Carlos Boone
Director General of Autorización
Terceros en Publicidad

Authorized Third Party Sees Opportunity in Information Rules

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 10:09

As markets grow and consumers have more choices of products and services, advertising plays an increasingly important role in the commercial success of companies and brands. COFEPRIS believes that regulations are needed to oversee all information related to products that could have an impact on health. However, not many are aware of the importance of this regulation, providing an opportunity for authorized third parties like Autorización de Terceros en Publicidad (ATP).

“There is a lack of knowledge about health regulation in advertising,” says Carlos Boone, Director General of ATP, one of the six authorized third parties in advertising certified by the sanitary agency. “Authorized third parties assume the weight of COFEPRIS since everyday a large amount of publicity is created and it is difficult for the institution to review it in a timely fashion.”

Boone describes the process of certifying authorized third parties as complex. First, COFEPRIS verifies that there are no conflicts of interest and that there is no link with another third party. The agency also does a profile check of all certified professional adjudicators. “The certification of our staff is specific to us, so they cannot migrate to other certified company,” Boone adds. To have a comprehensive base of experts capable of managing different types of products and customers, ATP needed chemistry professionals, doctors and market specialists, among other positions. “There are sectors that invest more in advertising, such as alcoholic beverages and laboratories. However, the area of opportunity is in sectors that do not know much about regulation in advertising. Our responsibility is to provide access to this information,” says Boone. He adds that knowledge gaps exist mainly in companies that belong to segments such as pesticides, small cosmetic clinics and food supplements. Manufacturers do not know what they need and what are the steps and requirements that must be met, he says.

Another challenge in terms of advertising, especially in the case of international companies, is to adapt the campaign to each country, since, according to Boone, “Mexican regulation is one of the strictest in the world.” One of the main projects led by authorized third parties is to help companies in transition to shape their global campaigns and to understand local regulations.

Another area that requires a greater scope of advice is digital advertising. “Many companies that carry out digital advertising are not complying with the law, which can be very dangerous for consumers,” says Boone, adding that another obstacle driven by digital advertising is unfair competition. Despite operating with a complex regulation, Boone believes such conditions are necessary. “I do not think Mexico is over-regulated. I think the regulation is right for our country because monitoring advertising is very difficult and a more flexible regulation would not serve the public.”

When operating within a regulation of this type for advertising, interpretation becomes an issue. Authorized third parties are in permanent contact with COFEPRIS. Also, to ease the adaptation to the regulatory framework, ATP works with its clients’ advertising and communications departments and trains their marketing staff. Boone also believes that Mexico needs to make more advertising space available, creating another area of opportunity. “ATP can help create more business opportunities since we are at the forefront of compliance with the regulatory framework. When we approach clients that are unaware of the regulation, we are promoting opportunities for other types of services, such as advertising agencies or marketing agencies.” For ATP, marketing agencies could be a strategic ally to offer clients an integral service.

Currently, ATP focuses on providing services to companies working in the sectors related to alcoholic beverages, pharma and food supplements, although in the short term the company is interested in migrating to the pesticide segment. “There are many industries and companies willing to follow the regulatory framework, but they lack the necessary knowledge. Our mission is to create awareness. To achieve this, we need the support of other industries and their authorities.”