Political Ad

The efforts of the Digital Advertising Alliance to increase transparency and accountability of digital political ads took a step forward. 

The organization today released guidelines that outline the creative specifications necessary for U.S. federal and state political advertisers to create and display the “Political Ad” icon, which would give readers a way to access information about the sources and funding of political ads.

Last month, Maryland became the first state to authorize this type of approach for political advertising disclosure in digital and mobile ads when the state’s board of elections voted to allow covered political entities to use a Political Ad-type icon.

The DAA’s guidelines say the Political Ad icon and/or wording should provide “clear, meaningful, and prominent notice” for ads that advocate the election or defeat of a candidate for federal office as well as in certain state-wide elections.

The icon should link to disclosures that include such things as the name of the political advertiser, along with reliable contact information; a link to a government database of contributions and expenditures for the advertiser, if applicable; and the names of the advertiser’s CEO, executive committee, board of directors or treasurer.

“We look forward to working with political advertisers to help them quickly understand and implement this important disclosure notice,” said DAA Executive Director Lou Mastria, “so it can help educate and inform voters about the source and funding for the express advocacy ads they see online and on their digital devices.”

Compliance with the DAA’s political advertising guidance will be independently enforced by the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Data & Marketing Association, a division of the Association of National Advertisers.

To see the guidelines, go to AboutPoliticalAds.org, which also includes an interactive map offering voters access to each U.S. state or territory’s election campaign database or election authority website.