AmCham Macedonia Summer 2017 (Issue 54) - Page 8

Cover STORY Summer 2017 / Issue 54 Cleaning Up our Own Backyards I s it right to feature chil- dren - especially babies - in commercials for prod- ucts or services that are not meant for them? Is it acceptable to use a child’s skin color as a metaphor for the color of a consumer good? Is it OK to promote any product with a photo of a naked female body along with a tagline like, “Sticks to all surfaces”? Is it fair to advertise laptops to women as an accessory, where its color is the decisive factor? Is an advertising message misleading if it claims a product has medicinal properties that lack scientific proof? Or to always associate aggression with men? These and similar questions are part of everyday life in the communications and advertising world, and not just in Serbia or Macedonia. We tend to be rather self-critical, assuming other mar- kets are completely different. In reality, the questions are the same in far bigger and more developed markets, as well as with com- panies and brands that lead the world advertising stage. Some of these questions are answered by policies that directly regulate advertising and the media, others by laws that relate only partially to advertising, such as Serbia’s laws on Consumer Protection, Medi- cines and Medical Devices, Finan- cial Services, Transportation, and others. Even if it were possible, should advertising be fully regulated by State laws created without the 8 AmCham Macedonia Magazine Vanda Kučera, Head of Corporate Affairs, I&F McCann Grupa influence of advertising professionals? Of course not! Today more than ever, the advertising profession around the world and in Serbia is saying that traditional regulation isn’t the only and best way to oversee the very broad and diverse field of advertising. They argue that lawmakers need to provide a good framework that is compat- ible with future innovative practices and new technologies, but that the industry itself should provide answers to questions like those listed above. Self-regulation is based on the need and desire of the profession to independently regulate, educate, and promote ethical criteria in its business environment, without involving State institutions, laws and lawmakers. The goal in our industry is to “clean up our own backyard”, since that is where we spend our lives working, creating and making messes, now and again. By doing so, we show our industry’s maturity, social and business responsibility, modernity, and readiness to practice democratic principles. It all starts with a Code of Conduct, a document that sets profes- sional rules and good manners that dictate how to communicate in a correct and decent way. Every Code of Conduct accepted and