The advertising industry has a long history of meeting challenges and creating structures and guidelines to help insure truthful advertising and ethical behavior, and solidify consumer trust:
We created the National Advertising Division (NAD) to help ensure that advertising is truthful, and claims are substantiated;
We were part of the creation of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), which helps protect children from deceptive and inappropriate advertising;
And when the emergence of online advertising raised privacy concerns, we created the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), which helps educate consumers and give them some control over the use of their personal data.
All of these programs help supplement government action, and often with standards that are more stringent than the law requires.
Now, the ad industry is stepping up again.
AAF has joined our partners at the ANA and 4As in the Responsible Privacy in Advertising Initiative (RPIA).
The goal is to help create a single national standard for the entire industry.
AAF and our partners in Privacy for America have long advocated for a national privacy law. Unfortunately, in the face of congressional gridlock, many states have stepped in to pass their own laws.
While commendable in and of itself, the result has been chaos and inconsistency. This is especially problematic in the online world, where digital reach knows no boundaries. Complying with contradictory state standards is difficult – if not impossible.
This is especially true for the thousands of small and mid-sized businesses that comprise AAF’s grassroots membership.
With the RPAI, our goal is to create a template for an advertising-focused privacy law. Our preference is for a preemptive national law but, in the interim, such a template could form the basis for multiple state laws consistent across borders.
That is why ANA, 4As and AAF will encourage the industry to adopt these privacy standards on a voluntary basis, especially while we wait for the government to act.
Advertising success is dependent on consumer trust. Consumers need to trust what advertisers say, and they need to trust that advertisers will treat their data responsibly.
The advertising industry has historically gone above and beyond to self-regulate. So while we look forward to congressional action, we publicly encourage the industry to soldier on.