AA chief calls for tighter digital rules

The Advertising Association’s new chief, Baroness Peta Buscombe, has called for tighter regulation on digital marketing in her first public appearance since taking on the role at the end of last year.

Speaking to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations last week, Buscombe, the AA’s chief executive and director-general, said: “We are embarking on an initiative, involving the whole industry, to future-proof the self-regulatory system for new media. We need to ensure that advertising self-regulation remains effective in the digital age because perceived gaps will undermine the credibility of the whole system and therefore consumer trust in advertising as a whole.”

Buscombe, who replaced Andrew Brown as director-general of the AA, is the first woman to run an advertising trade body. She was previously Conservative shadow minister for education in the House of Lords.

Buscombe also hit out at the rise of political correctness and the challenges it presents for the advertising industry in her speech last week.

“Political correctness can distort the message we are trying to convey as we are afraid to say what we mean, and this arguably creates more confusion, conflict and unrest than it resolves,” she said.

She also urged the industry not to use the “language of the activists” when debating “junk food” and “junk mail” and added: “The debate has been conditioned through emotive language and a degree of scare-mongering by the media. Therefore, presenting the argument is a challenge. The art is to build relationships with the Government and pressure groups without needlessly creating enemies.”

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