ARF Proposes New Standards For Consumer Data, Threatens To Rescind Cambridge Analytica's Ogilvy Award

Sparked by revelations surrounding the illicit use of Facebook user data by Cambridge Analytica, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) this morning called for new ad industry “guidelines and standards to govern consumer data collection and protection." The federation also announced it is reconsidering a prestigious award it bestowed Cambridge Analytica last year and will "rescind" it if allegations surrounding its illicit practices are proven to be true.

“We invite all industry members and industry bodies to join with us to not only contribute ideas and thoughts but to work with their constituents to ensure adoption once developed,” ARF President Scott McDonald said this morning during his opening remarks on Day Two of the ARF’s annual conference in New York City.

“The ARF feels compelled to make this call as we are the industry body set up to advance the understanding and practice of advertising through science and reason,” he added, noting "and we do so on behalf of all participants in the industry -- buyers and sellers, creators and marketers. As such, it is our responsibility to lead in getting this initiative underway.”

McDonald said the first step will involve a collaboration with the American Marketing Association’s New York office to host a “Town Hall” discussion on the topic on April 26th at the ARF’s New York headquarters.

“The goal will be to form a working group that can draft, for further debate and consideration, a proposed code of conduct that is relevant to our world of 2018 and beyond,” McDonald outlined, noting that “the proceedings will be live-streamed to facilitate participation.”

“The consumer is our partner. We need consumer data to advance the needs of our industry. But to continue to have the right to access that data we must demonstrate respect for our partner, and value to a greater extent the courtesy our partner has extended us,” he concluded -- but not before noting that the ARF would rescind Cambridge Analytica’s 2017 David Ogilvy Award “if the allegations of illegal or deceptive practices are sustained by the inquiries underway.”

“The ARF will formally rescind the award, on the grounds that the work did not, in retrospect, meet our standards and requirements,” he said.

7 comments about "ARF Proposes New Standards For Consumer Data, Threatens To Rescind Cambridge Analytica's Ogilvy Award".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, March 28, 2018 at 10:56 a.m.

    One wonders the punishment for Cambridge Analytica had they helped Trump's opponents instead.

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, March 28, 2018 at 11:19 a.m.

    @Douglas Ferguson: Speaking for myself, I think the punishment is merited based on the theft of 50 million users personal data, followed by the illicit use of it. The fact that they played a role in disrupting a democratic process will be an ongoing societal and industrial debate, regardless of who they helped elect. Based on the Guardian's expose, they don't seem to be politically partisan, just mercenary. They would use their clandestine, illicit and illegal methods regardless of the candidate, so long as they were willing to pay. Beyond that, you have to wonder about the partisan and ethical motives of the Mercer Family and Steve Bannon who were directing them.

  3. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics replied, March 28, 2018 at 1:45 p.m.

    If it is theft and misuse, that implies someone owned the data. If it was Facebook’s data that was stolen, then criminal charges should be filed for theft and a lawsuit for damages should be brought by Facebook, no?

  4. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, March 28, 2018 at 1:48 p.m.

    @Jack Wakshlag: That seems logical to me. Zuckerberg confirmed that Cambridge Analytica had given them "certifications" that Facebook user data was deleted in 2015, but it was still being used in 2016. May still be.

  5. Carri Bugbee from Big Deal Digital, March 28, 2018 at 8:04 p.m.

    Whatever happened to spelling out the name of an organization in first usage before referring to it by its acronym? I think that is still the recommended usage by the AP Stylebook.

    BTW, when you google ARF, the first thing that comes up is Animal Research Foundation. :-)

  6. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics replied, March 28, 2018 at 8:13 p.m.

    I agree Joe. Did Cambridge A license the data from Facebook or get it from someone else?  Nobody who owns data and knows what they’re doing let’s customers resell it. Makes no sense. What would Nielsen or MRI or Comscore do if someone gave their data to another user?

  7. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, March 28, 2018 at 9:23 p.m.

    @Carri Bugbee: You are right, that was an oversight. The story has been updated for full attribution to the Advertising Research Foundation in the first reference. Thank you for pointing it out. 

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