Like advertising itself, ad self-regulation is most effective when conducted at the national level. The characteristics of a given self-regulatory system will depend on local factors such as existing cultural traditions, the business environment and legal requirements.
Despite national differences, some basic elements are typically common to Ad Self-Regulatory Systems worldwide, such as:
- An independent and impartial self-regulatory body responsible for the implementation of the self-regulatory system and for ensuring that the system is – and is seen to be – impartial in the application and eventual review of the code;
- A code of standards or set of guiding principles governing the content of advertisements;
- A system for the adoption, review and application of the code or principles.
The Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO)
An SRO is an independent body (i.e. independent of government and of specific interest groups) with decision-making powers. Funded by the advertising industry, it has a practical responsibility to enforce advertising standards. It is impartial and deals with consumer complaints on a cost-free basis. Its decision-making processes and adjudications are transparent.
You can find out more about how Ad Self-Regulation works in the ICAS Guide to Developing an SRO.