Self-regulation key to creating protected content material

PETALING JAYA: Advertising is the essence of how a consumer makes choices in life. It’s like a life guide helping a consumer make decisions about specific brands or products.

In this day and age when traditional advertising media have to share their place with social media advertising, digital marketing, and other virtual means, curating their content to ensure that their information is not misleading is a new challenge.

It becomes more of a challenge when social influencers, bloggers and vloggers come into play. Without knowing it, these virtual advertising channels have the power to promote subconscious marketing on their respective social media pages, where a consumer’s thoughts are effortlessly shaped and shaped.

To ensure that all forms of content are kept in check, self-regulation by industry players and all other content creators is vital to ensure that foul play does not occur.

This is where the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (CMCF) comes in with its Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code (Content Code), which is a self-regulatory framework for promoting best practices and standards among content producers.

With the existing self-regulation, industry actors and content creators can be held accountable to the public for the content created and ensure that it is suitable for mass consumption.

“Effective self-regulation is instrumental in protecting the reputation of brands and companies and can be seen as a social obligation for companies to build trust with their consumers by reassuring them that the content published is honest, legal and truthful,” said the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As) President Andrew Lee.

Lee, who is also the Managing Director of Havas Group Malaysia, added that content is constantly evolving over time, especially when it comes to digital marketing which spans different platforms such as social media, mobile, virtual and artificial intelligence marketing.

He said this change also resulted in the content code constantly evolving with the changes and improving based on current situations.

A new aspect to look into is social media influencers, as influencer marketing is on the rise. Influencer marketing is growing rapidly in Malaysia, where brands are using it to promote their products, he added.

They have been known to generate more revenue from a self-produced 30-second video than from a full-fledged studio commercial on television.

It’s a no-brainer why social influencer marketing is on the rise and influencers are mostly given a free hand to curate content based on the style and reach of their followers.

“It’s time for the new players in the block; Social media advertising, digital marketing, bloggers, virtual content creators and others to level the playing field with traditional advertisers who are usually held accountable and punished for their actions, especially when it comes to misleading content that exploits their consumers.

“The self-regulation of content plays a decisive role here. With the changes in the field of digital marketing, it ensures more transparency and disclosure when it comes to commercial versus editorial and user-generated content.

“It also provides a clearer application across all media and platforms to engage all participants in the marketing and advertising ecosystem, including influencers, bloggers and vloggers,” said Lee.

With the help of the content code as a framework and guideline, the players in the industry are asked to use it as a guide for self-regulation.

The content code, he said, not only promotes ethical and positive content standards, but also seeks to create a healthy, safe, and thriving communication and multimedia environment through self-regulation.

“The content code is essential as it ensures that advertising and marketing communications in the country are legal, decent, honest, and truthful.

“The content code also complies with the principles of fair competition, according to which advertisers must respect the intellectual property rights and the legitimate rights of brand owners and advertising agencies,” said Lee.

He went on to explain that the Content Code also ensures that advertisers respect certain sensitive aspects of content that affect religion, culture, youth and children, while also meeting industry standards.

However, he noted that there are still new content creators who claim they don’t know the content code and are lagging behind on self-regulation.

This is one of the main problems facing the advertising industry and one way to address this problem is to further increase awareness of the Code of Content and the importance of self-regulation.

As the saying goes, “Ignorance of the law is not an excuse,” Lee added.

To this day, the 4As has played a leading role in promoting self-regulation and is one of the founding members of the Content Forum.

The 4As hold monthly meetings and weekly correspondence with the Content Forum to discuss what can be improved or changed.

Representatives from advertisers, creative agencies, the media, broadcasters, Internet access providers, audiotext service providers and others would also attend these meetings.

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