Self-regulation is a system that enables marketing industry to actively regulate itself. It promotes four basic principles, specifically: advertising has to be legal, truthful, decent and honorable. Advertisers, agencies and media outlets, as essential stakeholders of the industry, agree on standards of work they voluntarily abide by. General attitude at the global level is that self- regulation functions within a legal framework, that is, the best results are achieved when laws regulating the area of advertising are being supplemented with self-regulatory rules.
Self-regulatory system cannot exist without an independent body (self-regulatory body- SRB) which is responsible for the establishment of self-regulation, its functioning and implementation. Independency is reflected in a clear separation from state institutions and bodies, but also from the interests of other groups. SRB is established by marketing industry consistent of advertisers, agencies and media outlets. Support of the industry is reflected in securing funds for its functioning, while the trust is reflected in accepting and implementing decisions of SRB.
Rules and principles of marketing communications in specific country are embedded in a single document – the Code. In most of the countries, the Code is based on Consolidated Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice of the International Chamber of Commerce, as well as on the main principles that advertising should be legal, truthful, decent and honest. In addition, it is prescribed that advertising messages should be created observing the principles of fair competition without jeopardizing the public trust in advertising. The Code encompasses the rules that apply to all forms of advertising and leaves the possibility to amend them thereby following the development of new techniques in advertising. The Code of marketing communications and advertising is published in April 2013 http://www.iaa.rs/assets/kodeks.pdf The Code refers to all forms of marketing communications implemented with a goal of promoting all kind of products and services, including corporate and institutional promotion. The Code does not refer to messages of companies in press releases and other media statements, nor to information in annual reports or similar. In addition, it does not refer to information that has to be the part of product labels, nor to political statements. Besides the chapters dealing with selling promotion, sponsorship, direct marketing, advertising in digital and interactive media, special attention is devoted, bearing in mind the importance, nature, intensity and volume of advertising, to so called “special cases of advertising”.
Serbian self-regulatory body was established on April 10, 2019 called the National Association for Ethical Standards in Advertising (NAESA). It was registered as a professional association, and Founding Assembly was held on the next day in Belgrade. According to its Statute, NAESA recognizes two forms of membership- full and associated. Full member can be any legal entity performing activities within area relevant to advertising and marketing communications (advertisers, agencies, media outlet), whereas associate members are professional associations and non-governmental organizations.
NAESA is an independent, non-governmental and non-profit association that defines and enables implementation of ethical standards in advertising and marketing communications, promotes and supports the use of ethical principles in market communications and promotes the compliance with the Code of Advertising Communication (IAA Serbian Chapter), as well as with other self-regulatory standards prescribed by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and European Advertising Standards Alliance. *
The mission statement of NAESA is to implement social responsibility and business ethics in area of marketing communications in line with the existing legal framework and the best international practice. When implementing the Code of Advertising Communications provisions, the Association will ensure adequate assistance for consumers, media outlets, advertisers and agencies, thereby creating an important step forward towards raising the quality and reputation of advertising communications. The Code covers all media outlets, which means that NAESA will, through its operations, contribute towards the development and regulation of media industry.
NAESA will implement its mission statement through following activities:
- Offering professional pieces of advice and interpretation regarding the implementation of the Code, that is, the ethical standards in marketing communications;
- Checking all complaints related to advertising messages and campaigns;
- Organization of educational programs for professionals;
- Cooperation with the other organizations and entities that are in different ways involved/interested in regulating area of marketing communications.