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Big Brands; Advertisers Form U7 to Address Digital Advertising’s Future

As various industries strengthen their efforts and raise self-regulatory standards, more follow suit. Unruly, the video marketplace that provide analytics to advertisers for audience engagement, has formed the U7—a council composed of brands, agencies and leading global advertisers to address concerns and improve the landscape of digital marketing.

The U7 is comprised of 10 of the world’s largest advertisers including American Express, Diageo, GSK, L’Oreal, Mars, Nestlé, Unilever, Samsung, and The Wall Street Journal. They will also be joined by leaders from Carat, Havas, and Wavemaker.

There is a general consensus that addressing brand safety, transparency and accountability among advertisers (e.g., data traffic, user engagement, and consumer data) is of importance, and U7 aims to create an avenue for dialogue between advertisers and marketers to gain an understanding of emerging digital technologies.

The council’s first meeting, titled “Hearts & Minds”, will establish a roadmap…
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CCAI Releases Annual Compliance Report; Welcomes Additional Members to Initiative

The Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI) recently released its Annual Report, demonstrating excellent compliance and a positive outlook as more companies uphold their commitment to avoid advertising food and beverage products to children under 12. The nine confection companies that participate in CCAI join the five larger confection companies that are already members of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) that do not advertise to children. Like CARU, both of these self-regulatory programs are administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB).

Compliance of the CCAI participants was assessed by CFBAI's independent monitoring of child-directed media (including programming on television, print, radio, and digital media like apps and YouTube channels). Newer members of the initiative are bound to receive an assessment in CCAI’s 2018 report, to be released next year.

The CCAI was established by CBBB in partnership with the Nationa…

Under Looming Threat of Data Breach, Ad Giants Open to Privacy Regulation

At the recently held Advertising Week in New York City, four advertising institutions, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), and Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) introduced a "Data Transparency Label" that would allow disclosure of audience data and segmentation.
In light of recent data breaches during the past couple of months—the biggest one concerning Facebook’s data breach that affected fifty million of its users—advertising giants have now slightly opened their doors to privacy regulation. For years, the advertising industry has only followed self-regulatory guidelines, but with current circumstances and the threats to privacy and data, it seems open to supporting a national regulation framework. 
For ad giants like Apple, At&T, and Google, supporting a federal privacy regulation is a better move than allowing itself to be bound by a number of state privacy laws.

CFBAI, Member Companies Strengthen Uniform Nutrition Criteria; Includes Added Sugars Criteria

The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) took efforts to strengthen its self-regulatory program, specifically updating its uniform nutrition program and a call for lower added sugars and sodium content, in addressing food marketing aimed towards children. Companies that participate in CFBAI’s self-regulatory program use the Uniform Nutrition Criteria to help determine which kinds of food can be advertised to children aged 12 and below.
According to the CFBAI, all 18 member companies have agreed to strengthen the Criteria, which includes stricter standards and requirements like stricter sodium standards, better whole grain food requirements, and an added sugars criteria.
The revised Criteria are in alignment with the nutritional policy recommendations and regulatory requirements of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the FDA’s newer nutritional label guidelines. In line with such change, the CFBAI has released a White Paper to further explain the policy c…

Children’s Privacy on the Line as NM Attorney General Sues App Creator for COPPA Violation

Last week, New Mexico’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the creators and online advertisers of Fun Kid Racing, an app where children race virtual cars using animal cartoon characters. The app, created by Tiny Lab Productions, has been downloaded by millions of users, a huge majority of whom are children.

New Mexico’s attorney general, Hector Balderas, filed suit against app maker, Tiny Lab Productions, including Google, Twitter, and three more online ad companies of a COPPA violation, by allowing hackers, predators, or online marketers access to personal data of more than 13 million children, and by misleading consumers by including the application in the family section of the app store. A New York Times article also reveals that a number of companies now track consumers via phones to build “behavioral profiles” to create tailored ads, like AdMob and MoPub. Researchers have observed that app developers are able to find a loophole to track users, by indicating that children are …

Kids, Back to School Marketing and the FTC's Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

A new school year is on the horizon and retailers expect back-to-school spending per household between $510 (Deloitte) and $685 (National Retail Federation). Billions of dollars are at stake, and children influence 70% of their parents’ back-to-school purchasing choices (Deloitte). Accordingly, retailers are running a massive campaign to have their sale offers be spoken by children to their parents.

This campaign is being enacted less through television, bound as it is by the ties of FCC regulation, and more through social media. In this new platform, advertisers are no longer bound by regimented thirty-second clips. Now they can seamlessly integrate their communications into the content provided by social media influencers, a new class of celebrity adored by children and whom parents will likely never see in television or film.

The pervasive availability of marketing through devices opens a new world of wellness, monetary, and security concerns.

In a blog post yesterday, the Federal…

i-Dressup Shuts Down in Wake of Privacy Breach and COPPA Violation

I-Dressup, a fashion-themed social website for teens, has completely shut down as part of a settlement with the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs, following a massive privacy breach and violations of the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and New Jersey state law. In September 2016, a hacker sent 2.2 million i-Dressup account credentials to technology blog Arstechnica as well as to, a searchable online database of data breaches.

Responding to the news, New Jersey investigators discovered that 2,519 of the compromised accounts belonged to New Jersey children below age 13. I-Dressup, allegedly aware that it had child users, had violated COPPA by failing to obtain verifiable parental consent prior to collecting and processing personal information from the children, including first and last names and email addresses. In a consent decree with the New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Gerwal, parent company Unixiz has closed i-Dressup, agre…