Consolidated ICC code : General Provisions

Contextual general provision

Terms specific to the general provisions

For the purposes of this code:

  • the term “advertising” or “advertisement” means any form of marketing communications carried by the media, usually in return for payment or other valuable consideration;
  • the term “consumer” means any person who can reasonably be expected to be affected by a marketing communications, whether as an individual or as a trade customer or user;
  • the term “digital interactive media” refers to any media platform, service or application providing electronic communications, using the Internet, online services, and/or electronic and communication networks, including mobile phone, personal digital assistant and interactive game consoles which allows the receiving party to interact with the platform, service or application;
  • the term “marketing communications" includes advertising as well as other techniques, such as promotions, sponsorships and direct marketing, and should be interpreted broadly to mean any communications produced directly by or on behalf of marketers intended primarily to promote products or to influence consumer behaviour;
  • the term “market research”, which includes social and opinion research, is the systematic gathering and interpretation of information about individuals or organisations using the statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied social sciences to gain insight or support decision-making. The identity of respondents will not be revealed to the user of the information without explicit consent and no sales approach will be made to them as a direct result of their having provided information;
  • the term ‘marketer’ refers to persons or companies, including advertisers, sales promoters and direct marketers, who or on whose behalf marketing communications are published or disseminated for the purpose of promoting their products or influencing consumer behaviour
  • the term “offer” means any presentation or solicitation for the sale or purchase of products;
  • the term “personal data” means any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual;
  • the term “preference service” ("Robinson List") means the administration and operation of a suppression file of consumers who have registered a wish not to receive unsolicited direct marketing communications using a specific medium, against which marketing lists are matched;
  • the term "product" refers to anything that constitutes the subject of an advertisement; this usually means goods or services, but is not restrictive: where appropriate the Code may be applied more widely, e.g. to concepts.

Scope of the Code

The Consolidated ICC Code applies to all advertising and other marketing communications for the promotion of any kind of goods and services, corporate and institutional promotion included.

Its standards of ethical conduct should be observed by everyone concerned with marketing communications, whether as advertisers, marketers, advertising practitioners or agencies, in the media, or in related functions. Implementation of the Code will vary depending on individual circumstances: it may be applied by self-regulatory organisations setup for the purpose, as well as by individual companies, agencies, media, etc.

The Code is to be applied against the background of whatever legislation maybe applicable.
When applied in different countries or specific markets, ICC global codes enhance harmonization and coherence, yet they are flexible enough to accommodate variations in culture and societal rules and norms. Where legislation and regulation are not consistent across borders, the Code defers to local rules. For example, since the definition of the term “child” or “young person” varies widely, the provisions outlined in this code that apply to marketing communications addressed to children and young people recommend the use of local definitions. An exception is in the field of privacy where there is general consensus on the age at which rules relating to “children” apply. Hence, for the purpose of all privacy-related sections, including sections on online behavioural advertising, and in the absence of relevant local regulatory or self-regulatory definitions, the Consolidated ICC Code refers to "children" as 12 and under.

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