Advertising and the Consumer Experience of Tomorrow:
self-regulation ensuring responsible advertising in the digital age
The event was held at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels and gathered over 100 participants, including representatives from the advertising industry, other trade associations, companies and digital platforms, NGOs, civil society as well as EU and national officials. They engaged in a lively discussion on the challenges the advertising industry is currently facing in this digital age and how self-regulation responds and adapts to these challenges.
The conference was kicked off with a short video about the EASA and the merits of advertising self-regulation, available here: youtu.be/HlVYvXY1Drc
Keynote speaker Claire Bury, Deputy Director-General, DG CONNECT, highlighted in her speech that the European Commission appreciates the value of self-regulation and stressed the need for self-regulation and regulation to work together to ensure a swift responsiveness to the rapidly changing digital marketing landscape: "The digital revolution brings substantial changes to the advertising industry. In this dynamic landscape, we must proactively seize new opportunities and tackle emerging challenges. I believe that the Digital Single Market Strategy and the strands of work that I outlined including, where appropriate, self and co-regulation, will help in this process by making the regulatory framework fit for the digital age, and maintaining sufficient flexibility to stimulate innovation while preserving core European values."
During the conference, the following themes were debated: the advertising and consumer experience of tomorrow, whether or not self-regulation is responding to these challenges and to what extent responsibility to uphold social and ethical norms in advertising is preventing or fostering innovation and creativity.
There were notable presentations from representatives in the advertising and tech industries which addressed these themes and outlined what the future holds for consumers and advertisers alike.
The discussion clearly indicated that advertising self-regulation is already responding well to the challenges of the digital age. The speed with which technological innovation in advertising media and changes in consumer behaviour take place have called for the advertising industry to focus more acutely on transparency – ensuring that ads are recognizable and trustworthy – and that the privacy of consumers is being respected. The role of self-regulatory organisations in educating and empowering consumers and influencers, such as bloggers and vloggers, was highlighted. Even more could be done to further increase its engagement and visibility in the digital marketing field. The participants expressed strong confidence that self-regulation is well-suited to address the challenges of today and tomorrow and that commitment to legal, decent, honest and truthful marketing communications will not come at a cost to innovation and creativity, but on the contrary, that self-regulation fosters and drives innovation.
Stéphane Martin, EASA’s Chairman, stated: “I believe that self-regulation can and is adapting to this constant disruption with an ever determination and focus to ensure that responsibility is maintained and understood by all involved.” He concluded: “The future for advertising self-regulation is one in which there will be a need for us to think outside of the box on how to bring it about, on how to engage with the new players and what technology and tools we will need to succeed. We’ll need to be bold, open to change and innovative in the way we find solutions.”