DAAC introduces new political advertising program

The organization that introduced the little blue triangle icon to digital advertising has introduced a little purple icon to help validate election ads.

The new Political Ads Program created by the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada is a direct response to changes to election advertising rules introduced by the Federal Government last year, said DAAC executive director Julie Ford.

Those changes were intended to address concerns about bad actors using digital advertising to corrupt the election process. One of the over-arching goals of Bill C-76 was to ensure a much greater degree of transparency about ads having political intent and who was paying for them.

DAAC’s new platform will make it easier for political advertisers to meet those transparency requirements, provide clear and prominent notice that an ad is political in nature, and information about who paid for the ad said Ford. The DAAC is a not-for-profit organization of leading advertising and marketing associations.

Advertisers can register with DAAC, pay a fee and provide the information required by Elections Canada to have the icon added to their election advertising. Users will be provided with the required information when they hover over the icon, saving advertisers from having to embed it in the body of their ad.

The program is open to political parties and third-party advertisers registered with Elections Canada. Parties will pay $7,500 to participate (for 1 billion impressions) while third parties and independents will pay $750. Participating advertisers get a license from DAAC which will last for four years or until the next federal election is called.

One of the requirements of C-76 is that digital publishers create a registry of all “partisan advertising and election advertising” appearing on their platform during the election period. It also requires an electronic copy of every partisan ad or election advertising message published on the platform, as well as the name of the person who authorized its publication.

Those requirements have led to several big digital publishers like Google deciding to simply not run any election advertising. The DAAC program will not address those publisher concerns.

“It is not something we were going to try to solve,” said Ford. The registry requirements are very distinct in the act and “there is no wiggle room,” she added. “We decided to focus on other areas of the act around transparency.”

David Brown