At ease, private

After years of negotiation over the General Data Protection Regulation, the European Commission thought it now time to check in on the e-Privacy Directive – the rules that brought you those ever-popular cookie notifications. A leak of that document back in December suggested trouble ahead for the internet’s favourite funding model…

So AA eyes were peeled for the official proposal, when it was published by the Commission on Wednesday. While an improvement on the leak, it still carries some real threats to advertising – and will matter to any British business planning to trade across borders from 2018. On the wish-list are six-month consent reminders, and internet browsers that offer users ‘privacy setting options’ – opening the door to serious cookie fatigue and limits to useful, relevant ads online.

It’s all a prelude to a bunch of back-and-forthing over the new rules – and Kate’s the one to talk to if you want to keep up. In the meantime, Public Affairs Director Sue Eustace will be offering up advertising’s approach to data after Brexit at a roundtable next week with Culture Secretary Karen Bradley and the new Information Commissioner.

Roll up, roll up

All political eyes on the PM next Tuesday, as she makes her next public proclamation on Brexit. Judging by Campaign’s ‘Year Ahead’ issue, there’ll be plenty in adland checking the live blogs too, as industry wrestles with the ramifications. Six months on from The Big Decision, adland’s still not sure whether it’s more risk or more opportunity, according to the industry survey that Credos undertook last year.

One in five across advertising believe Brexit offers opportunities for international growth, for example – due to things like a lower exchange rate, better trading outside of the EU and fewer EU regulations. But the same number of companies surveyed have already lost business or contracts as a result of the vote to Leave.

So it’s all set up nicely for a big Brexit bonanza at LEAD on January 26th, with Culture Secretary Karen Bradley delivering her first address of the year to advertising, before Evan Davis hosts Isabel Oakeshott, Deborah Mattinson, Marco Tinelli and KPMG’s Karen Briggs for a Question Time session. The rest of the agenda is here, and you can guarantee your seat here.

AA for the AA

A special edition of the academic journal Addiction was published this week, all about alcohol marketing and funded by Alcohol Research UK, and the Institute of Alcohol Studies – the artists formerly known as the UK Temperance Alliance. So three guesses as to what they found, and what they want…

Congratulations if you guessed “alcohol marketing causes harm to vulnerable populations” or “self-regulation is ineffective”, and top marks if you anticipated the UK Health Forum’s follow up call for “a comprehensive ban on alcohol advertising, promotion and sponsorship”. And it needs to be statutory, not self-regulatory, of course.

All very abstemious. But as the ASA pointed out, these global studies fail to provide “a useful commentary or reflect accurately” a rule book in the UK that’s “amongst the toughest in the world”. What’s more, as the Portman Group reminds us, underage drinking is at a record low and the UK has seen significant declines in harmful drinking.

Following hot on the heels of the fatally flawed PHE evidence review published in December, there’s work to do to get the alcohol advertising debate back on the rails ahead of policy discussions like a new Alcohol Framework for Scotland. Raise a glass to Scottish Lauren as she gears up for that one.

For our ad of the week and more advertising news, click here.