In June 1991 Sir Leon Brittan, then Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for competition policy, challenged the advertising industry to consider ways of solving problems raised by the creation of the Single Market by means of self-regulation, already well-established in some Member States, thus avoiding the need for detailed legislation, which was overwhelmingly opposed by the industry. Later the same year, at Corsendonk Priory in Belgium, advertising industry representatives from all over Europe agreed to give formal, independent status to a hitherto ad hoc grouping of national self-regulatory bodies (SROs) from a number of European countries, which had for some years been meeting informally to discuss matters of mutual interest. The new body would be called the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) and its task would be to promote self-regulation and demonstrate that, within a legislative framework, it was a more effective way of regulating advertising than detailed legislation.
In 1992 EASA came into being. One of its first actions was to set up a system for handling cross-border complaints about advertising. Its first full-time Director General was appointed in 1993 and in the following year it moved into its current headquarters in Rue de la Pépinière in Brussels. At a second Corsendonk conference in 1997, representatives of the advertising industry endorsed EASA’s progress and achievements and in 1998 Sir Leon Brittan acknowledged that its work “had reduced the perceived need for legislative intervention”.
In 2002, EASA was restructured as a partnership between the national SROs, which had hitherto formed its exclusive membership, and European advertising industry associations representing advertisers, agencies and the media. It thus became the single, authoritative voice of advertising self-regulation in Europe. EASA’s mission is to promote responsible advertising throughout the Single Market, through best self-regulatory practice, in the interests of both consumers and business. In its capacity as advocate for self-regulation, EASA has been instrumental in establishing a best practice programme across the European self-regulatory network.
The EASA Advertising Self Regulatory Charter
In June 2004, 130 representatives from all sectors of the advertising industry signed a Self-Regulatory Charter which commits the advertising industry to increased moral and financial support for self-regulatory systems across Europe. EASA subsequently launched the “Get-Fit Programme”, devoting substantial resources to implement these commitments, by improving existing self-regulation systems through the introduction of best practice and by setting up new systems in new EU member and candidate states.
The EASA Charter and the Charter Validation Process were a kick start which encouraged and continues to encourage best practice implementation.
For more information on EASA's Advertising Self Regulatory Charter click here