Digital Advertising Alliance Launches Initiative to Increase Transparency & Accountability in Political Ads

The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has launched an industry-wide initiative to increase transparency and accountability around digital political ads, including new guidance for political advertisers and a “PoliticalAd” icon that will link to additional information on such ads. Compliance with the guidance will be independently enforced by the Advertising Self Regulatory Council (ASRC) and the Data & Marketing Association (DMA).

Building on the success of the DAA’s existing YourAdChoices program, the DAA’s new “PoliticalAd” icon will serve as an immediate, simple, and intuitive tool for people to get information on the political ads covered by the new guidelines. Information available through the PoliticalAd icon will include the political advertiser’s name, contact information, contribution or expenditure records (when applicable), individual contacts, and other required disclosures.

“Since its creation, the DAA has quickly adapted its framework to address new technologies and emerging issues ranging from multi-site data to cross-device identification and the mobile environment,” said Lou Mastria, executive director of the DAA. “Over the last several months, the DAA has facilitated an industry dialogue on the best ways to increase transparency around digital political advertising, and we were able to reach consensus on this common-sense approach built on accepted standards and proven tools. The PoliticalAd icon will give voters instant, easy access to information about the digital political ads they see, directly from the ads themselves.”

“This initiative will create a more transparent framework around digital political ads, so Americans can find relevant information about the advertisers who are trying to win their votes,” said Stu Ingis, chairman of Venable LLP and counsel to the DAA. “As this effort moves forward, we will work closely with industry leaders and policymakers to ensure we are addressing the important issues that have been raised in recent cycles while increasing transparency and accountability in the electoral process.”

Under the DAA’s new guidance for political advertising, the PoliticalAd icon and/or wording should be used to provide clear, meaningful, and prominent notice for ads that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate for federal office and in certain state-wide elections. The icon/wording should link to disclosures, including:

  • Name of the political advertiser;
  • Phone number, address, website, or alternative and reliable contact information for the advertiser;
  • Other information required by applicable federal or state law for such notices;
  • Link to a government database of contributions and expenditures for the advertiser, if applicable;
  • Any disclaimers required by state or federal law, if the ad itself is too small to display them (as permitted by applicable law); and
  • Name(s) of the advertiser’s CEO, executive committee, board of directors, or treasurer.

The DAA will review the implementation for the guidance on an ongoing basis and evaluate any additional steps that might be necessary to effectively implement this guidance or further increase transparency around political advertising.

More information about the DAA’s PoliticalAds transparency initiative can be found at www.AboutPoliticalAds.org. Additional implementation details and timing for compliance will be shared on that site and through industry education efforts later this year. CBBB and DMA enforcement of the DAA’s guidance on the Application of the DAA Principles of Transparency to Political Advertising will begin following the release of the implementation guidelines.  

The DAA’s new political advertising transparency initiative is modeled on the DAA’s YourAdChoices program, which offers consumers a gateway to information and control over Interest Based Advertising (IBA) through the ubiquitous blue AdChoices icon, now served more than a trillion times a month globally.

Reaction to the DAA’s Political Advertising Guidance

“This initiative is a strong reflection of our industry’s ability to self-regulate and to successfully leverage the AdChoices model that consumers are already familiar with into the political advertising format.”
Marla Kaplowitz, President & CEO, 4A’s

“We are happy that the members of the Digital Advertising Alliance have stepped forward with a common-sense response to widespread public concern about how the digital advertising ecosystem is used in political advertising. These straightforward disclosure requirements will bring digital advertising in line with the broadcast and print worlds and help consumers improve their understanding of the advertising they see. Any effective system of self-regulation needs to include a mechanism for reviewing ads for compliance and reporting violations. The Advertising Self-Regulatory Council is pleased to provide such a mechanism in support of an important industry initiative.”
C. Lee Peeler, President and CEO, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council and EVP, Council of Better Business Bureaus

“In order to make informed choices, citizens need to know who is soliciting their vote. The Digital Advertising Alliance is providing a significant service through the ‘PoliticalAd’ icon giving voters easy access to this important information. I am very pleased that once again the advertising industry, through self-regulation, is stepping up to do the right thing for consumers and our political system.”
James Edmund Datri, President and CEO, American Advertising Federation

“Brand advertisers proudly stand behind their campaigns because they understand the importance of transparency and want their customers to know their work. Unfortunately, in recent cycles, too many digital political ads have opted for secrecy over disclosure by hiding the identity of the advertiser and escaping accountability for the content of the ads. The DAA’s new PoliticalAd initiative will pull back the curtain on express advocacy ads for candidates, so people can easily identify and contact the advertisers and learn more about the funding for those campaigns.”
Bob Liodice, CEO, Association of National Advertisers

“Every day, marketers and advertisers work to build connections with customers based on truth, results and trust. Those same principles should apply to all types of advertising, including political advertising. We are proud to have DMA serve as a founding member and enforcement body for DAA, which continues to advance critical innovations that deliver transparency and value to consumers.”
– Tom Benton, CEO, Data & Marketing Association (DMA)

“Throughout my 11-year tenure, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has always stood for greater transparency and disclosure in the digital advertising supply chain. The problem of undisclosed foreign influence in our election demonstrates acutely the need for greater transparency and disclosure in political advertising, and much as they did for interest-based advertising, the DAA is once again taking the lead and moving the industry to higher ground.”
Randall Rothenberg, CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau

“NAI and its members are deeply dedicated to the principles of transparency and disclosure, and we believe that bringing these principles to the area of political advertising is a vital part of our commitment to consumers. The DAA is perfectly poised to extend its consumer trust program to political ads, and we are delighted to support this important initiative.”
Leigh Freund, President & CEO, Network Advertising Initiative

Links

http://digitaladvertisingalliance.org/

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