The International Advertising Association just released the "IAA Principles to Maintain a Vibrant, Dynamic, and Competitive Advertising Industry."  

In connection with the release of the Principles, the IAA said that it believes that "creating a smarter regulatory environment that fosters a vibrant, dynamic, and competitive marketplace will provide great benefits to both industry and consumers."  The IAA explained that, in order to protect consumers and the advertising ecosystem, lawmakers should take these Principles into account whenever considering legislation that may impact the ability of companies to compete freely in the marketplace. 

Here are the Principles: 

  • Legislation should focus on maximizing the welfare of consumers.  It is essential to protect consumers, the freedom of consumers to make choices, and the products and services that fuel the communications ecosystem, including an open internet.  Digital tools and content supported by advertising serve as a lifeline for people around the world. 
  • Preserve the global economic engine supported by the advertising industry. The advertising industry contributes a significant number of jobs and supports economic growth around the world. Regulators and governments should carefully consider any legislation, or other rules, which may potentially adversely impact this thriving ecosystem or the communities that depend on it.
  • Promote competition without unnecessarily negatively impacting large segments of the industry, including small and medium-sized businesses.  Any legislation should carefully weigh the interests of all advertising industry stakeholders to ensure that the legislation will truly provide a benefit, that real harms are being addressed, and that the legislation does not unintentionally create negative impact on large segments of the industry.
  • Proceed cautiously when considering legislation that increases complexity and cost for the advertising industry.  Integrated and seamless advertising products are an essential part of the value proposition for advertisers, publishers, and advertising agencies. Competition legislation should focus on maximizing the benefit to the advertising ecosystem, which in turn, can help to maximize utility and choice for consumers.
  • Avoid legislation that has the impact of breaking up or punishing companies simply because they are big or successful.  While government should work to address demonstrated harms, and to protect and preserve competition, it should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. This is the role of the market, as driven by consumers.
  • Don’t enact legislation that creates a uneven playing field.  Ensure that legislation doesn’t arbitrarily favor certain companies over others.  When you create an uneven playing field, you risk not only distorting competition, but harming consumers.

The IAA aims to serve as the "global compass" for the marketing and advertising industry.  The IAA's membership consists of over 4,000 brands, publishers, advertising agencies, tech platforms, and academic institutions across 56 countries and 6 continents.  And, full disclosure, the Principles were developed by the IAA's Public Policy Council (of which I am the chair).