The German Advertising Federation

The German Advertising Federation (ZAW) aims to achieve politically balanced and optimal economic conditions for the advertising industry – in the interests of growth, innovation and employment in Germany.

Advertising counts. It is an integral part of the free market economy and an indispensable factor in a diverse and independent media landscape. Advertising communication is seen and heard every day, making it the subject of social and political debate and initiatives. ZAW is the national association of the advertising industry in Germany. It forms a large, dynamic network of 43 member organisations through which it represents all sectors and disciplines in advertising.

ZAW’s members are organisations and companies from the following sectors:

  • Advertising industry (18)
  • Media and publishers (18)
  • Communication and media agencies (2)
  • Market/social research and advertising professions (5)

ZAW tasks

ZAW is active in all areas that are important and instrumental to the advertising industry:

  • Defending and promoting the freedom of commercial advertising, and in particular disproportionate product-specific or media-specific prohibitions and restrictions on commercial communication;
  • Promoting fair and responsible commercial advertising, both in legislation and through voluntary self-regulation;
  • Representing the sector in economic and social policy issues;
  • Coordinating and combining interests and opinion within the advertising industry. ZAW serves as the advertising industry’s round table.

ZAW policies

Dialogue with policymakers and society is among ZAW’s core activities. ZAW advocates fact-based policy and works in a spirit of trust with government, ministries, parliament and parties at national level and in the 16 German Länder (states). By virtue of its structure, the organisation is established internationally and with the Brussels institutions as the voice of Germany in all questions related to advertising.

ZAW is the initiator of the Advertising Industry Group (AIG), a central platform for participation in shaping the advertising policy agenda in Europe launched together with the national advertising industry associations of the United Kingdom (the Advertising Association) and Austria (Professional Association of the Advertising and Market Communication Industry). The members of AIG Exchange are the leading European advertising industry associations, which interact through AIG with the institutions of the EU.

ZAW public relations

ZAW is the central mediator and communicator between the advertising industry and the media in Germany. The Federation communicates the industry’s policy, economic and social positions and supports the interests of members in its publicity.

ZAW services

ZAW keeps members and associate members informed at all times on all issues of importance to the industry. The Federation also provides practical help in the form of professional services such as copy advice (pre-screening of advertisements), the design and conduct of surveys, and analysis of studies.

Industry self-regulation

ZAW organises and promotes advertising industry self-regulation – both in Germany and across Europe. Advertising needs public acceptance in order to fulfil its economic function. Voluntary advertising self-regulation has been organised effectively and efficiently under the umbrella of ZAW for more than 40 years. The main advertising industry self-regulatory bodies are supported by ZAW: the German Advertising Standards Council (Deutscher Werberat, for advertising content) and the German Data Protection Council for Online Advertising (DDOW, for data protection in the advertising industry). This gives practical recognition to the increasingly important principle of corporate responsibility. As a founding member of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), ZAW takes constant part in shaping the standards and practical policies of advertising self-regulation in Europe.

ZAW structure

The 43 ZAW member organisations are represented by the Presiding Council according to their group membership. The Presiding Council serves the function of a general assembly and selects from among its number the 22 members of the Presiding Committee for a three-year term of office. The Presiding Assembly in turn elects the President and the four Vice-Presidents of ZAW from among the Presiding Committee. Federation policy is coordinated in (currently) 14 working groups, which analyse and develop coordinated advertising industry positions on issues as they arise.

ZAW partners

ZAW is a partner to important organisations at national and European level in the areas of business and economic research, media and advertising skills, advertising self-regulation and advertising law:

Status: January 2022