AI tool to identify and report breaches in online advertising – Winner of the Platinum Award

31 January 2023

In the last edition of the Best Practice Awards, the Platinum Award went to the Dutch SRO Stichting Reclame Code for the development of an AI tool that can identify, monitor, and report on online advertising and breaches of the code.

Supported by their technological partner DEUS, SRC’s initiative explored the possibilities of IT and artificial intelligence. This cooperation resulted in the development of a tool that can be easily used by SRO employees (no specific technical knowledge is needed). The tool allows to track all videos, stories, reels on YouTube and Instagram (soon also TikTok), not only by selecting the ones that may violate the code, but also by helping with the basic monitoring process. The tool indicates why a potential breach has been detected by highlighting keywords (brand names, or terms that indicate a commercial collaboration – to name a few). Ultimately, the tool allows the SRO employees to evaluate ads, ad targeting and influencers’ content.

There were of course some challenges in the implementation of tool, especially in making it suitable for use in different countries. The different languages spoken across Europe, and the differences in how the influencers promote products/brands on social media were the biggest obstacles. These issues were addressed by SRC and DEUS by talking with different countries to identify specific word combinations, brands and categories. Thanks to this cooperation other SROs are now able to identify most advertising done by influencers and give a proper analysis of how many posts are correct or violate the rules.

Direct results and benefits for SROs

SRC tracked a significant number of violations. The studies they have completed show a good selection of possible violations that need further evaluation and discussion with brand owners. The research they carried out raised awareness in both the advertising community as well as within influencers circles. Since the beginning of 2022, SRC has been rolling out the tool in more than seven other markets (Germany, Ireland, Greece/Cyprus, Portugal, Italy, France, and Bulgaria). Many more SROs showed interest in adopting the tool in 2023.

There is huge potential for all SROs to profit from the benefits of data science through collaboration. It effectively shows the larger advertising community and the big tech platforms that Self-Regulation has a serious role to play in making online advertising a trusted environment for brands and consumers.

You can find more information about Stitching Reclame Code on their official website.

In case you missed the news about the Best Practice Awards, you can find here the other winners. We will post a spotlight on their projects, keep an eye on EASA website!