"This strong, bold brand recognizes the industry's commitment to self-regulation and the comprehensive scope of self-regulatory activities – the growing number of programs and services, the broad reach of decisions and the expanded industry representation on the ASRC Board of Directors," said Eric Mower, Chairman of the ASRC Board of Directors and Chairman and CEO of Eric Mower and Associates.
The new brand – developed pro bono by Leo Burnett USA – comes as the self-regulatory system marks a 40-year partnership between the advertising industry and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) to provide objective third-party oversight of advertising practices.
"The notion that advertisers could or would self-regulate was greeted with some skepticism in 1971. Since that time, however, the industry has consistently demonstrated its commitment to the establishment and enforcement of strong, meaningful standards," said C. Lee Peeler, President and CEO of ASRC.
ASRC sets the policies and procedures for advertising industry self-regulation programs. In 2009, the Board of Directors expanded beyond its founding partners – 4As, American Advertising Federation (AAF), Association of National Advertisers, (ANA), and CBBB – to include the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The CBBB serves as the third-party administrator of a self-regulatory system that now includes:
National Advertising Division (NAD), 1971
National Advertising Review Board (NARB), 1971
The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), 1974
The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), 2004
The NAD/CRN Initiative, 2006
The Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program, 2010
These programs examine the truth and accuracy of advertising claims, the appropriateness of children's advertising practices and, in the case of the Accountability Program, promote compliance with the advertising industry's self-regulatory standards.
Both the ERSP program and the NAD/CRN Initiative began at the request of a specific industry segment for ASRC-led oversight. ERSP was launched in partnership with the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and examines core advertising claims communicated through direct-response advertising. The NAD/CRN Initiative began at the request of the Council for Responsible Nutrition and examines the truth and accuracy of advertising claims made for dietary supplements.
The Accountability Program – the most recent self-regulatory program – was developed at the urging of a cross-industry coalition of trade associations. The Accountability Program reviews compliance with the industry-accepted principles for online behavioral advertising (OBA), focuses on transparency and consumer-control issues and monitors companies that may be engaged in OBA.
"Industry support is as critical now as it was in 1971," said Mr. Mower. "Our industry has always faced challenges – new technologies, societal and cultural sensitivities, legislative and regulatory scrutiny. And as we meet each challenge, we must demonstrate to consumers that we are focused on their concerns. The best demonstration is effective self-regulation."
About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation: The Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC) establishes the policies and procedures for advertising industry self-regulation, including the National Advertising Division (NAD), Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) and Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program.) The self-regulatory system is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Self-regulation is good for consumers. The self-regulatory system monitors the marketplace, holds advertisers responsible for their claims and practices and tracks emerging issues and trends. Self-regulation is good for advertisers. Rigorous review serves to encourage consumer trust; the self-regulatory system offers an expert, cost-efficient, meaningful alternative to litigation and provides a framework for the development of a self-regulatory to emerging issues.