BRUSSELS: A pan-European consumer awareness campaign aims to empower internet users by educating them about the practice and role of online behavioural advertising (OBA), while enabling them to exercise greater control over the ads they receive.

The European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA), a non-profit organisation based in Brussels, is funding the "Unzipped" initiative, which is being launched in the UK before being rolled out in Ireland and Germany. The rest of Europe will follow in autumn 2013.

The campaign features ads with a zip, across the copy "Find out what goes on behind the ads you see online", that opens to reveal the blue, EDAA-licensed, OBA icon.

Clicking on the ad takes consumers to a website,, where, in clear, user-friendly language, they can find out about their online ad choices, how online advertising is used to support the sites and services they use and how they can safeguard their privacy.

The campaign "will provide a direct and visually appealing way for consumers to engage via the icon with what the European Self-Regulation Programme is all about: greater transparency, choice and control," said Oliver Gray, Director-General of the EDAA.

And Dominic Lyle, Director-General of the European Association of Communications Agencies, which is helping to co-ordinate the campaign, explained that there had been "a great deal of effort from all sectors of the European online advertising ecosystem, involving representative associations at both EU and national level, as well as the direct involvement of companies providing substantial amounts of inventory to ensure the campaign reaches a significant audience across Europe".

As well as helping consumers better understand online advertising, they will be made aware of the channels available for filing complaints.

Consumer complaint handling mechanisms in each national market will be handled by established and recognised national advertising self-regulatory organisations.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff