Corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure of advertising agencies: An exploratory analysis of six holding companies annual reports

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Journal Article
Journal of Advertising, 2009, 38 (1), pp. 109 - 122
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The corporate annual report has become more than a mandatory financial report for public companies, with many companies also using it as an important marketing tool. As corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an issue of growing interest in the business world, many publicly listed companies, including advertising agencies, are voluntarily disclosing information regarding their CSR activities in their annual reports. While there is criticism of the ethical values of advertising, some advertising agencies can use CSR to promote a positive side of the agency's business. This descriptive study analyzes the annual reports of the top six holding companies in the global advertising industry to promote discourse and theory development in the area. This will be done by observing which advertising companies disclose their CSR activities and what activities they undertake, as well as the development of a CSR disclosure index for advertising agencies. The results indicate that some advertising companies do engage in CSR activities and disclose them in their annual reports, but the level of these CSR disclosures is different between the organizations. © 2009 American Academy of Advertising.
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