What is going to be big in the public affairs space in 2017? WFA staff give their predictions for the year ahead.

#1 Taking back control: We reckon 2017 will be the year consumers start to take back control online. New privacy rules coming out of Brussels will require companies to give consumers more information about how they use their data. The days of blindly ticking boxes will soon be over. Consumers will need to make deliberate decisions about informed consent, meaning brand marketers will need to work hard and find new ways to articulate the value of personalised, targeted advertising. Catherine can tell you more at c.armitage@wfanet.org

#2 A new dawn for online ads? All the data show how ad-blocking continues to rise. The online ad experience is far from consumer-friendly. But has the penny finally dropped within industry? WFA is a founding member of the global Coalition for Better Ads. In 2017, on the basis of online consumer understanding, we’ll put in place standards that we hope might just improve the online experience. We won’t claw back consumers from using ad-blockers overnight but we hope 2017 will be the year when online advertising turns the corner. For more information, ask Axel at a.debry@wfanet.org

#3 AVMS, a Pandora’s box for more ad controls? As part of the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy, European regulators are reviewing the pan-European broadcasting rules contained in the Audio-visual Media Services Directive (AVMS). The aim? To make the rules more flexible and future-proof in light of technological changes. The danger? NGOs and activist regulators are pushing for stricter controls on food and alcohol marketing as well as marketing to children. 2017 will witness a battle between those with a predominantly liberalising versus consumer protectionist ambition for the Directive. Agnieszka can tell you more at a.katner@wfanet.org

#4 Food fight: No one has been under greater pressure in recent years than Big Food. Chile has adopted food marketing restrictions so severe that food manufacturers have had to pull out of the market. Others are even being sued by the Chilean government for using on-pack characters of appeal to children. France, Peru, UK, Ireland, Norway, Taiwan, South Korea and others have followed suit. Expect more of the same in 2017 with Canadian and Israeli regulators mulling restrictions. Will can explain at w.gilroy@wfanet.org

#5 No kidding! The food marketing debate and the relentless uptake by kids of new technologies have led to increased regulatory scrutiny around marketing to children. The way brands connect with children online, particularly on their mobile phones, is sparking a backlash led by WHO amongst others. France just adopted a ban on advertising around children’s programmes. The AVMSD (see above) harbours the potential for further controls. As parents become increasingly anxious about their kids’ online habits, regulators globally will look for statutory solutions. Please contact Will for more at w.gilroy@wfanet.org

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