Advertising codes reflect some of the specific criticism directed at the field, such as charges of deceptive advertising, unfair stereotyping, false testimonials and misleading claims. Organizations as diverse as the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association, the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Beer Institute have guidelines and codes for the content and placement of advertisements in their respective industries or for the audiences with which they are concerned.
For instance, here is a portion of the Advertising and Marketing Code for the Beer Institute. Any advertising professional working with a client who sells and advertises beer would need to adhere to this industry code.
“Brewers should employ the perspective of the reasonable adult consumer of legal drinking age in advertising and marketing their products, and should be guided by the following basic principles, which have long been reflected in the policies of the brewing industry and continue to underlie this Code:
Beer advertising should not suggest directly or indirectly that any of the laws applicable to the sale and consumption of beer should not be complied with.
Brewers should adhere to contemporary standards of good taste applicable to all commercial advertising and consistent with the medium or context in which the advertising appears.
Advertising themes, creative aspects, and placements should reflect the fact that Brewers are responsible corporate citizens.
Brewers strongly oppose abuse or inappropriate consumption of their products.” (Beer Institute)
Individual advertising agencies and corporate advertising departments also have codes and standards to help employees recognize and deal with ethical questions.
Most media outlets accept or reject ads submitted to them using a set of guidelines about what types of ads are acceptable and what type of content they will allow.
For example, here is a portion of the policy for acceptance of advertising that appears in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine
All advertisements are subject to approval of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (Publisher), which reserves the right to reject or cancel any ad at any time if the ad does not conform to the editorial or graphic standards of the magazine as determined by the Publisher.
Advertisements that are not appropriate for viewing by youth will not be accepted. Advertisements will not be accepted for tobacco or alcohol products. (Tex. Parks & Wild. Code §11.172(c); 31 Tex. Admin. Code §51.72. Other products that are not compatible with the mission of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will also not be accepted.
Advertisers must keep in mind the diverse audience of the magazine when determining the suitability of an ad. That audience includes hunters, anglers, campers, bird watchers, state parks visitors, other outdoor enthusiasts and readers of all ages including children. (Magazine Advertising Policy)
Any advertising professional gathering information and creating an ad for a product or service that might appear in this magazine would need to be aware of the publication’s organizational level guidelines about acceptable advertising, and the societal level regulations (Texas state laws) about tobacco or alcohol advertising in this publication.