The strength of the self-regulatory system lies in both the independence of the ASA and the support and commitment of the advertising industry, through the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), to maintaining the high standards laid down in the Advertising Codes, which are designed to protect consumers. Today, the UK advertising regulatory system is a mixture of * Self-regulation for non-broadcast advertising
* Co-regulation for broadcast advertising.
The ASA is the UK self-regulatory body for ensuring that all advertisements, wherever they appear, are legal, decent, honest and truthful. The protection of consumers is at the heart of the ASA's work. They aim to ensure that advertising does not mislead or offend. Advertising self-regulation in the UK
The system is based on a contract between advertisers, agencies and the media that each will act in support of the highest standards in advertising. Compliance with the Codes and ASA adjudications is binding on all advertisers. It is not a voluntary system. The system is both self-regulatory (for non-broadcast advertising e.g. press, poster, cinema, online) and co-regulatory (for TV and radio advertising).
The Codes sit within a legal framework, which means that, where appropriate, they reflect the standards required in law, e.g. the Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) for misleading advertising. The Codes also contain additional protections that are not required under law e.g. rules related to taste and decency and social responsibility. The ASA is responsible for administering five Advertising Codes and deals with more than 26,000 complaints per year. Just one complaint can cause the ASA to launch an investigation and remove an advertisement, if the ad is found in breach of the Codes.
For instance, if Bulldog’s TV ad, had a voiceover that said "With up to 8 meg broadband, more people can play, e-mail, download and talk, together, all at the...