ABG, a New Industry Body to Promote Ethical Advertising
Posted on November 30, 2016 | By Iain Akerman

A new advertising association has been launched in the UAE to promote ethical and responsible advertising across the Middle East.

The newly-established Advertising Business Group (ABG) includes Mars, PepsiCo, Emirates NBD, Procter & Gamble, Facebook, Google, MCN, Choueiri Group, Nestlé, Abbott Laboratories, Visa, L'Oréal, Beiersdorf, Omnicom Media Group and Unilever amongst its founding members. It will seek to encourage self-regulation among advertisers, agencies and publishers.

The ABG will also engage with consumers on their rights by providing them with the ability to challenge advertising, which they believe to be harmful or untrue.

“We are at a stage of the marketing and advertising industry’s development in the GCC that makes it the ideal time to set up a self-regulatory body like the ABG that will advocate for responsible advertising and communication,” said Sanjiv Kakkar, Executive Vice-President at Unilever MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and the ABG’s Chairperson.

“Advertising has a remarkable impact on every single one of us – it wins hearts and minds, shaping the attitudes and influencing the behaviours of millions of consumers daily. With this power comes the responsibility of regulating ourselves, ensuring that we create ethical advertising that does not mislead, harm or offend consumers.”

In partnership with existing associations such as the European Advertising Standards Alliance and the World Federation of Advertisers, the ABG will look to define and share a set of best practices on advertising standards. The ABG will also work with bodies in the region, such as the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and the International Advertising Association, to promote self-regulation.

The ABG will seek to address issues such as false advertising, advertising to children, the promotion of healthy living, the role of social media influencers, and problems surrounding consumer privacy and data.

“Ethical advertising builds consumer trust in companies and brands, improving sales and strengthening market share, while helping maintain a level playing field that is important for fair competition,” added Kakkar. “Irresponsible marketing on the other hand damages consumer confidence and provides little or no sustained return on advertising investment.

“Responsible advertising benefits everyone – consumers, society and advertisers. This belief in responsible advertising, and its benefits for consumers and society, has spurred the GCCs advertisers, agencies and media to establish the ABG.” 

The Advertising Business Group has grown out of the Advertisers’ Business Group, a similar organisation that was first launched back in 2007.