First principles of ad ethics launched in China


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WFA is actively supporting an ongoing effort to establish advertising self-regulation in China, reflecting international good practice. The principles launched on 11 April represent a first step towards creating a Chinese cross-industry self-regulatory code that is supported by the leading Chinese ad industry associations. Work is now underway, in close collaboration with WFA and other partners, to transform these principles into a fully-fledged self-regulatory code, and to set up an effective enforcement system. WFA will continue to keep its members and partners informed as this effort progresses.

WFA and the China Association of National Advertisers (CANA) held a press conference on 11 April in Beijing announcing the very first cross-industry principles on advertising ethics. The principles have been drafted in close collaboration with the China Association of National Advertisers (CANA), the China Advertising Association and the China Advertising Association of Commerce.

The press conference kicked off the WFA Global Advertiser Week held in Beijing for the first time in its 58-year history. More than 150 participants from over 30 countries attended the week's meetings. The showcase event, the Global Advertiser Conference held on Wednesday April 13th, attracted more than 500 local delegates.

The launch of the China self-regulation principles, which took place at a signing ceremony during the Global Advertiser Conference, demonstrates the industry's commitment to high ethical standards in advertising at a critical time. Reflecting established global best practices, the principles complement and reinforce applicable laws by placing a greater responsibility on industry to police itself.

The importance of this milestone announcement in China should not be underestimated. In the context of advancing responsible business practices in China, the various Chinese associations and the Chinese government deserve congratulations for their willingness to embrace the concept of advertising self-regulation which paves the way for further discussions in other areas of responsible business practices. In addition, this move should encourage the advertising industry in other countries, such as Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam%u2026. to adopt similar codes in the near future.

The principles were jointly developed by the three leading Chinese ad industry associations in close consultation with the WFA. The principles demands that all brand communications be legal, decent, honest and truthful, that brands apply established principles of fair competition and recognize the special care required in marketing to children and young people. It also includes rules applying to advertising for medicines, health products, food and cosmetics.

For the first time in China, the principles set basic rules for the marketing of alcoholic beverages. Notably, it establishes that alcohol marketing communications should not undermine the promotion of responsible drinking, and should not be aimed at or portray minors or pregnant women. The adoption of these rules has been championed by leading global alcohol beverage producers as part of their commitment to responsible marketing communications under the Global Actions on Harmful Drinking.

Said Stephan Loerke, WFA Managing Director; “I congratulate the Chinese marketing industry on this important step. In a successful consumer-led economy, trust in brand communications is critical. This code is a significant first step towards establishing effective advertising standards in China.”

CANA Executive Director, Duan Ruichan said; “Brands are built on trust and this is a good first step in the right direction towards helping to building greater consumer trust. We look forward to working collaboratively with the broader Chinese marketing industry in establishing the processes which will implement and enforce these new standards.”

For more information about the self-regulatory principles please contact Malte Lohan:

For a copy of the principles, please click here.

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