AUTOCONTROL modernizes its code of conduct to respond to the new challenges of digital advertising

AUTOCONTROL, the Association for the Self-regulation of Commercial Communication in Spain, today held its 24th General Assembly in which representatives of the 555 member entities, including advertisers, advertising agencies, the media and professional associations, participated.

María Luisa Giménez Gistau, President of AUTOCONTROL, highlighted that “during 2018, and in parallel to the digitization process that the industry is experiencing, and related to it, we appreciate in the day-to-day of our activity how advertisers, agencies and media Spanish communication companies are making an enormous effort to respond to the challenges that digital advertising and data protection and privacy pose to them in their advertising activity. ”

In his speech, the President of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), Stéphane Martin, analyzed the new challenges facing the advertising industry in the continent, citing, among others, the transposition of the new Services Directive. Audiovisual Communication and the implications of the new digital ecosystems for self-regulation systems. Martin has congratulated AUTOCONTROL and its partners, for their work and their commitment to responsible advertising, which have placed the Association – he pointed out – in the first positions among European and international self-regulatory organizations.

For his part, José Domingo Gómez Castallo, CEO of AUTOCONTROL, has presented the Management Report for 2018, including the balance of activity. In 2018, it has indicated, AUTOCONTROL answered 47,642 inquiries from advertisers, agencies and the media. Of these, 36,395 corresponded to requests for Copy Advice® or voluntary review of ad projects before their dissemination. In addition, the Director General of the Association has recalled that it continues to work very closely with the Administration, within the framework of the 34 cooperation agreements signed with state and regional organizations. Gómez Castallo has also highlighted that the commitment of companies to advertising self-regulation at the sectoral level remains firm and that the 21 sectoral advertising codes of conduct applied by the Association are good proof of this.

In this General Assembly, the novelties introduced in the AUTOCONTROL Advertising Code of Conduct have been submitted to the members for approval, as a consequence of its adaptation to the new version of the Chamber of Commerce Code of Advertising and Market Communications International approved in 2018. These innovations include: the precision that its application extends to any commercial communication regardless of its form or format; the prohibition that commercial communications offer arguments that take advantage of misfortune or suffering without justifiable reason, and the precision that commercial communications will not only not incite violence, antisocial or illegal behavior, but will also not be tolerant of the same.

In the area of ​​the protection of minors, it is added that commercial communications directed at children must not contain visual representations or descriptions of potentially dangerous practices or situations that show a disregard for safety. Likewise, it is detailed that the products of illegal sale for children or adolescents or inadequate for them, should not be advertised in media addressed to them; and that commercial advertising directed at them should not be included in media where the editorial content is not adequate. The provisions on discriminatory advertising are also adapted.

One of the principles whose application is most significantly reinforced is the principle of authenticity to which is added the requirement of transparency. Specifically, the explicit obligation is established that advertising in media with editorial content is easily recognizable as such or otherwise labeled (including native advertising). Also that commercial communications should not be passed as other content. At the same time, it is added that the sponsored nature of a recommendation or testimony must be made clear by means of an adequate warning in those cases in which the message, due to its formal or content characteristics, may mislead the user regarding said nature. Finally, the essential obligations set forth in the RGPD and the LOPDGDC regarding data protection, which affect commercial communications, are reproduced.

The Assembly also addressed the use of influencers in advertising, an issue in which, together with the aea (Spanish Association of Advertisers) and SEAD (Secretary of State for Digital Advancement), it is actively working.

Finally, half of the Board of Directors was elected, in which 39 companies and sector associations are represented. A list of the new composition of the Board of Directors is attached.