (India, Peru, the Philippines, Romania and the US), the SRO only oversees commercial ads.

Different types of non-commercial ads

The majority of SROs are competent for ads issued by NGOs (advocacy and special interest groups), as well as for ads issued by government and public sector entities.

Political ads, especially during elections, are however rarely in the scope of SRO activities.

Find out more

Download the ICAS Paper on non-commercial ads.

You may also be interested to find out more about SRO’s remit in relation to product labels and packaging.

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