This is an international comparison of advertising self-regulation. After a short general treatment of the possibilities and limitations of self-regulation, the systems prevailing in 12 countries are described in detail. The author reviews the legal setting, self-regulation institutions, records of its effectiveness, if any, government regulation and government attitudes towards self-regulations, and, finally, what he calls `outside participation'--i.e., members of government or consumer institutions contributing to the work of self-regulation institutions.
Outside participation in advertising self-regulation is not necessarily a contradiction in terms. For example, the UK system administered by the Advertising Standards Authority is run by a Council whose independent members outnumber those with advertising connections. This, however, represents a narrow definition of outside participation in terms of this book. Professor Boddewyn regards the governmental threat or prodding which may be needed for the creation or improvement of effective self-regulation as a form of outside participation, for example. The book begins with an appraisal of advertising self-regulation: its key concepts, forms and evolution, advantages and disadvantages, limits, government policy towards it and effectiveness. It then examines outside participation in regulatory bodies in general terms, proposing a number of hypotheses. The bulk of the book is devoted to an examination of the advertising self-regulatory systems in 12 countries: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, West Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. . . . Although of particular interest to those concerned with advertising controls, the book has a broader relevance to regulation in general. The suggestions for development and flexible responses to changing economic and social environments are food for thought and the book is a useful resource for those concerned with almost any aspect of consumer protection.
Professor Boddewyn's book provides a rare insight into how advertising self-regulatory bodies really work--with or without outsiders. Many other studies have lauded self-regulation or dismissed it peremptorily, but this book focuses on its logic, limits and ultimate contributions to the societal control of advertising. It shows how outsiders--where available and willing to participate--contribute to its functioning while the advertising industry remains in control of the standards applied by self regulatory bodies. Practitioners, consumerists and policy-makers should greatly benefit from reading this multinational comparison of a dozen countries with very different economic and legal environments.