Business Action for Responsible Marketing and Advertising (BARMA) is an ICC-led initiative to facilitate the spread of self-regulation and reinforce its effectiveness.

What is BARMA

Business Action for Responsible Marketing and Advertising (BARMA) is an ICC initiative to facilitate the spread of self-regulation1 and reinforce its effectiveness. Advertisers, agencies, media and other major stakeholders are brought together to promote greater application and reach of the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice (the ICC Code), which has served as the global gold standard for self-regulation in this field since 1937. The ICC Code sets the bar for ethical guidelines and responsible marketing practices globally, and is the reference for most nationally-applied self-regulation.

[Click here to learn more about the ICC Code]

Why BARMA was created

An ICC Marketing Commission report on self-regulation identified a need for greater awareness and application of the universal principles than the ICC Code. It also needed better coordination among the many different parties working to establish, or further self-regulation. Recognizing this need, BARMA was created to meet the following objectives:

  • Educate practitioners on the importance of compliance with the Code, and the role of effective self-regulation1 in building consumer confidence, maintaining corporate reputation, and preserving business’ license to market its products and services
  • Increase public and political awareness of effective self-regulation in marketing and its advantages
  • Serve as a catalyst for further development of self-regulation in key international markets

Why BARMA is important

Companies worldwide have expressed concern in the growing pressure for businesses to improve effectiveness of self-regulation, or risk licensing constraints and other regulatory restrictions. Certain sectors, such as the alcohol and pharmaceutical industry, have already experienced these challenges and restrictions. However, this pressure is becoming more widespread and now encompasses food and beverage, sustainability claims, digital media and more. BARMA works together with global business to bolster self-regulation and demonstrate its effectiveness and advantage over other options.

1The fundamental value of self-regulation lies in its ability to create, enhance and preserve consumer trust and confidence in the business communities behind it, and thereby in the marketplace itself. Effective self-regulation is also an instrument for the protection of individual companies’ goodwill and reputation.

In a rapidly-changing world, we welcome the ICC’s initiative to establish new global standards for digital communications. The revised Code offers hands-on guidance for marketing professionals worldwide how to approach customers with responsible advertising on- and offline
Chief Marketing Officer Axel Springer AG