Code of Best Practices & Standards

As Applicable to Media Agencies

Indian Outdoor Advertising Association


  • 1.1. Being an integral part of mass media, we are cognizant of the powerful influence of outdoor advertising on society. We, therefore, strongly support the practice of self-regulation in the conduct of our business.
  • 1.2. Public safety will always be the primary concern in the conduct of our business. We shall, therefore, ensure that our structures and displays adhere to norms provided for, by law and to faithfully conduct regular maintenance checks on all our structures so that they remain structurally sound.
  • 1.3. We recognize the effect of our structures and displays on the environment. We shall endeavor to take into consideration overall aesthetic impact of our structures and displays. We shall strictly follow zoning laws and building codes as provided by central and state government agencies and municipalities.
  • 1.4. We shall actively and continuously support worthy public causes by providing free of charge posting on available vacant outdoor display properties for public service announcements, that will contribute to the betterment of society.
  • 1.5. Our media shall seamlessly exist besides the public as it goes about its daily existence without being visually or physically disruptive or disturbing.



  • 2.1. Every member must subscribe to and adhere to the following Code of Ethics, with such amendments as the IOAA makes from time to time:
  • 2.2. To Our Advertisers

    • 2.2.1. We are committed to providing the best possible Outdoor advertising sites on a value-for-money basis.
    • 2.2.2. We observe an honest, ethical and professional approach to trading practices, media contracts and proof of posting performances.
    • 2.2.3. We put genuine effort into providing services and support by way of research data, strategic planning, creative advice and production guidance to make the Outdoor medium easy to evaluate, buy and utilize to maximum advantage.
    • 2.2.4. We encourage the use of new technologies to continuously improve the service we provide to our advertisers, clients and advertising agencies.
    • 2.2.5. We are committed to maintaining and improving the quality and appearance, of site structures and locations, to enhance their performance for advertisers.
  • 2.3. To Our Industry

    • 2.3.1. We abide by the process of self-regulation as administered by the various responsible authorities operating in the advertising industry.
    • 2.3.2 We acquire and negotiate for sites in a business-like and competitive fashion, observing all regulatory and planning permit requirements.
    • 2.3.3 We operate, all times, in a professional manner to maintain a positive attitude to the industry by advertisers, consumers and legislators.
    • 2.3.4 We support Outdoor advertising as a legitimate business to be practiced only in appropriately zoned areas.
    • 2.3.5 We demand the right to maintain and continue with authorized Outdoor advertising sites.
    • 2.3.6 We support the right to reject advertising that is misleading, offensive, or otherwise incompatible with industry and community taste and decency standards.
  • 2.4. To the Community

    • 2.4.1. We are committed to providing an effective form of communication for goods or services of interest or benefits to the Indian community.
    • 2.4.2. We share the public interest in the environment with regard to protecting natural scenic beauty, parks, forest and places of historic value, and we aim to locate our displays near populous area as permitted by law, local regulation and planning schemes.
    • 2.4.3.We pledge to, and do, actively support community service and charity campaigns at National and State levels, these include messages from the Election Commission promoting voting at State or National Elections, Ministry of Human Resources and other NGOs promoting Girl Child, Prime Minister or Chief Minister’s Relief funds for disaster relief and other free local events to collect funds for public charity. Our members additionally provide support in many ways to a range of other local community and charity ventures.
    • 2.4.4.We are committed to, and promote a program, which endorses advertising that responsibly adheres to the Code of Ethics of the IOAA, the Advertisers Code of Ethics of the Advertising Standards Council of India and the Advertising Agencies Association of India and the interests of the community at large.
    • 2.4.5.We are committed to Excellence in the creative designs that we exhibit because we provide the most public ‘art gallery’ in the Indian community.



  • 3.1.Definition of “Outdoor Advertising Media”

    • 3.1.1. Outdoor Advertising Media or OOH media is defined as, and includes in any manner such as announcement or direction by word, letter, model, image, or a combination thereof, a sign or message by means of posters, hoarding boards, kiosks, banners, temporary arches, illuminated signs or messages, name boards, direction boards, or banners mounted on mobile vehicles like buses, cars or trains, balloons or any other visible or audible media, displayed to promote a product or service in a commercial sense or in a sense of social or public service, located on any property owned privately or by the State.

    • 3.2.1.To ensure general public safety and welfare, outdoor advertising signs and structures shall be constructed in accordance with the National Building Code or applicable Municipal building code specifications and set up aesthetically with the consideration of traffic and pedestrian safety needs. The structural stability shall be designed and signed by a duly licensed Civil/Structural Engineer and shall be covered by pertinent permits and/or licenses.

    • 3.3.1. The format of hoarding shall be landscape or portrait with a minimum size of 9 Sq. m., parameters of space between adjacent hoardings, angle of placement with regard to direction of traffic, height of display from ground, display area for various zones, placement at road crossing or near specified public buildings shall all be strictly compliant with zoning laws of relevant municipality or state / central government body, for roads, within urban areas or on state/national highways, respectively. They shall not obscure or interfere with any road traffic light or sign. Illumination of billboards, including by use of neon lights, or use of dynamic messages on digital boards, shall be permitted provided such illumination or dynamic messaging complies with appropriate local regulations. The traffic flow should not be impeded during erection or servicing of a billboard on a public road unless prior permission has been obtained and the necessary safety precautions arranged.

    • 3.4.1. A bus shelter may be a single structure with roof and place for commuter to wait or it may include a separate adjunct structure for display of advertisements located on one side of the main structure as a floor-mounted panel. Placement, distance between adjacent shelters, design of structure and roof, design of adjunct structure shall in all cases comply strictly with all relevant rules and regulations, including designs, illumination and hygiene rules, of local municipality and/or transport company or relevant department of State / Central Government.

    • 3.5.1. All applications onto vehicles shall comply with all regulations, by-laws and rules governing this sector such as taxi associations and/or any other body that has control of the mobile media category being utilized. The media owner shall rectify any damage to a vehicle as a result of the application of the branding in reasonable time at the end of the campaign. All by-laws and regulations pertaining to such advertising shall be adhered to at all times.

    • 3.6.1. Ambient media owners and others that are all promotions and/or displays shall comply with local and national by-laws and regulations and, wherever applicable, landlord approval must be obtained to display posters or hold promotions and /or displays. Promotional and/or display areas shall always be left in a clean and tidy condition after the event.

    • 3.7.1. Digital displays may by way of LED Boards, LCD panels or other digital displays, attached to hoardings, bus shelters, bridge panels, or any other structures. Digital displays shall be used in strict compliance with local rules governing display of animated pictures on roads and shall not be mounted in a way to be in line of sight with traffic lights.
  • 3.8.CRITERIA

    • 3.8.1. Signs shall not obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic, signal lights and street signs/lights.
    • 3.8.2. Advertising signs and structures shall not obstruct, confuse or distract the view or interpretation of any public signs, traffic signs or devices and which may blind motorists.
    • 3.8.3. Signs shall be so structurally designed so as to conform to the standards set forth by the applicable local building and structural codes
    • 3.8.4. All display content shall conform to the standards set forth by the Advertising Standards Council of India.
    • 3.8.5. Signs shall be inspected regularly to maintain their structural integrity to ensure safety. Advertising structures which are vacant shall be installed with public service or company ads so as not to be eyesores.
    • 3.8.6. Sign structures which are no longer to be used shall be dismantled by the outdoor advertising firm which erected the said structures.
    • 3.8.7. Temporary signs, regardless of material and size, whose sole purpose is commercial in nature, i.e. to promote a product and/or service of private companies, shall not be strung or installed over or across any public thoroughfare or along islands or sidewalks or street lamp posts, unless otherwise permitted by law ordinance.

    • 3.9.1. All layouts must conform to the standards set forth by the Advertising Standards Council of India.
    • 3.9.2. Layouts containing elements or messages that violate existing national or local laws and ordinances must not be posted.
    • 3.9.3. Outdoor/Hoarding materials are generally post-screened, except in the following cases where prescreening shall be required prior to posting:

      • Materials for infant food formula.
      • Materials that show partial or total nudity or skimpy attire or any visuals/copy/elements that suggest sexual stimulation or satisfaction or gratification
      • Political Advertisements.
      • Material relating to tobacco and liquor consumption.



  • 4.1. Billboards, neon signs, tri-vision displays, electronic displays and all other forms of outdoor displays should allow for at least one (1) meter distance from another, on all sides. Where advertising displays are installed in a common structure, they shall be separated by a distance of at least one (1) meter on all sides.
  • 4.2. Advertising displays of directly competing products or services viewed from the same angle, whether on the same structure or not, shall be separated by an area equal to one (1) standard display of 3m x 6m on all sides unless otherwise agreed by the advertisers involved.
  • 4.3. Obstruction of an existing billboard or on-premise sign by an advertising billboard from its intended viewership, no matter how partial, is strictly prohibited. The existing outdoor advertising sign is considered not obstructed by a newly constructed sign when it is fully visible within 200 meters distance from its intended audience. This rule applies within the boundaries of all cities in India; otherwise, i.e. on highways and rural areas, full visibility should be at 300 meters.
  • 4.4. All types of outdoor media, including banners, regardless of type and size, advertising liquor and tobacco, are prohibited from being installed.
  • 4.5. A person must respect the present Lessee’s right to his leased site. Unless a property is totally vacated, it is considered unethical for another company, or any entity, to negotiate or lease the same property for the same purpose as the present lessee, even if offered by the owner himself. Confirmation from the current/former lessee of the expiration of his lease should be obtained as a matter of courtesy.
  • 4.6. A duly signed memorandum of agreement, lease agreement or contract of lease with the site owner shall be required before an outdoor advertising firm can put up markers at a leased site. Markers must be installed that includes a prominent sign indicating the company leasing the site and its Display License Number allotted by local Municipality or Panchayat. Said documents, together with general details of the billboard structure, (such as display dimensions, whether single or multiple displays per viewing angle and structure height), shall be registered with the IOAA for recording purposes to protect its intended line of sight rights against possible challenge or dispute by other outdoor companies.
  • 4.7. It is unethical to undertake unwarranted action, which will prejudice any other outdoor advertising practitioner in such a way as to cause him financial loss.
  • 4.8. Advertisers who have outstanding obligations with an IOAA member shall not be entertained by other members of the association until such obligations have been settled. Errant advertisers’ names shall be posted on the electronic bulletin board of the association- website as well as circulated vide email as List of Agencies & Advertisers on Defaulters. It is however, the responsibility of the member to ensure that reason for nonpayment of the obligation is not due to the members’ non-performance or violation of his contract with the advertiser.
  • 4.9. Advertising agency commissions/margins are defined by international standards to be 15% on net value of media and are subject to negotiation and mutual agreement between ad agency, advertiser and outdoor supplier.
  • 4.10. Members shall honor their financial and contractual obligations with their co-members.
  • 4.11. Members shall abide by IOAA Default Notices and exercise due precaution while conducting further business, immediately upon receipt thereof.
  • 4.12. Members with Transit Advertising such as bus ads, taxi ads, auto-rickshaw ads, tricycle ads and roving billboards shall abide by the guidelines provided by the government agencies having jurisdiction, such as, but not limited to, the RTO and Traffic Police.
  • 4.13. In cases where traffic signs/public signs are sponsored by Advertisers, the advertisement shall be displayed separately from the traffic sign/public sign by a minimum gap of 10cms, and limited to no more than 20% of the total area of the traffic sign/ public sign.
  • 4.14. The outdoor advertising firm shall inform the current Advertiser, prior to construction, of additional structure/s or billboard/s that will be attached to the current Advertiser’s structure or any alterations / modifications thereto.
  • 4.15. Outdoor advertising firms shall be paid by advertisers and/or advertising agencies within the period as specified by IOAA from time to time. Delayed payments shall be dealt with in accordance with provisions for the same in the above agreement.
  • 4.16. Advertising displays shall not obstruct the view of on-premise signs of business establishment.
  • 4.17. Where applicable, Advertisers and Outdoor Advertising Firms shall be jointly and severally liable for violations of the above provisions.



  • 5.1.   The functions are as follows:

    • 5.1.1.To act on any complaint from members of the association lodged against a co-member and other outdoor advertising practitioner.
    • 5.1.2.To mediate and settle amicably any intra-party dispute among member of the association arising from illegal practice of its trade or professions.
    • 5.1.3.To investigate, conduct hearing and adjudicate cases that maybe assigned to it.
    • 5.1.4.From time to time, the Board shall review, revise and promulgate implementing rules and regulations on dispute settlement, including the proceedings of the Credit Control Committee and the amount of filing fees.
    • 5.1.5.Sanctions, Violation of any provision of this Code may be subject to a fine and disciplinary action. Fines shall be imposed as per decision of IOAA Board.
    • 5.1.6.Disciplinary action shall take the form of any of the following: Warning, Reprimand, Suspension and Expulsion under violation of IOAA Code of Ethics and Guidelines.