Guidelines Take Effect November 1st; Enforcement Starts January 1, 2020 by Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) and Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) announced the timeline for enforcement of its new transparency guidelines for political advertisers, including use of the “Political Ad” icon. The new guidelines will become effective on November 1, 2019, and enforcement of compliance will begin on January 1, 2020. The independent enforcement program will be run by the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) and Association of National Advertisers (ANA), which also are responsible for enforcement of the DAA’s YourAdChoices program.
Appearing in or around digital express advocacy political ads, the DAA’s Political Ad icon will offer an easy, interactive, and clearly-identifiable tool for voters to get information on the advertiser paying for the ad. Information available through the Political Ad icon will include the political advertiser’s name, contact information, contribution or expenditure records (when applicable), individual contacts, and other required disclosures.
“Transparency and accountability are two of the foundational principles of our democracy, and the advertising industry is committed to giving voters simple access to the information they need about express advocacy political ads,” said DAA Executive Director Lou Mastria. “The responsible digital advertising industry has a vested interest in making digital advertising more transparent, and the Political Ad Icon program redoubles our commitment to this critical goal.”
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“The DAA took an important step to streamline the reporting requirements for political advertisers by creating a national transparency standard for disclosing information about political advertising. With the backing of the major ad trade associations, this new guidance can be quickly implemented across the ecosystem,” said Mike Signorelli, partner at Venable LLP and counsel to the DAA. “Having rolled out the tech specs for the Political Ad program less than a year ago, we are ready to move toward enforcement. Over the coming months, we will continue to educate the marketplace about the steps they need to take to license the icon and comply with the program guidelines and disclosure notice requirements.”
Under the DAA’s guidance for political advertising, the Political Ad 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 that include:
- 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, member of the executive committee or board of directors, or treasurer.
The DAA’s 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 YourAdChoices icon, globally served more than a trillion times a month.
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“Recent investigative reports about media and social media have dramatically underscored the need for the public to know the sponsor of the political ads they see,” said Marla Kaplowitz, President & CEO, 4A’s. “Fortunately, the advertising industry has in place the Ad Choices tool, now expanded to provide that much-needed transparency to political advertising. A simple click-through the DAA’s Political Ad icon reveals the name and contact information of the advertiser.”
“The ANA is a proud founding member of the DAA program,” said Bob Liodice, CEO, ANA. “Transparency and consumer control have always been a major foundation of the DAA program. DAA’s added accountability will now foster greater trust and transparency in the political advertising realm.”
“There is no speech more central to American democracy than political speech, and that requires it to be free of corruption, taint, or illegal interference,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau. “The Digital Advertising Alliance’s PoliticalAds initiative demonstrates once again that industry experts from media, advertising, and technology can quickly build mechanisms that can help solve seemingly intractable public problems. In less than a single election cycle, the DAA constructed a window into digital political advertising, giving American voters a clear view into who’s paying for the electioneering ads they see. We urge the Federal Election Commission and all 50 states to make PoliticalAds the foundation of digital political ad disclosure, and protect our democracy from the threats it faces.”
“These guidelines will provide much-needed transparency to protect and enhance the integrity of online political advertising, establishing uniform standards that are even higher and more transparent than advertising on traditional media,” said Leigh Freund, President and CEO, Network Advertising Initiative.
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