Consolidated ICC code

Contextual Introduction

Responsible advertising and marketing communications

Advertising and other forms of marketing communications are vital means of communicating between marketers and customers. They help to create efficient markets, both nationally and internationally, and bring significant benefits for both consumers and companies, as well as for society in general.

Responsible advertising and marketing communications, based on widely supported selfregulatory codes of conduct, are an expression of the business community’s recognition of its social obligations. The fundamental value of self-regulation lies in its ability to create, enhance and preserve consumer trust and confidence in the business communities behind it, and thereby in the marketplace itself. Effective self-regulation is also an instrument for the protection of individual companies’ goodwill and reputation.

Self-regulatory codes continue to be developed and refined in response to societal, technological and economic changes.
Independent systems of self-regulation have been successfully applying the ICC Code for the past 70 years. The use of properly implemented advertising and marketing communications codes is acknowledged and accepted in all major markets(cf example below) as industry best practice and a recognized means of providing additional consumer protection. Selfregulation is a tried and tested system which has served responsible business well, for the benefit of consumers all over the world.

see for example:
“1) the Case study report on Advertising of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL ) Project on Constitutional Foundations of Transnational Private Regulation Coordinated by Fabrizio Cafaggi European University Institute, Florence, Italy,
University of Trento with Colin Scott, University College Dublin, Ireland & Linda Senden Tilburg University, The Netherlands” and
2) the EU Commission DGSanco report 2006, Self-Regulation in the EU Advertising Sector

Structure of the Code

The Consolidated ICC Code is constructed as an integrated system of ethical rules.
Its General Provisions and Definitions apply without exception to all marketing communications; they should be read in conjunction with the more detailed provisions and specific requirements set out in the relevant chapters:

  • Chapter A –Sales Promotion;
  • Chapter B –Sponsorship;
  • Chapter C –Direct Marketing;
  • Chapter D –Advertising and Marketing Using Digital Interactive Media;
  • Chapter E –Environmental Claims in Marketing Communications.

Purpose of the Code

The Consolidated ICC Code product is intended primarily as an instrument of self-regulation for commercial communications; however, its provisions may also be useful in regulating other, non-commercial forms of
advertising and communication and it may be used by the Courts as a document within the framework of applicable legislation. ICC recommends its adoption and use worldwide.

The Code is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  • to demonstrate responsibility and good practice in advertising and marketing communications across the world;
  • to enhance overall public confidence in marketing communications; to respect privacy and consumerpreferences; to ensure special responsibility as regards marketing communications and children/young people;
  • to safeguard the freedom of expression of those engaged in marketing communications (as embodiedin article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights);
  • to provide effective practical and flexible solutions; to minimise the need for detailed governmental and/orinter-governmental legislation or regulations.

Code campaign supported by :