Advertising Standards Authority extends remit of UK code to cover more digital marketing
On 1 September, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) announced it would extend the digital remit of the ‘UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing’ (or CAP Code) to “deliver more comprehensive consumer protection online”. The ASA Chairman stated that the extension of the rules has “the protection of children and consumers at its heart.”
The current digital remit applies to advertisements in emails and advertisements in paid-for space including, for example, banner and pop-up advertisements, paid-for search listings, commercial classified advertisements and paid-for listings on price comparison sites.
From 1 March 2011, the CAP Code, which includes rules about misleading advertising, the protection of children and social responsibility in advertising, will apply in full to:
• “Advertisements and other marketing communications by or from companies, organisations or sole traders on their own websites, or in other non-paid-for space online under their control, that are directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods, services, opportunities and gifts, or which consist of direct solicitations of donations as part of their own fund-raising activities.”
• It will therefore cover, although not exclusively, “advertisements and other marketing communications on advertiser-controlled pages on social networking websites.”
CAP’s decision to extend the digital remit of the CAP Code endorses and implements the recommendations of the UK advertising industry as represented by the Council of the Advertising Association. The Council of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has agreed to administer the new remit and the Advertising Standards Boards of Finance (ASBOF)has confirmed that the advertising industry will fund the regulation of the new remit
With regards to digital advertising to children specifically, the guidelines published by the Committee of Advertising Practice inter alia highlight that:
• “The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has reviewed the remit of the CAP Code in the light of the growing level and changing nature of marketing in the digital space.
• CAP notes the growing social and political concern to ensure children, young people and vulnerable adults are adequately protected in the digital space, including online.
• CAP notes that advertisers are increasingly using their own websites and other non-paid-for space online, such as social networking sites, to target their own marketing communications to UK consumers.
• Social networking websites have a significant consumer reach, are popular with children and young people and play an increasing role in public policy debates.
• In agreeing to extend the remit of the CAP Code, CAP seeks to ensure that UK consumers including children and others whose circumstances appear to CAP to put them in need of special protection are protected and that truthful and responsible marketing communications can flourish throughout digital media.
• The current digital remit covers advergames in paid-for space. Advergames on own websites or in non-paid-for space online under the advertiser’s control which amount to marketing communications that are directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods, services etc will fall within the extended digital remit.”
Commenting on this announcement, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Chairman Lord Chris Smith said, “This significant extension of the ASA’s remit has the protection of children and consumers at its heart. We have received over 4,500 complaints since 2008 about marketing communications on websites that we couldn’t deal with, but from 1 March anyone who has a concern about a marketing communication online will be able to turn to the ASA.”
The new rules will come into force on 1 March 2011 after a six month period of grace to allow the ASA and CAP to conduct training work to raise awareness and educate business on the requirements of the CAP Code.
Additionally, CAP, the ASA and ASBOF have indicated that they are committed to “an ongoing, quarterly review of the extended digital remit with the intention of carrying out a comprehensive review in quarter two, 2013.”
Source: Advertising Education Forum