The first Asia Pacific Summit of World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) was recently held in Hong Kong. What was interesting to note was that issues, which other Asian Advertisers Federations faced, were very similar to those faced by advertisers in India – self regulation versus government regulation, appropriate and accurate media measurement, and media monopolies (leading to high media prices).
This first meeting of its kind reflected the prolific increase in advertising expenditure across Asia-Pacific and the region’s ever-increasing importance to the global advertising market.
The objective of the meeting – in which advertiser representatives were invited from Australia, China, Hong Kong (SAR), India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and South Korea, to join delegates from the WFA secretariat in Brussels – was to identify common priorities and potential areas of action for advertisers, both local and international, operating in the region. The participants agreed to re-convene on a regular basis in order to build on the cooperation and action developed during this first summit.
Three common concerns were highlighted by WFA and its partners in Asia-Pacific:
Firstly, increasing advertising restrictions and the role of advertising self-regulation. The advertiser community in Asia-Pacific is concerned at the increasing trend to introduce legislation to restrict advertising. Restricting a company’s ability to communicate with the consumer leads to stifled innovation and competition and reduced consumer choice.
In turn, this impacts economic growth, jobs, the press and media and is a burden, ultimately shouldered by the consumer. WFA and its partners in the region fully advocate and support a strong legal framework, which is complemented by responsible and effective advertising self-regulation.
Effective advertising self-regulation ensures a self-financing system, operating at no cost to the consumer with the flexibility to adapt rapidly to changing societal sensitivities.
Secondly, reliable audience measurement data – as a key incentive for investment, marketers require marketing accountability. Only through mechanisms that breed trust in the data, can the right conditions for market growth be fostered. WFA and its partners in the region called on the advertising and research industries to put transparent and effective systems of audience measurement in place, which serve as an incentive for greater commercial communications expenditure.
Thirdly, increasing media ownership concentration and the impact on media costs. Media ownership concentration can create significant barriers to real and free competition. A competitive marketplace in the media is a key ingredient for competitiveness and economic growth. Increased diversity ensures healthy competition, ultimately benefiting the consumer.