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Ai In Global Marketing and Communication Compliance
Timiko Cranwell, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Budweiser Brewing Group Uk&I
In the UK and many other jurisdictions, this comes at a time when staff costs and law firm fees are increasing sharply, a trend I expect to see continue in the next couple of years at least. It can be quite a challenge for those in charge of a legal budget to manage the risk of their corporate adequately with the resources available.
Many will say prioritisation of work is the way to deal with this, and that is certainly true, however, in my experience, even after a ruthless prioritisation exercises the cup of work still runneth over. I encourage my team to look for ways to 1) reduce the amount of time it takes to do a task and 2) empower our internal clients in the business to be compliant and reduce risk. An example of this that ticks both boxes are an image compliance review tool.
As a global beverage manufacturer, the legal team manages hundreds of marketing approvals from across the globe. Each country has different advertising rules and regulations applying to alcohol, there is also the internal Marketing Code of Conduct, and each Brand has its own rules to preserve the Brand identity, so the complexity in legally approving each campaign is high.
Image compliance requirements span the code of conduct, brand rules, and regulatory requirements. There is a wide range of products sold across multiple markets. This means that image checking is done against a myriad of rules and regulations.
Key challenges with a manual review are 1) volume of work, 2) complex matrix of regulation and rules, 3) consistency of decision making, 4) mapping and checking rules across multiple documents, and 5) scope for errors. Clearly, the risk of full automation is high.
Compliance rules span simplistic text checks (e.g. the presence of a responsible drinking message) to more complicated thematic checks such as appealing to children or demonstrating gender stereotyping. In order to develop a solution covering all these requirements, we worked with Algospark, specialists in designing and building applied artificial intelligence solutions.
The compliance engine needs to pull together text recognition and understanding, object detection, people detection, location detection, theme detection and language translation. Using a combination of these methods allows automation to cover nearly all compliance rules. Algospark built this capability using data science techniques, including computer vision, natural language processing and numerous machine learning classification models. The solution performs a quick check of all rules and is summarised with an accept, refer or fail decision. The output tables serve as a baseline for the final legal review.
The results were impressive. The more simplistic rules had very high levels of accuracy, and even the more complicated and nuanced rules had surprisingly good results. The compliance engine was consistent and fast and removed the need to pull together numerous checklists. It also allowed storing and comparing results across images to produce compliance analytics. This enabled common fails to be identified. It also allowed early review in the process, in effect “stopping bad early”.
Automated image compliance technology significantly improved productivity and extended additional benefits across the content creation process
The initial solution was designed as a standalone system but also had the flexibility to integrate into an image workflow and content management platform. Following the successful use on advertising images, it was expanded to automated compliance for labels. It uses a similar approach to advertising images and produces similar levels of compliance-checking success.
Ultimately for a legal team with a heavy load, removing time-consuming compliance activities feels like a big win. It allows better management of an ever-growing workload. Time savings generated from the solution means more marketing activations are checked, and challenging deadlines which are inherent in the marketing world are met. It also allows more time for more strategic work.
We chose an excellent solution development partner and used agile, iterative development. This means that we had regular feedback during development to ensure that it was going to meet expectations. We involved other teams early in development and implemented a clear update process. This means the solution will evolve with the needs of the business.
Automated image compliance technology significantly improved productivity and extended additional benefits across the content creation process.
The project had the benefit of increasing internal client service and satisfaction and raising engagement within the legal team, who were able to focus more on value rather than volume work.