Advertising Standards Authority - Committee of Advertising Practice
The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) is the UK's independent watchdog which maintains standards in advertising for the benefit of consumers, advertisers and society at large.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) regulates non-broadcast advertising. It was set up in 1961 to regulate all print advertising and prevent the need for government legislation. CAP writes and reviews the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (SPDRP), which all advertisers must adhere to.
The Code broadly covers harm and offence, misleadingness, and breaches of taste and decency.
ASA CAP Compliance
From March 1st 2011, the online remit of the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) is being extended. It will cover marketing communications on companies' and organisations' 'own websites and in other non-paid-for space under their control'. The UK CAP Code (Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing) will apply in full to marketing messages online, including the rules relating to misleading advertising, social responsibility and the protection of children.
This is a significant development in advertising regulation, and although good news for both consumer and business protection, ensuring the same high standards as in other media, it creates other business risks for which need to be covered.
It will cover:
Advertisers' own marketing messages on their own websites, regardless of sector, type of businesses or size of organisation.
Marketing communications in other non-paid-for space under the advertiser's control, such as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The primary concern of the regulatory system is not to punish advertisers, but to ensure that all advertising is legal, decent, honest and truthful.