ASA and CAP Publish Annual Report 2014

‘Make Every UK Ad a Responsible Ad’

On 27 May, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) published their Annual Report for 2014. The Annual Report emphasises the ASA and CAP’s continuing work to implement the strategy unveiled during 2014. This strategy aims to ‘make every UK ad a responsible ad’ through the following five strands:

  • Understanding
  • Support
  • Impact
  • Proactive
  • Awareness

Proactive Approach

The ASA’s focus on developing a proactive approach to regulating advertising in the United Kingdom likely will be of most significance to businesses. In this report, the ASA reasserts its commitment to actively monitor compliance with the advertising rules across different advertising sectors and take enforcement action where necessary. Although the ASA will still respond to all complaints received by the public, it will not rely solely on the receipt of complaints to indicate where enforcement action may be required. It is now using a range of information sources, including research, developments in Europe and beyond and intelligence from other regulators, to identify industries or sectors potentially posing a risk.

What Does This Mean for my Business?

The ASA’s report will be of interest to in house legal counsel who deal with IP and related issues such as trade practices and advertising matters, particularly those who manage international clearance for advertising claims and marketing materials.

The ASA’s attempt to move away from a reactive regulatory approach could mean that advertisements (including those made available online) come under scrutiny in the UK market, or become subject to more stringent advertising rules, even where no complaint has been made, particularly if you operate in an industry or sector that is the focus of a current ASA project (as was the case for the distributors of e-cigarettes during 2014).

To discuss how the ASA’s proactive approach may affect your business, or for advice in relation to advertising copy or any ASA investigations or complaints, please contact one of the authors.

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