C&TH ethical marketing

1 Our commitment to integrity
Country & Town House is a trusted and respected media brand, committed to providing journalism of the highest quality and integrity. As such we have obligations to our readers, viewers and the wider public, but also to our advertisers, suppliers and partners.

Our brand and our values are our most vital assets. Their maintenance depends on our commitment to the core journalistic values of accuracy and fairness.

Our ability to provide high quality journalism depends on commercial success. In a fast-changing media world, we must innovate to achieve that success, while at all times ensuring we preserve editorial independence.

These guiding principles outline standards of good practice which are to be observed and maintained by all employees, contractors and freelancers who provide services to the Company.

They will form an ongoing part of training for all staff.

2 Observing industry Codes
C&TH staff must be familiar with and observe all relevant industry Codes.
The Editors’ Code of Practice administered by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) stipulates that the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.

The Advertising Code administered by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP Code) and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority, lays down rules for advertisers, agencies and media owners to follow. Under the Code advertising must be responsible, and not mislead, harm or offend its audience. Particular rules cover advertising to children and specific sectors such as alcohol, gambling, motoring, health and financial products.
The Content and Native Disclosure Guidelines issued by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) set out principles of best practice to promote continued growth in innovative areas of advertising.
Ensuring a clear distinction between editorial and commercial activities
It is entirely appropriate, and indeed essential, that editorial staff understand and contribute to the commercial success of C&TH. However, editorial independence is integral to the company’s values and the final decision on all editorial content is the Editor’s.
Any commercially paid content beyond traditional advertisements must be clearly and appropriately marked.

3 Transparency
It is perfectly proper for journalists to write content that is paid for commercially, provided that it is clearly marked as such. In undertaking such tasks, journalists should do nothing to compromise their ability to write for our audience objectively, fairly and honestly.
Uses of social media to promote a company’s product or services must be clearly marked as commercial content and must comply with the CAP Code and TMG protocols.

4 Marketing & Market Research

  •  Country & Town House occasionally carries out market research to gain a better understanding of our customers/consumers. Through this market research we hope to engage our stakeholders to get feedback about our product, our marketing, our social and environmental responsibility and our competitors. In order to carry out market research ethically we recognise our responsibility to obtain consumers’ voluntary, informed consent prior to participation and inform participants that they can withdraw from the research at any point.
  • When using market segmentation to make our marketing more appealing, relevant and timely to target markets we will not target vulnerable consumers. Vulnerable consumers are defined as those who are more susceptible to economic, physical or psychological harm as a result of economic transactions. They may have physical, cognitive or social characteristics that limit their judgement.
  • Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such.

So that our online marketing is conducted ethically we will:

  • Ensure that all communications are clearly identifiable as commercial communication;
  • Clearly identify any conditions which must be met to qualify for promotional offers;
  • Clearly identify any conditions which must be met for any promotional competition or game.

We will not engage in:

  • Deceptive or disguised marketing, e.g. a commercial website posing as an information site;
  • Manipulation of online forums e.g. posing as a consumer to make comments about our company or a competitor.

5 Advertising
To ensure that our advertising is conducted ethically we will not use deceptive or misleading advertising. This includes:
Untruthful advertising which makes claims about the product that are untrue;
Exaggerated claims that are difficult to assess objectively;
Misleading comparative advertising

6 B Lab’s Risk Standards Position on Companies Serving Clients in Controversial Industries
B Lab has implemented a rigorous risk review procedure for companies that provides products or services to clients operating in controversial industries. When a company serves clients in controversial industries, the company provides products or services to another company in a controversial industry. Although the company may not be directly involved in the controversial activities, by serving clients in the controversial industry, they have the potential to contribute to the negative impact of the controversial industry. Therefore, B Lab’s Risk Review Committee reviews the practices of such companies to manage potential risks.
B Lab has comprehensively identified industries that are deemed controversial and has classified them as “Disclosure Industries” in the Disclosure Questionnaire category in the BIA. Furthermore, B Lab has established industry standards for additional sectors that are also considered to be controversial. See below the full list of industries considered controversial by B Lab:

  • Agribusiness producers in Brazil
  • Alcohol
  • Animal Products or Services
  • Banking in Switzerland
  • Bottled water companies
  • Cannabis-related products (excluding recreational marijuana)
  • Charity lotteries
  • Debt collection agencies in emerging markets
  • Defense, Offensive Firearms, and Weapons
  • For-profit higher education
  • Fossil Fuels – coal, oil sands
  • Fossil Fuels – other
  • Gambling
  • Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Illegal Products or Subject to Phase Out
  • Industries at Risk of Human Rights Violations
  • Marketing of breastmilk substitutes
  • Mining
  • Nuclear Power or Hazardous Materials
  • Payday, Short Term, or High Interest Lending
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Pornography
  • Prisons
  • Recreational marijuana
  • Tax Advisory Services
  • Tobacco
  • Volunteer Placement to Orphanages
  • Water Utilities
  • Whole life insurance products
  • Zoos, aquariums, and animal parks

With the exception of the alcoholic drinks sector, C&TH will not serve clients operating in any of the above industries without first conducting a full assessment of the potential impact of the relationship between the company and the client on reducing/increasing the negative aspects of the industry.