• 30 November 2017

    On Tuesday (28.11), ISBA Director General Phil Smith appeared at a House of Lords Select Committee hearing on communications to discuss the advertising industry.

    Joined by Katharine Newby Grant, Associate Director, Media – Northern Europe at P&G, the meeting was an opportunity to highlight the advertiser’s perspective on the challenges on a range of issues including digital advertising and the impact of Brexit.

    Key Outcomes

    • Influence:
      Having an influence on issues such as data regulations post Brexit was highlighted as a key concern, with Smith urging that the ICO continue to have a seat on the data management board after we leave the EU.
    • Attracting Talent:
      Highlighting the importance of London’s position as a creative/tech hub, both speakers outlined the need to maintain access to the creative talent to ensure the industry remains strong and visible.
    • Challenges in Digital Marketing:
      A number of concerns regarding diminishing trust and a general lack of consumer support for digital advertising were raised throughout the inquiry. The key attraction for digital advertisers is reach; as consumers spend more time online, advertisers naturally follow. While advertising can fund excellent content, the lack of proper regulation and standards in the online world results in content that is often inappropriate and it is up to the advertiser to decide whether a channel is right for them or not.

    Phil also outlined two key areas of ISBA activity:

    • Our push for a much more proactive approach to vetting content before it is deemed suitable for brand advertising and for tighter monitoring and tougher action on inappropriate user comments. 
    • Standards: as a founding member of JICWEBS, we will continue to work towards an industry standard and third-party verification as standard.

    The full session is available to watch on Parliament's website.

  • 24 November 2017

    Today (Friday, 24.11.2017), The Times has published yet another article relating to videos on YouTube promoting inappropriate, extremist or offensive behaviour.

    Following the take down of the Toy Freaks and Family Freaks channels earlier this week, the article published this morning makes reference to a number of YouTube videos of young children which have attracted comments from 'hundreds of paedophiles'.

    The videos, many of which were uploaded by the children themselves, featured advertising from a number of advertisers, including ISBA members. Many ISBA advertisers have now withdrawn from the channel. By their own admission, YouTube's control and monitoring procedures are inadequate.

    We met with Google on Wednesday so they could respond to the concerns we and our members have. They have agreed to meet with a group of our members as early as next week to address the concerns. ISBA is pushing for much more proactive and positive vetting of content before it is deemed suitable for brand advertising and for tighter monitoring and tougher action on inappropriate user comments.

    Details of the meeting with Google are being confirmed.

    In the meantime, Google have assured us they are working on a number of initiatives to improve content control. Just yesterday, YouTube launched a series of new measures to help protect families and children on the platform. These include: 

    • Tougher application of our Community Guidelines and faster enforcement through technology
    • Removing ads from inappropriate videos targeting families
    • Blocking inappropriate comments on videos featuring minors
    • Providing guidance for creators who make family-friendly content
    • Engaging and learning from experts

    An in-depth overview of the new policies can be found here.

    In addition, we have reissued our Online Brand Safety Guidance.

    If you have any further concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • 23 November 2017

    CAP has today announced significant changes to how broadband speed claims can be advertised.

    The changes, which relate to numerical speed claims in broadband ads, now state that any claims 'should be based on the download speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time'.

    The changes follow a full public consultation and will come into effect from 23 May 2018, replacing current rules allowing advertisements with “up to” speed claims available to at least 10% of customers.

    CAP has issued guidance on the key changes to the regulation, which also covers non-numerical speed claims, comparisons and upload speed claims.

    The guidance is available to download here.

    The changes are also supported by research from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that found 'consumers are likely to be misled by speed claims' under the current rules.

    Respondents to the consultation unanimously supported change, with most arguing for median speeds measured at peak time, to be described as “average” or similar in ads, as the recommended basis for speed claims. Most respondents also favoured a single figure over a range and a peak-time measure over a 24-hour measure.

    CAP considers that median peak-time download speed is the most meaningful speed measure to customers because:

    • Consumers may interpret a range as the speed they are likely to get individually, as opposed to the range that consumers generally are likely to get, and a range does not tell consumers where in the range they fall, if at all. A median speed, described as “average”, is easily understood and allows for consumers to make comparisons between different ads that they see. 
    • As peak time is when traffic volumes are highest and traffic management policies are most likely to apply, a peak-time measure provides a better indication of the actual speeds consumers are likely to experience. CAP considers that a 24-hour measurement has the potential to mislead consumers by not providing an indication of the speed they are likely to receive at the time when people use the internet the most. 

    The full statement from ASA is available here.

  • 20 November 2017
    This weekend The Times published the latest in a series of articles relating to videos on YouTube promoting inappropriate, offensive or extremist content.
    Focusing on the YouTube channel Toy Freaks, which has now been taken down, the piece highlighted how inadequate control and monitoring procedures allowed Google to receive advertising revenue from videos which exploit young children. The article lists a number of brands (including an ISBA member) who had their advertising appear next to some of this content.
    Online brand safety is a serious issue for marketers and one in which ISBA plays a key role. We are very concerned that YouTube’s policies and controls did not prevent this happening.
    Advertisers were told earlier this year that the threshold above which You Tube content could be monetised was being raised. Google tells us that the channel was taken down as a result of a recent tightening of its policies to take a tougher stance on family friendly content that contains adult, sexual and/or obscene themes. The fact that this channel has been so popular for a number of years and has only now been deemed to be in breach of standards is disturbing.
    We have been working with Google over the last year to ensure our member’s advertising is not associated with unsafe content and will continue to push for stricter controls and greater clarity on what content is open to monetisation. We believe advertisers are entitled to understand where Google has identified potential exposure and what future steps are planned to protect advertisers from content unsuitable for family viewing.
    We have been speaking to affected advertisers today and offered guidance on how they can improve their brand safety online.


    Steps you can take to avoid harming your brand online:

    Ensure you and your agency have adopted industry best practice

    • All advertising which appears around user-generated content (UGC) carries risk. In order to mitigate this risk, we advocate that marketers reinforce their brand guidelines with their agency and partners and agree what content is appropriate for their brand. We recommend the use of brand safety /content verification tools that allow advertisers to control the sites on which their advertising appears.                 
    • ABC has certified three of these companies (comScore, Double Verify & IAS) against JICWEBS cross-industry agreed principles.         
    • Advertisers should ensure they update their keyword list regularly based on changes in current affairs, such as international disasters.
    • ISBA is a founder member of the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) and the Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) which certifies companies for their online brand safety processes. 61 companies are currently registered and either certified or currently undergoing certification.  
    • We are actively working with our trade body counterparts (IPA, IAB and AOP) within JICWEBS to further evolve the Brand Safety programme to ensure that the guidelines keep pace with industry developments and improve the safety of online advertising.
    • The ISBA Brand Safety Guide which gives advice and guidance on steps advertisers can take to mitigate the problem of online brand safety has been updated. A copy of the latest Guide can be found here

    Review your contracts

    • ISBA’s Media Services Framework was launched in 2016 and provides members with a contractual foundation to ensure that best practice industry standards are applied in buying online media.
    • Additionally, the Framework enables advertisers to ensure that their agency is taking measures to adopt industry best practice, thereby limiting the risk of ad misplacement on ‘blacklisted’ sites, as determined by the advertiser or as listed on the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) ‘Infringing Website List (IWL). 
    • Find out more about the Framework here.

    Engage with ISBA

    • ISBA provides a number of resources for members to ensure they get the most from their agency relationships. 
    • Our consultancy team provide confidential one-to-one advisory services, including guidance on how to implement the Framework Media Services Contract. In addition, we produce member-only guidance, outlining the best practice and resources in a number of areas including online brand safety. 
    • Our Digital Action Group addresses all these issues and aims to improve the digital media supply chain for our members. Contact David Ellison ( davide@isba.org.uk ) for more detail. 
    • For information on any of the resources above, please contact Jane Salliss.

    These are just some of the actions you can take, however for further information and support, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • 16 November 2017

    Following the announcement of our new President last month, ISBA is delighted to announce the appointment of two new Vice Presidents, Sarah Mansfield and Kerris Bright.

    Sarah Mansfield is the Vice President Media, Europe and Latam and Global Operations at Unilever and has considerable experience working with ISBA as an active member of our Council. 

    She is joined by Kerris Bright, Virgin Media's Chief Marketing Officer. Both Sarah and Kerris will take up their posts with immediate effect.

    They join Elizabeth Fagan, Senior Vice President of Wallgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Managing Director of Boots UK, who was announced as the new ISBA President in October.

    ISBA's Director General, Phil Smith said “I’m delighted that Elizabeth has agreed to serve as ISBA’s next President. The additional appointments of Sarah and Kerris make the leadership of the Council incredibly strong at a critical time for ISBA."


    Press Contact:
    Abi Slater Director of Communications

    T: 020 7291 9020 M: 07917 048835

    ISBA 12 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8LH


    Follow us on Twitter: @isbasays

    About ISBA
    ISBA represents the leading UK advertisers. We champion the needs of marketers through advocacy. We influence necessary change, speaking with one voice to all stakeholders including agencies, regulators, platform owners and government. Our members include the UK’s biggest brands.

    ISBA is the voice of the advertiser in the UK Advertising Association tripartite. They are the advertisers’ representative on CAP and BCAP the UK advertising code body. ISBA represents UK advertisers in the WFA and ISBA's Director General, Phil Smith sits on the Executive Committee and the National Associations Council.

  • 03 November 2017

    As an organisation, ISBA has changed significantly over the past 10 months.

    The launch of our new manifesto in March brought with it a new outlook, new ideas and new ways of working with both our members and the industry as a whole.

    To reflect both these changes and ISBA's unique position within the industry, we have developed a new creative identity and we are delighted to share it with you!


    Our new logo has been designed to reflect ISBA's updated manifesto and position in the industry; modern, professional and influential.


    'One Voice' provides a powerful summary of ISBA's unique position within the industry. It is through this united voice we are able to represent the collective interests of advertisers and bring about real change.


    We have also created a brand new website, acting as a one-stop-shop for all of our members' needs. The new website will feature an interactive member portal, where you can keep track of action group meetings, events and customise your preferences, while providing insights on the latest industry developments in an easily accessible and engaging format. The new website will be launched later this year.  


    The new branding will be rolled out in full, across all platforms over the course of the month.

    In the meantime, more information on the new branding and how to download the new logo can be found here.

    We hope you like our new look and we would like to thank Heavenly for their work and continued support on the new branding.

    For more information on any of the above, please contact Jackie Marlow.

  • 31 October 2017

    Today saw the launch of a new Government Consultation on Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.

    While most of the media attention has been on proposals around FOBTs, the Consultation includes measures to ensure stronger protections around online gambling and a new industry-led responsible gambling advertising campaign.

    One of the key aims of the Consultation is to minimise the risks that online gambling and related advertising has to the most vulnerable in our society. While research outlined in the Consultation suggests that the impact of advertising on 'problem gambling' is 'relatively small', the Government has indicated that more should be done by operators and those who benefit from gambling.

    As such, there are a number of measures and initiatives proposed in the document that advertisers should be aware of.

    Codes, Social Responsibility and Unfair Terms:

    • The Gambling Commission will consult on making compliance with existing advertising codes a social responsibility code requirement of its LCCP, meaning that breaches could be subject to the full range of the Commission’s regulatory powers
    • The Commission is also supporting a CMA investigation into unfair terms and misleading practices around sign-up/free bet promotions
    • The Commission is also looking to encourage social media companies to develop user-friendly guides on limiting exposure to gambling advertising via platform settings and preferences
    • Tougher and financial sanctions for breaches of the CAP and BCAP content codes have been suggested by campaign groups arguing that stopping adverts was insufficient

    Online advertising, targeting and social media

    • GAMSTOP is due to be in place by the end of the year, allowing consumers to self-exclude from all online gambling (including marketing databases) operators in a single step
    • The IGRG has strengthened the Industry Code, requiring operators to age-gate gambling content and gambling channels on social media

    Responsible Gambling Advertising Campaign

    • A new campaign to raise awareness of the risks associated with gambling, plus the support measures available has been proposed by GambleAware, broadcasters and industry groups.
    • The Government is encouraging others who benefit from gambling advertising to contribute

    Impact on children and young people

    • New research has been commissioned to explore what influence/impact advertising has on children and young people and their attitudes towards gambling
    • The research is will help inform the development of guidance and protections going forward

    The full consultation is available to view here. It is open for 12 weeks, closing on 23 January 2018.

    ISBA represents the UK’s leading advertisers, including a number of well-known gambling organisations. We provide advice and guidance on responsible advertising to all our members, including gambling advertisers. We support the current strict controls around advertising for gambling and look forward to consulting with our members on the new guidance from CAP/BCAP addressing risks of problem gambling risks, as and when it becomes available.

    Next Steps

    We expect CAP/BCAP to bring new draft guidance to protect those at risk from problem gambling to its next meeting in November. ISBA will be represented at the meeting.

    If you have any questions please contact Tanya Joseph.

  • 26 October 2017

    Further to the Scottish Government’s announcement on September 5 regarding its Programme for Government 2017-18, Aileen Campbell, the Public Health Minister for Scotland has opened a Consultation on diet and obesity.

    In her statement she outlines a number of measures designed to change Scotland's 'food culture', which include placing restrictions on advertising products high in fat, salt and sugar.

    The key proposals ate to:

    • “strongly press” the UK Government to ban TV advertising for unhealthy foods before the 9pm watershed. If no action is taken, they will demand that the necessary powers are devolved
    • examine imposing new restrictions on advertising unhealthy food at locations “used by a high proportion of children”, such as visitor attractions and routes to schools.

    The full consultation is available to view here and will remain open until the 31 January 2018.

    ISBA and our food and drink industry members recognise the impact of obesity on our society and our part to play in tackling it. The advertising of food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt in the UK is already tightly regulated. Earlier this year the Committee of Advertising Practice  introduced new rules which extended the prohibition on advertising of HFSS food and drink to all media targeted at children. We are supportive of these moves and believe they are proportionate.

    We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the consultation and will work with our members to ensure their views are properly represented.

    If you have any questions please contact Tanya Joseph.

  • 23 October 2017

    On 19 October, the lead European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) adopted its report on ePrivacy and moved directly to inter-institutional negotiations with Member States and the Commission without having to pass through a Plenary vote.

    The proposed ePrivacy Regulation includes rules governing direct marketing and online tracking, including cookies which enable the collection of browsing data that can be used for targeting online advertising. The report was narrowly adopted by 31 votes in favour, 24 against and one abstention. The final text of the report was supported by the centre-left coalition (S&D, ALDE, Greens and GUE) while most centre-right parties (EPP and ECR) members opposed the adoption.

    • The report maintains the solution proposed initially by the Commission which would require users to consent to sharing their personal information by choosing privacy settings via browsers or other software
    • However, individual websites would be able to request consent on a case-by-case basis to override these privacy settings
    • The report specifies that the privacy settings must be easily accessible at all times, must offer granular settings options and shall present the information in a manner that gives the user the possibility for making an informed decision
    • The report also clarifies that companies can use third parties and agencies to carry out web audience measuring without asking for consent

    Nevertheless, some proposals were adopted in the final text that risk affecting the advertising-based model of many online services:

    • A new provision prevents websites from denying users access if they refuse to share their information, “regardless of whether this service is remunerated or not”. Consent cannot be a mandatory requirement to access the service
    • Privacy settings embedded in browsers would be set by default to the most privacy friendly option


    MEPs have until Tuesday (24.10) to gather the required support (76 MEPs) to challenge LIBE and push for a vote in Plenary later in the week. The vote will decide whether or not the file will be re-opened so that MEPs can table additional amendments in the November Plenary session (13-16 November).

    ISBA is working with WFA to review next steps and will report back to members after a meeting of an ePrivacy task force meeting on Thursday 26 October.

    For more information on the ePrivacy Regulation, please contact Tanya Joseph.

  • 20 October 2017

    As part of their ongoing commitment to raise standards in the digital industry, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) this week launched their ‘Gold Standard’ initiative.

    Global organisations including Facebook, Twitter and Google are among the 23 board members who signed an open letter committing to the initiative, which was officially launched at the IAB Conference and aims to:

    1. Reduce ad fraud through the implementation of the ads.txt initiative on all sites selling digital advertising. This new initiative from IAB TechLab shows who is authorised to sell a specific site’s inventory and prevents the selling of spoofed or fake inventory - https://iabtechlab.com/ads-txt/
    2. Improve the digital advertising experience by adhering to the LEAN principles and the standards set by the Coalition for Better Advertising https://www.betterads.org/ and never using the 12 bad ads that offer people a poor digital advertising experience in desktop web or mobile web environments https://www.betterads.org/standards
    3. Increase brand safety by working with JICWEBS to ensure that the Display Trading Standards Group (DTSG) Brand Safety Principles are valuable, applicable and continue to evolve with market expectations.  

    Deadlines for implementing the three initiatives will be confirmed by the IAB over the coming weeks.

    ISBA is fully committed to raising standards in the industry and fully supports the IAB Gold Standard. In addition, we would encourage our members to work with agencies who have committed to or have achieved Gold Standard certification.

    Phil Smith, ISBAs Director General, said: ‘Raising standards in digital advertising is the top priority for ISBA and we welcome the work the IAB has been doing to create a Gold Standard. We encourage all parties of the digital advertising industry to get behind these very important initiatives as soon as possible. We are looking forward to working with the IAB in supporting this program.’

    Further information can be found here.