Commercial advertising is comprehensively regulated by law. The state provides a framework for fair competition and ensures that advertising freedom is not used to the detriment of the public interest, e.g. by banning advertising claims that mislead, constitute a nuisance or are harmful to minorities.
In addition to this statuary regulation, advertisers, the media and agencies themselves actively exercise responsability for ensuring good standards in advertising. The aim is for the public to have a means of recourse instances where print, screen or billboard advertisements prompt criticism but do not actuallly break the law. This purpose is served by the "Deutscher Werberat" – The German Advertising Standards Council Board provides a mechanism for conflict settlement between the public and commercial advertisers, identifies and resolves grievances and draws up voluntary codes for advertising, particualrily with regard to sensitive areas like issues of the dignity of women and minorities, the respect for religions or the regard to children.
The 13 highly regarded women and men in the council appear as mediators, custodians and, at the same time, as resolvers of conflicts for a balance of interests between consumers and companies.