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Philippine ad watchdog boss to adland: you may complain about us, but would you rather the government screened your ads?

Mila Marquez

Mila Marquez

The head of the Philippines’ ad watchdog said today that while the industry may be seen as “the enemy of creatives”, adland is better off with an independent self-regulatory body than the hand of government to quality-control the country’s advertising.

Mila Marquez, executive director of the Ad Standards Council of the Philippines, told Mumbrella today that the government wants to take over responsibility for vetting ad standards – potentially because it sees the practice as an new revenue stream – and adland is better off with the Ad Standards Council.

“We get a lot of complaints and negative reactions to the work that we do. But industry needs to regulate itself. We need to comply,” she said.

“The government wants to take over [the ASC’s remit]. We have been in discussions about this. But we say the industry can regulate itself. We have the experience and we’re in touch with the industry.”

“Imagine if a government official was to vet your ads,” she cautioned. “Some government bodies want to do our job because they see money in it.”

The ASC’s stakeholders include the Philippine Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers.

“The ASC has always been seen as the enemy of creatives. But they shouldn’t use the ASC’s actions as an excuse [for work that veers from the country’s advertising code]. Self-regulation and creativity should co-exist.”

“Agencies are trying to be more creative, but often they do not appreciate that their work can violates advertising standards; you have to be responsible in the way you craft your ads,” she said.

“My advantage is that I’ve worked in agencies before, so I’m familiar with the realities of the industry.”

Before taking the top job at the Ad Standards Council in 2012, Marquez had worked at Lowe Philippines as vice president. She was founding organiser of the Ad Council in 2009, and was president of the Philippine 4As the year before.

The ASC recently recruited seasoned creative veteran Roger Pe, formerly the ECD of DDB Philippines, as one of the first creatives to join the screening committee.

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