Public trust in the credibility of advertising can, and should, foster brand loyalty, but only if advertisers respect their consumers. In this white paper produced with the Advertising Business Group, a recently formed entity aimed at promoting ethical advertising in the region, we delve into this important subject.

Within the GCC, there is no leading advertising body focused on raising industry standards, although the UAE government is firmly committed to the issue of consumer protection. Whilst the effectiveness of self-regulation has been proven internationally over the course of many decades, it has not been embraced as yet in the region.

Not only does self-regulation increase public trust and combat negative public perception, it empowers consumers as concerns over false advertising, advertising to children, health, social media influencers and consumer privacy and data rise.

For brands, reputation is of the utmost importance. A survey released by the World Economic Forum and the public relations agency Fleishman-Hillard in 2010 found that three-fifths of chief executives believed brand and reputation represented more than 40 per cent of their company’s market capitalisation. In other words, reputation matters. Ethics matter. Irresponsible marketing damages consumer confidence and provides little or no sustained return on advertising investment, whereas the opposite is true, even if ‘bad’ advertising only accounts for a small percentage of the whole. The old adage that people forget the good and remember the bad remains firmly in place, whether advertisers like it or not.

Self-regulation is in the public interest. The advertising industry in the GCC is at a stage in its evolution where the onus is on ethics and social responsibility. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: with great power and influence comes great responsibility. Public trust in the credibility of advertising can, and should, foster brand loyalty, but only if advertisers respect their consumers. In this white paper produced in collaboration with the Advertising Business Group, an entity created November 2016 in the Middle East aimed at promoting ethical, responsible advertising in the region, we take a deep dive into this important subject.