At the National Advertising Division's annual conference in early October, the NAD will be sponsoring a groundbreaking panel that looks at the question of whether advertising self-regulation in the United States should play a role in promoting diversity and inclusion, and eliminating bias, in advertising.  

The panel, "Diversity, Inclusion & the Elimination of Bias in Advertising Law," will look at questions such as, "Can we develop voluntary diversity and inclusion standards with self-regulatory review?" and "How do we hold our client or company accountable when they fail to consider diversity and bias issues in their advertising?"  

As we blogged about earlier this month, the International Counsel for Advertising Self-Regulation recently released a study showing that most advertising self-regulatory codes around world -- other than in the United States -- include the principle of non-discrimination.  The NAD's jurisdiction, however, is currently limited to addressing questions related to the "truth or accuracy of national advertising."  

In recent months, we have seen the NAD take a hard look at decades-old rules and then make dramatic changes to its procedures -- such as by establishing its Complex Track Process and its SWIFT Process.  Now, with the renewed focus on racial justice issues in the United States, the NAD is examining whether its role should encompass more than just truth-in-advertising.  

Will advertisers welcome this change?  Is the NAD the right forum to address concerns about diversity, inclusion, and bias in advertising?  Does NAD want to take these issues on?  This panel will no doubt be one of the most interesting and important discussions to take place at the NAD conference this year.  The panel will include speakers such as NAD Senior Attorney Kat Dunnigan, ICAS Vice President Karla Avila, and ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing Board Member Shannon Watkins.  

Recently, I had great conversation with Kat Dunnigan about these issues.  She emphasized to me that NAD welcomes input from the community as well.  If you want to share your thoughts about advertising self-regulation’s possible role in eliminating discrimination and stereotyping in advertising, you should feel free to reach out to Kat directly at  

We'll look forward to hearing what comes out of this timely, and very important, panel.