Advertising codes are designed by the local ad ecosystem in consultation with stakeholders. This makes sure they reflect the relevant cultural, business, legal and economic contexts. Codes are updated on a regular basis to make sure that ad standards respond to any new developments in ways and means of advertising. 

The foundations of all Ad Standards Codes are based on the principles that:

  • Advertising is legal, decent, honest and truthful;
  • Ads are prepared with a due sense of social responsibility;
  • Ads conform to the principles of fair competition;
  • Ads don’t impair public confidence in advertising.

Depending on national sensibilities and the maturity of the self-regulatory organisation, codes might go into detail on issues such as advertising and children, advertising and the environment, advertising of particular products – like alcohol, food or cosmetics -, or a type of advertising across different media – for example digital. 

A good reference point is the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Consolidated Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice. The ICC code is used as a baseline for many national codes.