A. Overview

SECTION A OVERVIEW

 

Updates since March 2023 (slimmed)

 

Lufthansa ruling March 1, 2023. Ad here

The ASA on AI. ASA News 23 Feb 2023

Urgency and price reduction claims online. CMA 

ICO on AI and data protectionApril 3, 2023

Racial/ethnic stereotyping CAP May 23, 2023

Shell ruling ASA June 7, 2023. BBC here

Environmental claims guidance ASA June 23, 2023

Dove self-esteem ruling (NU) Nov 6, 2023

Vid on above here. Good decision

IPA & ISBA principles for use of gen AI in advertising

LufthansaEtihad and Air France rulings Dec 6, 2023 (U)

FKA Twigs and her Calvins (PU) Mar 6, 2024 re this ad

News on the above BBC Mar 6, 2024 & from FKA Twigs

And Browne Jacobson comment here March 8*

GLA pollution claims unpicked by the ASA Feb 7, 2024

Latest CAP guidance. March 21, 2024 Topics complementary therapies, RRPs, debt management services vaping ads online.

UK Regulatory Outlook April 2024. Osborne Clarke

CAP Insight April 11, 2024 Topics Qualiifications, Euro 2024 and ads featuring animals 

Loot boxes rulings. CMS/ Lex April 9, 2024

Top 10 ASA rulings Q1 2024 Taylor Wessing Apr 11, 2024

Environmental regs tracker Lewis Silkin Apr 29, 2024

Dove and the AI beauty promise. April 2024 

CAP guidance May 9, 2024 Topics Olympics, sun creams, dental 

CAP Update May 17, 2024 Topics inc Alcohol alternatives, ads in podcasts

CAP Insight May 23, 2024 Topics Crypto, Royal references, mental health depiction

Alzheimer's Soc (TV) ruling June 5, 2024 (NU)  :-) 

Ads & Brands Law Digest: May 2024 Lewis Silkin Topics Podcasts, in-game purchases, financial promotions, FCA greenwashing, alc alts, Influencers, Amazon, trademarks

 

* Recommended read

KEY ISSUES/ NEWS 

 

 

General Election called for July 4

Bills most significant and relevant to marcoms included

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill which didn't get through 'wash-up', 

The Digital Markets, Competition & Consumers Bill which did, as did the Media Bill

What legislation has survived and what has fallen? Osborne Clarke May 29, 2024

 

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Marketinglaw: April and May 2024

Osborne Clarke June 4, 2024

Cryptoassets: Non-Fungible Tokens
CAP News May 23, 2024

Advertising quarterly Q1 2024 Taylor Wessing April 11, 2024

A comprehensive, clear and valuable round-up. Topics DMCC, price transparency, GPEN, FCA, Vaping, ASA & RRP, SEC & AI, Online Safety, CMA & fashion, EU green regs, DSA, ASA monitoring, Hol HFSS, Defra and more!

In at the Deep(fake) End. CAP News Feb 8, 2024

 

AI

Updates on key developments 

DAC Beachcroft June 10, 2024

What's the latest on the UK govt's approach to AI?*
Osborne Clarke Feb 12, 2024 and Burges Salmon Apr 2 and Shoosmith 17th

AI implications on disclosures. Taylor Wessing April 11, 2024

 

FCA/ IFRS

Towie and LI stars face prosecution. Gowling May 22,2024

 UK govt. sustainability disclosure standards 
Charles Russell Speechlys May 8, 2024

Implementation update Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer May 17, 2024

FCA social media guidelines. Mar 26, 2024; Taylor Wessing Apr 3

FCA SDR Policy statement, Handbook Sustainability Labels 

Travers Smith/ Lex commentary on above May 3, 2024 here 

 

THE AD CODES

 

The twin pillars of the self-regulatory system in the U.K. are the CAP Code for ‘non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications (marketing communications)’, and its sister BCAP Code which applies to ‘all advertisements (including teleshopping, content on self-promotional television channels, television text and interactive TV ads) and programme sponsorship credits on radio and television services licensed by Ofcom’. There is significant overlap of rules between the two codes; we largely deal with them together in this database. See CAP Bitesize August 2022 for 'a series of videos to help businesses get their ads right, by setting out the principles behind the advertising rules in an easily digestible format' and Advice for Small Businesses does what it says on the tin. 

 

INFLUENCERS/ RECOGNITION OF ADVERTISING

 

Influencer Marketing - Key Advice Resources. CAP News 21 Feb 2024

A Look At Influencer Reviews. CAP News 14 Sep, 2023

Above is 'a series of relevant articles and resources to get you up to speed on influencer marketing regulation.'

CMA issues guidance on influencer marketing, including #ad for gifts (!) RPC/ Lex December 2022.*

November 2022 guidance from the CMA: Social media users set to benefit from new hidden advertising protections

Re above, somewhat acerbic commentary from GALA here;  guide for brands here, for content creators here 

 

Section 2 of the CAP Code covers recognition of marketing communications, and the BCAP Code Section 2 does the same in broadcast. There’s a lot of guidance from CAP in this territory; most of it can be found here; a key piece is Influencers' Guide to making clear that ads are ads from the CMA/ CAP March 2023 and a ‘Special Edition Influencer Marketing Insight' includes a flow chart, cheat sheet and affiliate marketing infographic etc. Engaging Social Media Influencers, a September 2021 piece from Brodies LLP via Lex is helpful on how to manage Influencer marketing and the CMA provide guidance with Hidden ads: Being clear with your audience, update of 3 November 2022. ISBA's Influencer Marketing Code of Conduct was updated June 2023. Influencers can be animals - Fur warning: the rules that apply to pet influencers CAP News, 08 Sep 2022. The ASA now include a page on their website which identifies influencers who have failed to comply with rulings/ warnings and in December 2023 announced a partnership with Instagram and five content creators to publish a series of new videos, aimed at sharing key aspects of the rules that all UK advertisers must follow. The vids can be found via the link. This review of digital ad regulation by Gowling 30 April 2024 provides some instructive cases and commentary (video).

 

Legislation (Influencers and generally)

 

DMCC bill becomes law Wiggin/ Lex June 3, 2024

Retained EU law: 10 key questions. Travers Smith/ Lex March 18, 2024

 

The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill is significant, relevant legislation, providing the CMA with weighty new powers and essentially absorbing CPRs 2008, which provide the consumer protection measures key in areas such as environmental claims and influential in self-regulatory foundation. The bill carries other important provisions for the digital landscape but less directly relevant to advertising. How the bill might affect CAP and BCAP codes here from Taylor Wessing Dec 14, 2023 and finally and importantly from Lewis Silkin January 2024 here. This bill made it through the wash-up; see above - CMA consultation on guidance Wiggin/ Lex June 3, 2024

 

Para 11, Schedule 1 of the CPRs provides that a commercial practice ‘in all circumstances considered unfair’ is ‘Using editorial content in the media to promote a product where a trader has paid for the promotion without making that clear in the content or by images or sounds clearly identifiable by the consumer (advertorial)’. More broadly, Regulation 6 (1) d of Part 2 of the CPRs sets out a misleading omission when ‘a commercial practice fails to identify its commercial intent, unless this is already apparent from the context.’ More broadly still, it is this legislation, transposed from the UCPD 2005/29/EC, that is the core of misleadingness regulation around Europe and including the UK for the time being (the CPRs are retained legislation - see The end of retained EU law? from Macfarlanes LLP Jan 2023). The UK self-regulatory position reflects the statutory construct and the ASA is the 'established means' of advertising regulation; we therefore don't tend to dwell on legislation, albeit in channel rules in particular it's best to know the law as well as the ASA's requirements. As the act brings online financial scam ads into its scope, impact here from Burges Salmon Dec 7, the Online Safety Act may also impact marketers' and agencies' corporate lives: Online Safety Act - An Overview Burges Salmon LLP again Nov 13, 2023. The Government response to Online Advertising Programme consultation of July 25th 2023 sets out plans principally to regulate illegal advertising online and is intended to complement the Online Safety Bill and the DMCC bill outlined above and the Data Protection bill; there's a helpful summary from Taylor Wessing September 25, 2023 here and this from RPC/ Lex October 25, 2023.

 

MISLEADINGNESS

 

Around 70% of the complaints the ASA receives relate to misleading advertising, covered in Section 3 of the CAP Code and the same Section of the BCAP Code. This is a significant slice of the codes, and includes, for example, issues of price, substantiation, qualification, and comparisons in advertising. Forms of misleadingness are set out under our content section B, though we have separated price issues as these are also subject to statutory provisions, and in of themselves can be somewhat complex. Key guidance from CAP News Jan 2020, re-issued Dec 2020, is here, and Advice online Dec 2020 here. On 28 January 2021, re-issued Jan 2022, CAP published Six top tips to avoid misleading advertising and on April 20, 2023 a Misleadingness checklist. Misleadingness in law is (largely) from Regulation 5 of the CPRs, which covers misleading actions and Regulation 6, which deals with misleading omissions. Comparative advertising in law is provided for under The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008, Regulation 4, in part a transposition of the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive 2006 /114/EC. Also see Q&A: misleading advertising practices in United Kingdom from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP/ Lex March 2022,  Substantiation 101 from CAP 23rd February, 2023 and Misleading ads CAP News March 7, 2024.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS

 

Greenwashing in aviation. Stephenson Harwood Apr 23, 2024

The CMA and Unilever. RPC/ Lex April 16, 2024

Green claims in fashion retail. The CMA’s message is clear

TLT LLP/ Lex Feb 29, 2024 and Mayer Brown April 23, 2024

Fashion and the Green Claims Code: open letter from the CMA
Charles Russell Speechlys March 28, 2024

UK regulators and greenwashing. March 4, 2024

Helpful round-up from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius/ Lex

 

This is obviously a hot topic; the CAP and BCAP codes anyway devote whole sections to the subject: 11 and 9 respectively, set out in our content section B below. The CMA Green Claims Code was published September 20th 2021, their checklist same date here; CAP guidance will 'complement' the CMA's work, which was developed in close consultation with ASA/CAP. Commentary on the CMA guidance from Macfarlanes/ Lex here. On 29 July 2022, the government announced that the CMA are investigating the fashion industry, specifically Asos, Boohoo and George/ Asda. The Ofcom Broadcasting Code article 3e C (iv) of appendix 2, from the AVMSD, prohibits in broadcast commercial communications the encouragement of ‘behaviour grossly prejudicial to the protection of the environment’. How to comply with the rules from Taylor Wessing/ Lexology Feb 2022 re-caps the rules and provides some high-profile adjudications. Green claims update from Hogan Lovells/ Lex June 20, 2023 compares the EU and UK approaches to environmental claims regulation, as does Squeaky clean: updates on greenwashing from Osborne Clarke June 22, 2023, also carrying news of the CMA’s report on the green heating and insulation sector and finally on the CMA, key takeaways from their recent green claims conference, from RPC July 18, 2023.

 

This Feb 19 2023 piece from GALA is significant, setting out how the standards of proof differ between the CMA and the ASA and the enduring tension and frustration if 'purist' regulation makes it impossible to publish green claims. 

 

Some rulings and more guidance and commentary

 

Environmental Claims Special Edition of the Insight Newsletter

CAP Insight June 5, 2023

 

FCA 

GENDER STEREOTYPES AND BODY IMAGE 

 

Digitally altered images - update statement. CAP & BCAP 21 November, 2023. Mischon de Reya commentary here and update from Osborne Clarke Feb 1, 2024

International Women’s Day 2024 CAP News March 7, covers roles and characteristics, sexual objectification and body image, with multiple references to relevant cases and other associated guidance; International Men's Day 2023 November 9 was treated equally.

 

The rule states: [Advertisements] must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence. Full guidance from December 2018 is here; advice online from August 2020 is here. The rule came into force on 14 June 2019. From the guidance: ads may feature people undertaking gender-stereotypical roles e.g. a woman cleaning the house or a man doing DIY, or displaying gender-stereotypical characteristics e.g. a man being assertive or a woman being sensitive to others’ needs, but they should take care to avoid suggesting that stereotypical roles or characteristics are:

 

Always uniquely associated with one gender

The only options available to one gender

Never carried out or displayed by another gender

 

From CAP’s Insight piece 8/3/2019: ‘The ASA already takes a tough position on sexualisation, objectification and unhealthily-thin body image in ads (see also e.g. Celine ruling September 20, 2023.) Where these cases have previously been considered under rules about offence and social responsibility, they could also fall under the new rule.’ The first rulings happened 14/8/19; both VW E-Golf and Philadelphia Cheese were found to have breached the rules, but the Buxton water complaint on the same grounds was not upheld. There was some controversy around the VW decision in particular; trade press story here. Ruling April 2021: a paid-for Instagram post from Babyboo Fashion was banned for being likely to cause serious or widespread offence by objectifying women; case here. On body image, a May 2021 ruling found against a Max Mara ad here (extract of image) and - back to stereotyping - this is an interesting Sept 2021 ruling that did not uphold a complaint against a Strive Footwear commercial, but a more straightforward ruling against the Hurricane Spin Scrubber on March 27, 2024. Following their call for evidence in January 2022, CAP and BCAP have published an interim statement on body image in advertising November 3, 2022.

 

SEXUALITY/ SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY/ INCLUSION

 

The key sections in the CAP Code are Compliance Section 1 and Harm and Offense Section 4. The same sections apply in the BCAP Code. The CAP Code clause 1.3 Clause Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society casts a pretty wide net and can be deployed for example when ruling on portrayals of 'sexuality'; this Em Rose Onlyfans case from January 2024 is an example - the poster is this one and FK Twig and her Calvins got a dressing down Jan 10, 2024 for this ad. In a February 2022 Boohoo case a complaint about images on their website was upheld; see also this Drum story on the Adidas sports bra case May 2022. In October 2021, CAP issued Championing diversity during Black History Month, which includes a number of instructive rulings and 'a few best practices that can go a long way towards helping to deliver a campaign that champions racial diversity in a positive way.' Extending this topic, Tackling racial and ethnic stereotyping in UK ads from February 2022 reports on research findings and other reviews and sets out plans for positive development; Guidance on avoiding racial and ethnic stereotyping in ads was issued by CAP 25 May 2023. Referring to persons with disabilities in ads from CAP News 09 Dec 2021 covers inter alia negative stereotypes and trivialisation; CAP and BCAP closed August 24 2021 a consultation on harm and protected characteristics. A ruling went against Outsourceful Jan 24, 2024 for racial stereotyping. 

 

 SEXUALISATION/ SEXUAL IMAGERY

 

CAP and BCAP’s stricter rules prohibiting the sexual portrayal or sexual representation of under-18s (and those who appear to be under 18) in advertising came into force January 2018. The new rules provide that advertising must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. They are in full here​. CAP subsequently issued How to ensure your ad doesn’t break our new rules on sexualisation, setting out the key points to ensure compliance with the rules. For further advice, see CAP’s Advice Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Use of Stereotypes. Indecent advertising in fashion: Boohoo, Balenciaga and Pretty Little Thing from Freeths/ Lex December 2022 here walks us through some of the uncomfortable cases in this territory. Sexual imagery in advertising from DLA Piper Feb 2023 is a helpful analysis and includes reference to the January 2023 Demi Lovato ruling (image here).

 

PRICING
Pricing in advertising is often a source of complaint and sometimes competitor litigation.
It’s best to check prices in ads, especially new ads, with legal advisors

 

CAP Code Section 3 (Misleading advertising) carries several provisions under pricing, and the BCAP Code has the same territory, also under Section 3. Price statements in marcoms should also take account of the Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, under the auspices of DBEIS; the CAP advertising guidance Prices – General is helpful, and from June 2023 Make sure the price is right: using reference pricing in ads covers ground such as ‘strikethrough’ prices and ‘was-now’. Following the self-regulatory provisions should be sufficient, but it is as well to be aware of the statutory requirements. From the legislation header above, the CPRs' Regulation 6 (misleading omissions) carries requirements related to an 'invitation to purchase' and Schedule 1, the equivalent of the UCPD annex/ blacklist, sets out a number of price-related provisions e.g. 'bait' and 'bait and switch'. Another important influence in this context is the EU's Product Price Directive, with a UK transposition of the Price Marking Order 2004 (retained law). CAP News July 2023 To include or not to include? - VAT in stated prices has a best practice guide and in September 2020 At the right price: making price comparisons with previous prices. See March 2024 RRP pricing guidance here and here from CAP and this Premier Inn ruling May 1, 2024 is a good example of how not to use 'from' pricing.

 

DATA PROTECTION

 

Privacy issues should be reviewed with specialist advisors

 

A Round-Up Of DM Fines Issued By The ICO In 2024

Lewis Silkin June 4, 2024

Update on phase-out of third-party cookies on Chrome

Privacy Sandbox April 23, 2024

ICO responds to ad industry Wiggin/ Lex March 14, 2024

Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill. Link is to bill summary 8 March from Department for Science, Innovation & Technology

The bill is here; Herbert Smith Freehills LLPLex commentary March 13, 2023 here sets out changes as does What to Expect from Doyle Clayton March 5, 2024

The above bill did not make it through wash-up

 

The collection and use of personal data for marketing purposes is regulated by the new Data Protection Act 2018, which accompanies the General Data Protection Regulation GDPR. The UK Data Protection Authority the ICO provide important and valuable advice in all areas of privacy. Their GDPR guide is here and the link here provides access to the ICO interactive tool that will help small and medium-sized businesses with personal data within the EEA. On July 5, 2023 the ICO issued video guides for small organisations, covering data protection, direct marketing and soft opt-in. DCMS Announcement: Replacing the UK GDPR is from October 10, 2022; the article from DWF LLP/ Lex points out the confusion the proposal might create with the proposed Data Protection and Digital Information Bill. Meanwhile, some implications from the EU's Digital Services Act are set out here by Lewis Silkin/ Lex October 21, 2022 and New Digital Regulators on the 2023 Horizon from RPC/ Lex shows some distinctions between the EU and UK regulatory approaches. Harnessing AdTech and Advertiser First party data (ppt slides) from Lewis Silkin April 18, 2024 covers RTB, customer matching, cookies, and a number of other key legal issues related to data protection in the U.K. and Europe. 

 

CAP DATA

 

Can we get some privacy? A guide to the privacy rules CAP News April 25, 2024

Stay up to data: four key tips on using personal data for marketing. CAP News Jan 26, 2023

 

In November 2018, CAP updated and overhauled their Section 10 in the GDPR context and renamed it 'Use of data for marketing', reflecting their focus on marketing-associated issues versus ‘pure’ database activities. See Five top tips on our new rules on the use of data for marketing from November 2018 and from January 2022 CAP News Four key tips on using personal data for marketing. Also relevant is the IAB Transparency and Consent Framework, albeit the TCF has run into consent issues. On the issue of privacy rules in the context of featuring celebrities or members of the public, CAP issued in July 2020 A guide to the privacy rules (see above - re-issued April 2024).

 

CHANNEL RULES

 

Media bill becomes law; Lewis Silkin report June 6, 2024

Top tips on targeting and placement. CAP News Feb 22, 2024

This is helpful/ interesting: Comparison Between The Digital Services Act And The Online Safety Act 2023

Lewis Silkin February 5, 2024

 

Channel, i.e. placement, rules are shown by medium in our section C below. The BCAP (broadcasting) Code Section 32 includes scheduling rules for sensitive sectors such as alcohol and gambling. This August 2021 piece from Simmons & Simmons LLP In brief: media law and regulation in United Kingdom is a valuable covering of the regulatory ground in U.K. media. A recent development is the Directive 2018/1808 amends to the AVMS Directive extending scope online and delivering in particular new rules to video sharing platforms (VSPs), which include the identification of commercial communications where those exist. The UK legislation is here, Ofcom provider guidance as at December 2021 is here and a helpful piece from Taylor Wessing/ Lexology in February 2022 is Obligations on video-sharing platforms to regulate advertising. From CAP News Jan 25, 2024 Put a smile on your Face(book) with responsible advertising is rather less strained than the header.
 

 

 

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Read more

B. Content Rules

SECTION B CONTENT RULES

 

 

This section is longer than most. To help navigate it, some text is anchored' and linked to respective headings immediately below
We don't reproduce the codes, just the most significant rules under the headings below, CAP and BCAP shown together  

 

 

  1. SELF-REGULATION: THE CAP AND BCAP CODES

 

1.1. Recognition of advertising/ marketing communications

1.2. Misleadingness

1.2.8. Comparisons

Comparisons with Identifiable competitors

Other comparisons

Price comparisons

Imitation and denigration

1.2.9. Endorsements and testimonials

1.3. Harm and offence
Health/ safety
Social responsibility

Gender stereotyping

1.4. Environmental claims

 

  1. LEGISLATION IN ADVERTISING (Content)

 

2.1. CPRs and BPRs/ Unfair Commercial Practices Directive

2.2. Ofcom Broadcasting Code/ AVMS Directive

2.3. Pricing

 

 

1. SELF-REGULATION

 

The scope of the CAP code is here and BCAP here

 

1.1. Recognition of marketing communications

CAP Code Section 2

 

  • The CAP code provides that ‘… marketing communications must be identifiable as such’ (rule 2.1). This means that ‘they need to be designed and presented in a way that makes it clear that it is advertising material’ (From September 2016 Advice online, ‘Recognising marketing communications: Overview’)

  • Additionally, it provides that ‘Unsolicited e-mail marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as marketing communications without the need to open them’ (rule 2.2). ‘The medium or targeting will also be relevant when deciding what is necessary to ensure that consumers know they are viewing a marcom. Consumers should be able to tell from the envelope itself that a direct mailing is a marketing communication (Also from Recognising marketing communications: Overview)

  • Also, ‘Marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer. Definition. A consumer is anyone who is likely to see a given market communication, whether in the course of business or not.(CAP Code, Scope of Code) or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession; marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context’ (rule 2.3)

  • Marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications; for example, by heading them ‘advertisement feature’’ (rule 2.4)

  • On the other hand, using terms like ‘sponsorship’, ‘sponsored content’ and ‘in association with’ to describe an advertisement feature is unlikely to be acceptable, and the advertisement will not be considered clear. This was ruled by the ASA in Michelin Tyre plc and Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2015

  • For more detailed discussion on what is and isn’t acceptable, see CAP’s Guidance Recognising ads: advertisement features 

  • And CAP News in March 2021: Influencing Responsibly - Make clear upfront when ads are ads

 

BCAP Code, Section 2: Recognition of advertising

 

  • Advertisements must be obviously distinguishable from editorial content, especially if they use a situation, performance or style reminiscent of editorial content, to prevent the audience being confused between the two. The audience should quickly recognise the message as an advertisement (rule 2.1)

  • If used in an advertisement, an expression or sound effect associated with news bulletins or public service announcements (for example, ‘news flash’) needs special care. The audience should quickly recognise the message as an advertisement (rule 2.2)

  • The use of a title, logo, set or music associated with a programme that is broadcast on that medium needs special care. The audience should quickly recognise the message as an advertisement” (rule 2.3)

  • Television advertisements, except for programme promotions must not:
     

  • Refer to themselves in a way that might lead viewers to believe they are watching a programme
  • Feature, visually or orally, anyone who currently and regularly presents news or current affairs on television
  • Include extracts from broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings (rule 2.4)
     
  • Radio only: A person who currently and regularly reads the news on radio or television may voice radio advertisements but must not advertise products or services that are likely to be seen to compromise the impartiality of their news-reading role (rule 2.5)

 

 

 

CAP Code and BCAP Code, Section 3 (link is to the Section)

 

1.2.1. General

 

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not materially mislead, or be likely to materially mislead (CAP Code, rule 3.1; BCAP Code, rule 3.1)
     

    • When determining whether a business-to-consumer advertising is misleading, the ASA will apply the tests included in the CPRs. See the Statutory Regulation/ the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008/ Regulation 5 Misleading Actions section of this document for further information.

    • CAP publishes the Guidance note on misleading advertising in non-broadcast communications, and ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave’ under the CAP News banner December 2020

 

  • Obvious exaggerations (‘puffery’) and claims that the average consumer who sees the marketing communication is unlikely to take literally are allowed provided they do not materially mislead (CAP Code, rule 3.2; BCAP Code, rule 3.4)

 

1.2.2. Substantiation

 

  • Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation (CAP Code, rule 3.7; BCAP Code, rule 3.9)

  • Subjective claims must not mislead the consumer/ audience. Marketing communications/ advertisements must not imply that expressions of opinion are objective claims (CAP Code, rule 3.6; BCAP Code, rule 3.5)

  • The Best Guide to Objective vs Subjective Claims in the Universe. CAP News, 22 Oct 2020
  • Claims for the content of non-fiction publications should not exaggerate the value, accuracy, scientific validity or practical usefulness of the product. Note: For the purposes of the CAP Code, product means goods, services, ideas, causes, opportunities, prizes or gifts. Marketers must ensure that claims that have not been independently substantiated but are based merely on the content of a publication do not mislead consumers (CAP Code, rule 3.8). CAP has published a Help Note on the Marketing of Publications.

 

Example rulings

 

  1. A claim that a company had ‘the most comfortable beds in the world’ was considered by the ASA not to be misleading because it was subjective, as the favoured type of mattress would differ between consumers:
    ASA Ruling on Hypnosis, 2014

  2. Conversely, claims that drain cleaning products were No.1 for Bathroom Plughole Blockages’ and No. 1 for Kitchen Blockages’ were not puffery and therefore misleading. The ASA considered that the claims implied that the products were the best-selling ones in their category, however the Company that produced them could not demonstrate that they outsold their competitors’ products:
    ASA Ruling on Challs International Limited, 2016

  3. The ASA ruled that claims such as ‘improves fuel combustion which means better MPG and lower CO2 emissions for both petrol and diesel engines’, ‘Cuts emissions by 30-50% and improves MPG’, and ‘makes a positive environmental contribution to a cleaner atmosphere’ were in breach of the CAP Code because the advertiser did not hold adequate supporting evidences. In this case, the advertiser provided documentation including press releases, details of tests, customer testimonials and magazine articles, however this was not considered sufficient for the purposes of the Code:
    D Lock & Associates t/a Broquet, 2016

 

 

Misleading omissions

 

  • Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner. Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means (CAP Code, rule 3.3; BCAP Code, rule 3.2)

  • Marketing communications must not materially mislead by omitting the identity of the marketer. Some marketing communications must include the marketer's identity and contact details. Marketing communications that fall under the Database Practice or Employment sections of the Code must comply with the more detailed rules in those sections. Marketers should note the law requires marketers to identify themselves in some marketing communications. Marketers should take legal advice (CAP Code, rule 3.5; BCAP Code, rule 3.6)

 

For marketing communications that quote prices for advertised products, material information [for the purposes of rule 3.3] includes:

 

  • The main characteristics of the product

  • The identity (for example, a trading name) and geographical address of the marketer and any other trader on whose behalf the marketer is acting

  • The price of the advertised product, including taxes, or, if the nature of the product is such that the price cannot be calculated in advance, the manner in which the price is calculated

  • Delivery charges

  • The arrangements for payment, delivery, performance or compliant handling, if those differ from the arrangements that consumers are likely to reasonably expect

  • That consumers have the right to withdraw or cancel, if they have that right (see rule 3.55 marketers must promptly refund consumers who make valid claims under an advertised money-back guarantee)

 

Example rulings

 

  1. In December 2015, the ASA held that an online travel agent’s website omitted material information because it displayed the price of a flight that included a pre-applied discount, which was only available to consumers paying via a pre-paid Visa card. Therefore, it was misleading and in breach of Rule 3.3 of the CAP Code and 3.2 of the BCAP Code
    ASA Ruling on Opodo Ltd, 2015

     

  2. In December 2017 All Care, a care service website, omitted material information because it suggested that DBS (Disclosure & Barring checks) would be paid for all, when they only paid for employees who stayed longer than a year. Another claim ‘Rates of pay £8.30 per hour Monday through Friday’ was taken to mean that that rate would apply for all hours worked including travel time between clients during working hours. Carers were only paid for the hours delivering care and were not paid for travel time between clients; the ad did not make that clear:
    ASA ruling on All Care Dec2017

     

  3. In May 2016 the ASA ruled that a sales promotion featured on a betting slip featured text that offered a self-service £2 free bet. Advertiser Ladbrokes stated that the promotion disclosed the signification condition ‘Promotion runs whilst stocks last’ on their website and on posters, but the betting slips themselves had not included that; the ASA considered this was material information that should have been made sufficiently clear in a qualifying statement at the very least
    https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/ladbrokes-betting-gaming-ltd-a15-321841.html

 

  • Advertisements must not falsely imply that the advertiser is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession. Advertisements must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context (BCAP Code, rule 3.7; also CAP Code rule 2.3 under Advertisement recognition)

  • No advertisement may use images of very brief duration, or any other technique that is likely to influence consumers, without their being fully aware of what has been done” (BCAP Code, rule 3.8)

 

1.2.3. Qualifications

 

  • Advertising must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify (CAP Code, rule 3.9; BCAP Code 3.10)

  • Any qualifications of a claim must be clearly presented (CAP Code, rule 3.10; BCAP Code 3.11).

 

 

 

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product or service (CAP Code, rule 3.11; BCAP Code, rule 3.12)

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not present rights that consumers are afforded by the law as a distinctive feature of the advertiser’s/marketer’s offer (CAP Code rule 3.12; BCAP Code rule 3.13)

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not suggest that their claims are universally accepted if a significant division of informed or scientific opinion exists (CAP Code, rule 3.13; BCAP Code, rule 3.14)

  • Advertisements must not mislead about the nature or extent of the risk to consumers’ personal security, or that of their families, if they do not buy the advertised product or service (BCAP Code, Rule 3.15)

 

Example rulings

 

1.In January 2014 the website for a company marketing a ‘Water Fuel Cell’ product, designed to convert water into HHO gas. The home page (www.waterfuelcell.co.uk) included the headline claim "Save Fuel, Save Money & Save the Environment". The ASA considered that the claims had not been substantiated and that the video exaggerated the capabilities of the product:

https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/water-fuel-cell-ltd-a13-241209.html

 

2. In July 2017, the ASA ruled against an email for Etihad Airways offering an upgraded seat after a flight was purchased with Etihad. It included text which stated ‘Upgrade to experience our business studio’. An image included in the ad showed a cabin that featured a horizontal and dressed bed with a bedside table and other storage space. The ASA considered the ad exaggerated the benefit of purchasing a Business Class cabin product and CAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading Advertising), and 3.11 (Exaggeration)

 

3. A July 2015 ruling on a press ad headed ‘For the perfect age look rejuvenated irresistibly radiant’, which featured an image of Helen Mirren's face under the heading ‘Age perfect’: the complainant challenged whether the ads misleadingly exaggerated the likely effect that could be achieved by consumers. The ASA did not uphold the complaint, considering that recent press images of Ms. Mirren would have reflected similar professional styling and make-up as the ad images, without any post-production amendments, and that her appearance in the ads was comparable to those more candid images:
https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/loral-uk-ltd-a15-297452.html

 

1.2.5. Prohibited claims

 

Prohibited claims are prohibited regardless of any substantiation provided in support of them (CAP Code and BCAP Code, Prohibited Claims).

  • A marketing communication must not claim that products can facilitate winning a game of chance (CAP Code, rule 3.14; BCAP Code, rule 3.16)

  • Marketing communications must not specifically claim that the advertiser’s job or livelihood is at risk if the consumer does not buy the product (CAP Code, rule 3.15; BCAP Code, rule 3.17)
  • A marketing communication must not promote a pyramid promotional scheme (CAP Code, Rule 3.16)
 

 

1.2.6. Pricing 

 

Note: stating prices correctly in advertising can be difficult from a regulatory perspective. If uncertain, check with your/ your client’s lawyers. The following, as with all of the contents of this website, does not constitute advice, just what the rules say. See also the later Legislation section (point 2) or some significant case law

 

Price statements in marcoms/ advertisements should take account of the Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CAP Code, Prices Background). Price statements include statements about the manner in which the price will be calculated as well as definite prices

 

  • Price statements must not mislead by an omission, an undue emphasis or a distortion. They must relate to the product or service that is featured in the marketing communication/ advertisement (CAP Code, rule 3.17; BCAP Code, rule 3.18)
  • Quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers. However, VAT-exclusive prices may be given if all those to whom the price claim is clearly addressed pay no VAT or can recover VAT.  Such VAT-exclusive prices must be accompanied by a prominent statement of the amount or rate of VAT payable (CAP Code, rule 3.18; BCAP Code, rule 3.19). See Best Practice Guidance on VAT-inclusive and VAT-exclusive Price Claims Advertising Guidance January 2018
  • If a tax, duty, fee or charge cannot be calculated in advance (for example, if it is dependent on the consumer’s circumstances), the marketing communication/ advertisement must make clear that it is excluded from the quoted price and state how it will be calculated (CAP Code, rule 3.19; BCAP Code, rule 3.20)
  • Marketing communications/ advertisements that state prices must also state applicable delivery, freight or postal charges or, if those cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, state that such charges will be payable (CAP Code, rule 3.20; BCAP Code, rule 3.22)
  • Advertisements that quote instalment costs must state the total price of the advertised product or service and the instalment frequency as prominently as the cost of individual instalments (BCAP Code, rule 3.21)
  • If the price of a product depends on another, marketing communications/ advertisements must make clear the extent of the commitment the consumer is required to make in order to obtain the advertised price (CAP Code, rule 3.21; BCAP Code, rule 3.23)
  • If a price claim is one that states the price is ‘up to’ or ‘from’, it must not exaggerate the availability or amount of benefits likely to be obtained by the customer (CAP Code, rule 3.22; BCAP Code, rule 3.24)

 

Key points from CAP Advice/ Advertising Guidance Prices – General 
(And two rulings)

 

Ensure prices match the product shown

 

  • Marketers should not feature a picture of a top-of-the-range or enhanced product and quote in the headline a price for a lower specification model
  • For example, in 2014 the ASA upheld a complaint that a car ad was misleading because the models featured were shown with metallic paint and alloy wheels, which were not included in the price shown BMW UK Ltd, 5 March 2014 breached 3.1 and 3.3 CAP
  • If the price of the model shown is stated with less prominence than the headline price claim, the ad still has the potential to mislead (in this case the info was included in the T&Cs)
  • Similarly, even if that price is prefaced by ‘from’, consumers are still likely to infer that it relates to the model shown and not to a lower spec. product not featured in the ad.

 

Do not use ‘from’ and ‘up to’ to exaggerate the availability of a product at a given price

 

  • In the past the ASA has applied a rule of thumb that 10% of the products or services advertised should usually be available at the "from" or "up to" price based on the 2010 BIS Pricing Practices Guide. In 2016 the CTSI published new Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices. This new guidance states that, when using “from” or “up to” to advertise a saving, advertisers must ensure that a significant proportion of sale items are discounted at the maximum saving, and that these claims represent the true overall picture of the price promotion
  • Whilst the current guidance no longer uses the 10% rule, and instead states that a significant proportion should be available, it offers no further guidance on what is considered a significant proportion, and the ASA will investigate this on a case by case basis. An ad for a January sale which stated “up to 70% off plus a further 10% off” was upheld by the ASA because the number of sale items which were discounted by 70% before the additional 10% discount was 8.63%, which was not considered a significant proportion (Better Bathrooms UK Ltd, 4 October 2017).

 

Additional CAP advertising guidance

 

Best Practice Guidance on VAT-inclusive and VAT-exclusive Price Claims Advertising Guidance January 2018

Retailers’ Price Comparisons February 2013

 Lowest Price Claims and Price Promises February 2013

Availability September 2016

 

See also provisions from the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 under Point 2 in this section

 

1.2.7. Free

 

Principle

 

Marketing communications must not advertise a product as ‘free’, ‘gratis’, ‘without charge’ or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than an unavoidable cost of responding and collecting or paying for delivery of the product (CAP Code and BCAP Code, ‘Free’ Claims Principle)

 

  • If there is a ‘free’ offer on a product, the marketing communication/ advertisement that presents that offer must make clear the extent of commitment the consumer must make to take advantage of it (CAP Code, rule 3.23; BCAP Code, rule 3.25)
  • Marketing communications/advertisements must not describe a product as “free” if –


 

  • Consumers have to pay packing, packaging, handling or administration charges
  • The cost of response, including the price of a product that consumers must buy in order to take advantage of the offer, has been increased, except where the increase results from factors that are unrelated to the cost of the promotion; or
  • The quality of the product or service that the consumer must buy in order to take advantage of the offer has been reduced (CAP Code, rule 3.24; BCAP Code, rule 3.25)

 

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not describe part of a package as ‘free’ if that part is included in the package price, unless a consumer is likely to regard that part as an additional benefit because it has recently been added to the package without increasing its price (CAP Code, rule 3.25; BCAP Code, rule 3.26)
  • Marketing communications/advertisements must not use the term ‘free trial’ to in fact describe a ‘satisfaction or your money back’ offer, or to describe an offer for which a non-refundable purchase is required (CAP Code, rule 3.26; BCAP Code, rule 3.27)

 

 

Guidance

 

  • An extensive Advertising Guidance note on the use of Free Claims is published jointly by CAP and BCAP, last revised September 2010. This includes, for example, the difference between a ‘conditional purchase offer’ and a ‘package’.
  • Keep your “free” claims problem-free. CAP News 22 October 2020 and issued again September 30, 2021. Covers pure ‘free’ claims, ‘Conditional purchase’ promotions (Marketers are allowed to use the term 'free' in situations where receiving a free product or service is contingent on consumers purchasing another item - provided the quality of the paid-for item has not been reduced, and the paid-for item’s price has not been increased to cover the cost of supplying the free item) and Package Offers, with links to other guidances on the topic and some relevant rulings

 

Rulings search ‘free’

https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/rulings.html?q=Free

 

Example ruling

 

A February 2014 ruling upheld a complaint about a Bet 365 TV commercial and claims on the website www.bet365.com, which promoted a ‘Free Bet Offer’. The terms stated ‘Free bet winnings exclude stake’.  However, customers would have to place their own stake again in order to make the next bet, and would not be offered an additional free stake or matched stake by the advertisers.  On that basis, the ASA did not consider that the promotion offered winning customers any 'free' element when making their subsequent bet:

https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/hillside-new-media-ltd-a13-245703.html

 

 

 

The ASA will consider unqualified superlative claims as comparative claims against all competing products. Superiority claims must be supported by evidence unless they are obvious puffery (i.e. claims that consumers are unlikely to take literally). Objective superiority claims must make clear the aspect of the product or service or the marketer’s/ advertiser’s performance that is claimed to be superior (CAP Code and BCAP Code, Comparisons principle). A quick guide to comparative advertising from CAP News Feb 2021 and Shall I compare thee…? Making comparisons with identifiable competitors. CAP News May 4th, 2023

 

 

Comparisons with identifiable competitors

 

  • From CAP News 31/3/2016: Identification can be explicitly or by implication; you don’t have to name a competitor
  • Marketing communications/ advertisements that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or service or the competing product or service (CAP Code, rule 3.33; BCAP Code, rule 3.33)
  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must compare products or services that are used for the same need or intended for the same purpose (CAP Code, rule 3.34; BCAP Code, rule 3.34)
  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must objectively compare at least one material, relevant, verifiable and representative feature of the two products, which may include price (CAP Code, rule 3.35; BCAP Code, rule 3.35)
  • Vexed by verifiability? How to make sure your ads comply. CAP News. February 2020

  • ‘Verifiable’ simply means including enough information in the ad to enable consumers to fully understand, and check the accuracy of comparative claims. In order to ensure that this is the case, an ad should include, for example, information about what the comparative claim is based on and (in some cases) a signpost to where consumers can find this information
  • The link below is to a significant and relevant Judicial Review of an ASA ruling in the context of Tesco ‘Price Promise’ advertising; the core of the case relates to rule 3.34 above on products ‘used for the same need or intended for the same purpose’ and the interpretation in law of ‘sufficient interchangeability’:
    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2014/3680.html
  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not create confusion between the marketer/advertiser and its competitors or between the marketer and the competitor’s product, trade mark, trade name or other distinguishing mark and that of a competitor (CAP Code, rule 3.36; BCAP Code, rule 3.36)
  • Certain EU agricultural products and foods are, because of their unique geographical area and method of production, given special protection by being registered as having a ‘designation of origin’. Products that are registered as having a ‘designation of origin’ should be compared only with other products with the same designation (CAP Code, rule 3.37; BCAP Code, rule 3.37)

 

 

Other comparisons

 

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements that include comparisons with unidentifiable competitors must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer. The elements of the comparison must not be selected to give the advertiser an unrepresentative advantage (CAP Code, rule 3.38; BCAP Code, rule 3.38)

 

Price comparisons

 

  • When a marketing communication/advertisement makes a price comparison with another product, the basis of that comparison must be made clear (CAP Code, rule 3.39; BCAP Code, rule 3.39)
  • Price comparisons must not mislead a consumer by falsely claiming a price advantage. Comparisons that state a recommended retail price are likely to mislead if the recommended retail price differs significantly from the price at which the product or service is generally sold (CAP Code, rule 3.40; BCAP Code, rule 3.40)
  • September 2020 CAP News provided At the right price: making price comparisons with previous prices.

 

CAP also publishes useful Help Notes on Retailers’ Price Comparisons and Lowest Price Claims and Price Promises. The ASA will take CTSI guidance into account when assessing price claims in advertising

 

Rulings search ‘Comparisons’

https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/rulings.html?q=Comparisons

 

A significant July 2022 ruling against the verifiability of the AA's 'No.1'advertising after an RAC complaint.

 

Imitation and denigration

 

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not mislead consumers about who manufactures the product (CAP Code, rule 3.41; BCAP Code, rule 3.41)

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not discredit or denigrate another product, advertiser or advertisement, or a trade mark, trade name or other distinguishing mark (CAP Code, Rule 3.42; BCAP Code, rule 3.42)

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not take unfair advantage of the reputation of a competitor’s trade mark, trade name or other distinguishing mark or of the designation of origin of a competing product (CAP Code, rule 3.43; BCAP Code, rule 3.43)

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not present a product as an imitation or replica of a product with a protected trade mark or trade name (CAP Code, rule 3.44; BCAP Code, rule 3.44)

 

Rulings search ‘Denigration’

https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/rulings.html?q=denigration+

 

 

Advertising that includes endorsements or testimonials may also be subject to Section 6: Privacy

 

  • Marketers must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless it is obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it. CAP Code, rule 3.45)

  • Testimonials or endorsements used in advertising must be genuine, unless they are obviously fictitious, and be supported by documentary evidence. Testimonials and endorsements must relate to the advertised product or service. Claims that are likely to be interpreted as factual and appear in advertisements must not mislead or be likely to mislead (BCAP Code, rule 3.45)

  • Claims that are likely to be interpreted as factual and appear in a testimonial must not mislead or be likely to mislead the consumer (CAP Code, rule 3.47)

  • Testimonials must relate to the advertised product or service (CAP Code, rule 3.46; BCAP Code, rule 3.45)

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not feature a testimonial without permission (CAP Code, rule 3.48; BCAP Code, rule 3.46) Exceptions are normally made for accurate statements taken from a published source, quotations from a publication or references to a test, trial, professional endorsement, research facility or professional journal, which may be acceptable without express permission (CAP Code only for this caveat, rule 3.48)

  • Advertisements must not display a trust mark, quality mark or equivalent without the necessary authorisation. Advertisements must not claim that the advertiser (or any other entity referred to), the advertisement/ marketing communication or the advertised product or service has been approved, endorsed or authorised by any person or body if it has not, or without complying with the terms of the approval, endorsement or authorisation (CAP Code, rule 3.50; BCAP Code, rule 3.47)

  • Marketers must not refer in a marketing communication to advice received from CAP or imply endorsement by the ASA or CAP (CAP Code, Rule 3.49)

  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not falsely claim that the marketer/ advertiser, or other entity referred to in the marketing communication/ advertisement, is a signatory to a code of conduct. They must not falsely claim that a code of conduct has an endorsement from a public or other body (CAP Code, rule 3.51; BCAP Code, rule 3.48)

  • Marketing communications must not use the Royal Arms or Emblems without prior permission from the Lord Chamberlain’s office. References to a Royal Warrant should be checked with the Royal Warrant Holders’ Association (CAP Code, rule 3.52)

  • For guidance on the rules when featuring celebrities or members of the public, see CAP’s July 2020 A guide to the Privacy rules 
  • CAP issued Avoiding ‘Fake Views’ – A guide to testimonials and endorsements 10 Dec 2020. This covers issues such as restricted categories, incentivisation, identification, obtaining permission and demonstrating that testimonies are genuine, as well as showing adjudications relevant to those issues

 

Rulings search ‘Endorsements and testimonials’

https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/rulings.html?q=endorsements+and+testimonials

 

1.3. Section 4: Harm and offence
Amends April 2020 incorporated 

 

The overarching principle of this section is that marketers should consider the prevailing standards in society and the context in which a marketing communication is likely to appear, in order to minimise the potential risk of causing harm or serious or widespread offence (CAP Code, Harm and Offence Principle). The context in which an advertisement is likely to be broadcast must be taken into account to avoid unsuitable scheduling; see Section 32 Scheduling (BCAP Code additional Harm and Offense principle)

 

  • Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of: age; disability; gender; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards
  • Marketing communications may be distasteful without necessarily breaching this rule. Marketers are urged to consider public sensitivities before using potentially offensive material. The fact that a product is offensive to some people is not grounds for finding a marketing communication in breach of the Code (CAP Code, rule 4.1)
  • Advertisements must contain nothing that could cause physical, mental, moral or social harm to persons under the age of 18 (BCAP Code, rule 4.1)
  • Marketing communications must not cause fear or distress without justifiable reason; if it can be justified, the fear or distress should not be excessive. Marketers must not use a shocking claim or image merely to attract attention (CAP Code, rule 4.2) Advertisements must not distress the audience without justifiable reason. Advertisements must not exploit the audience's fears or superstitions (BCAP Code, rule 4.10)
  • Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of: age; disability; gender; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation (BCAP Code, rule 4.2)
  • References to anyone who is dead must be handled with particular care to avoid causing offence or distress (CAP Code, rule 4.3)
  • Advertisements must not exploit the special trust that persons under the age of 18 place in parents, guardians, teachers or other persons (BCAP Code, rule 4.3)
  • Marketing communications must contain nothing that is likely to condone or encourage violence or anti-social behaviour (CAP Code, rule 4.4) Advertisements must not condone or encourage violence, crime, disorder or anti-social behaviour (BCAP Code, rule 4.9)
  • Marketing communications, especially those addressed to or depicting a child, must not condone or encourage an unsafe practice; see Section 5: Children (CAP Code, rule 4.5)
  • Marketing communications must not encourage consumers to drink and drive. Marketing communications must, where relevant, include a prominent warning on the dangers of drinking and driving and must not suggest that the effects of drinking alcohol can be masked (CAP Code, rule 4.6)
  • Marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to marketing communications whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive (CAP Code, rule 4.8, BCAP Code, rule 4.13)
  • [Advertisements] must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence (CAP Code, rule 4.9, BCAP Code rule 4.14) See Advertising Guidance: Depicting gender stereotypes likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence
  • See also Harm and Offence: Crossing the line - 2020 style. CAP News, 12 Nov 2020 looks at three rulings that have played on or referenced current events, and considers how these cases crossed the line in terms of harm and offence rules
  • And ‘Don’t Flub It Up!  CAP News. 12 Nov 2020. Explores how you can and can't use swear words 
 

Health/ safety

 

  • Advertisements must not include material that is likely to condone or encourage behaviour that prejudices health or safety (BCAP Code, rule 4.4)
  • Marketing communications, especially those addressed to or depicting a child, must not condone or encourage an unsafe practice (CAP code rule 4.5; see section 5: Children)
  • Re above, this January 2022 ruling that found against Dairylea cheese depicting two girls eating while hanging upside down breached the above rule and others in section 5
  • Radio only: Advertisements must not include sounds that are likely to create a safety hazard, for example, to those listening to the radio while driving (BCAP Code, rule 4.5)
  • Television only: advertisements must not include visual effects or techniques that are likely to affect adversely members of the audience with photosensitive epilepsy. For further guidance, see Ofcom's Guidance Note for Licensees on Flashing Images and Regular Patterns in Television at: Section-2-Guidance-Notes.pdf (Annex 1)
 

 

Social responsibility

 

  • Advertisements must not condone or encourage harmful discriminatory behaviour or treatment. Advertisements must not prejudice respect for human dignity (BCAP Code, rule 4.8)
  • Television only: Animals must not be harmed or distressed as a result of the production of an advertisement (BCAP Code, rule 4.11)
  • Advertisements must not condone or encourage behaviour grossly prejudicial to the protection of the environment (BCAP Code, rule 4.12)

 

Advertising guidance on social responsibility

https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/social-responsibility.html

 

 

 

 

Rulings search ‘Offense’

https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/rulings.html?q=harm+and+offense

 

Some rulings

 

1.September 2015: a national press ad for Paddy Power featured odds on the candidates for the 2015 FIFA presidential election. An image showed Sepp Blatter revealing the winner by holding up a piece of paper which said ‘ME’. Text at the top of the ad stated, "JUST F**K OFF ALREADY!". Because the ASA did not consider the ad would be offensive to those who were likely to see it, it was concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/paddy-power-plc-a15-304402.html

2.July 2014. Trocaderos South Shields. A posting on the TrocStars' Facebook page featured a poster with an image of two women both drinking from large glasses and text which stated "Got yourself drunk at Trocs? Woke up in someone else's bed? Walk of shame? F*ck that, it's the stride of pride!" Because the ad used offensive language, encouraged excessive drinking and linked alcohol with sexual activity, the ASA concluded that it was irresponsible and in breach of the advertising Code (rule 4.1, Harm and offence)
https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/camerons-brewery-ltd-and-trocaderos-south-shields-a14-269470.html

3. February 2014: a TV ad for Kabuto noodles featured on-screen text that stated "The improvised ad break" and "Scenario #3 Kabuto Samurai (dubbed)". The ad featured four actors on a stage in front of an audience. Two of the actors were speaking in an accent, which the remaining two actors were ‘translating’. The complainant stated the ad was offensive because it mocked other cultures and races. The ASA considered that the humour was derived from the fictitious translation, rather than from mocking the culture and race of others. Whilst it was acknowledged that some viewers may find the ad distasteful, the ASA did not consider it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, or encourage harmful and discriminatory behaviour or treatment. On that basis, it was concluded that the ad did not breach the Code:
https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/kabuto-foods-ltd-a13-250344.html

 

 

 

The rules (see below for clauses)

CAP Code Section 11:
https://www.asa.org.uk/type/non_broadcast/code_section/11.html

BCAP Code Section 9:
https://www.asa.org.uk/type/broadcast/code_section/09.html

 

Key guidance 

CMA Green Claims Code September 2021

Carries statutory authority weight; see also  the CMA's Green Claims Checklist

It’s not that easy being ‘green’ – promoting good work without misleading by omission.

CAP News June 5, 2024

Environmental Claims Special Edition of the Insight Newsletter

CAP Insight June 5, 2023

Misleading environmental claims and social responsibility 

Highly significant June 2023 guidance; recent rulings, emphasis on social responsibility

 

Other guidance/ work

Ensuring your environmental claims are more than just hot air

CAP News June 2020
Updated environmental guidance: green disposal claims 

CAP News 28 November, 2023

 ASA website Our work on Climate Change and Environmental Claims

 

Internationally

WFA Planet Pledge April 2021 Global Guidance on Environmental Claims April 2022

ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code 

Chapter D for environmental claims 

The CAP and BCAP codes

 

  • The basis of environmental claims must be clear. Unqualified claims could mislead if they omit significant information. (CAP Code, rule 11.1; BCAP Code, rule 9.2)
  • The meaning of all terms used in marketing communications/ advertisements must be clear to consumers (CAP Code, rule 11.2; BCAP Code, rule 9.3); see October 2021 Alpro ruling here
  • Absolute claims must be supported by a high level of substantiation. Comparative claims such as "greener" or "friendlier" can be justified, for example, if the advertised product provides a total environmental benefit over that of the marketer's previous product or competitor products and the basis of the comparison is clear (CAP Code, rule 11.3; BCAP Code, rule 9.4)
  • Marketers must base environmental claims on the full life cycle of the advertised product, unless the marketing communication states otherwise, and must make clear the limits of the life cycle. If a general claim cannot be justified, a more limited claim about specific aspects of a product might be justifiable. Marketers must ensure claims that are based on only part of the advertised product's life cycle do not mislead consumers about the product's total environmental impact (CAP Code, rule 11.4; BCAP Code, rule 9.5)
  • Marketers must not suggest that their claims are universally accepted if a significant division of informed or scientific opinion exists (CAP Code, rule 11.5; BCAP Code, rule 9.6)
  • If a product has never had a demonstrably adverse effect on the environment, marketing communications must not imply that the formulation has changed to improve the product in the way claimed. Marketers may, however, claim that a product has always been designed in a way that omits an ingredient or process known to harm the environment (CAP Code, rule 11.6; BCAP Code, rule 9.7)
  • Marketing communications/ advertisements must not mislead consumers about the environmental benefit that a product offers; for example, by highlighting the absence of an environmentally damaging ingredient if that ingredient is not usually found in competing products or by highlighting an environmental benefit that results from a legal obligation if competing products are subject to that legal obligation (CAP Code, rule 11.7; BCAP Code, rule 9.8)
  • This rule must be read in conjunction with Directive 2010/30/EU and the Energy Information Regulations 2011 on labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products and its subsequent delegated regulations. The Directive introduces an information and labelling framework whereby delegated regulations will detail which products need to contain an energy efficiency rating or fiche. The rule only applies to products which are subject to a delegated regulation

 

From 1 August 2017 Regulation EU 2017/1369 mandates a rescaling of existing energy labelling to provide more accurate information for consumers, including in advertising, where the energy efficiency class of a product and the range of classes available will need to be given. The existing delegated regulation continues to apply whilst that rescaling process is ongoing. (GRS note: The Regulation is retained legislation in the U.K. See also The Energy Information (Amendment) Regulations 2020). The rule:

 

  • Marketing communications for specific energy-related products, subject to a delegated regulation, that include energy-related information or disclose price information, must include an indication of the product's energy efficiency class i.e. in the range A+++ to G.  (CAP Code, rule 11.8; BCAP Code, rule 9.9)

 

The following rule is subject to the same conditions as above, i.e. the rule must be read in conjunction with etc.

 

  • Marketers must make product fiche (data sheet) information about products that fall under delegated regulations available to consumers before commitment (CAP Code, rule 11.9; BCAP Code, rule 9.10)

 

EC guidance

 

For those responsible for application of environmental claims beyond the U.K., the Commission's 2021 Guidance on the interpretation and application of Directive 2005/29/EC includes 'environmental claims' under Section 4.1.1. 

 

 

2.1. The CPRs and BPRs

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (the CPRs)

 

  • The CPRs implement Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament concerning unfair business–to-consumer commercial practices, known as the UCPD and the seminal legislation that impacts marketing and advertising in Europe 
  • The CPRs apply to commercial practices 'directly connected with the promotion, sale or supply of a product to consumers, including those before, during and after a contract is made' (Regulation 2). They provide a general prohibition of unfair commercial practices, with particular attention to commercial practices that are misleading and aggressive (Regulations 5, 6 and 7). The somehwat complex CPR structure can be found  in the OFT CPR Guidance document (see P.5). Relevant provisions, largely from Regulations 5 and 6, and Schedule I, are reflected in self-regulation misleadingness and promotional marketing rules in particular
  • Schedule 1 of the CPRs provides a list of commercial practices that are prohibited in all circumstances.The prohibitions most relevant to marketing communications/ promotional marketing are here

 

The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (the BPRs)

 

The BPRs implement Directive 2006/114/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning misleading and comparative advertising. The aim of the Directive is to protect traders against misleading advertising and to lay down the conditions under which comparative advertising is permitted. Key extracts are here.

 

Appendix 1 of the CAP Code and Appendix 3 of the BCAP Code provide useful overviews of the CPRs and BPRs

 

2.2 Ofcom Broadcasting Code/ AVMS Directive

 

The other significant piece of legislation that affects general commercial content rules in Broadcast and some online media including Video-sharing platforms is that from the Ofcom Broadcasting Code (OBC) Appendix 2, taken from the Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU, amended by Directive 2018/1808 and providing that audiovisual commercial communications shall not (non-exhaustively):

 

(i) prejudice respect for human dignity

(ii) include or promote any discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, nationality, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation

(iii) encourage behaviour prejudicial to health or safety

 

The regulation of advertising on videosharing platforms from Ofcom in December 2021 sets out final arrangements in the context of amends to the AVMS Directive from Directive 2018/1808 linked above; see P.7 in particular

 

2.3. Pricing

 

While the statutory measures are well covered/ reflected in Self-Regulation set out under pt. 1.2.6, it’s as well to know the provisions in law. Equally, price statements in marcoms can be very sensitive and should be reviewed by legal advisors

 

Legislation

 

Product Price Directive 98/6/EC: 
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX:31998L0006

UK implementation: Price Marking Order 2004
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/102/made

Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2005:149:0022:0039:en:PDF

UK Implementation: The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs)
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/1277/contents/made

 

Key case

 

CJEU decision in Citroën/ ZLW case ruled that the price must be the ‘final’/ selling price including VAT/ taxes and other price components/ necessary costs. The judgment is here: 

http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=181466&doclang=EN

 

The CPRs and price in advertising

 

  • The most immediately relevant clauses related to the specific price that should be presented in advertising is from the CPRs’ Regulation 6, Misleading Omissions. The context in which a price in advertising is likely to appear is described as an ‘Invitation to Purchase’, meaning ‘a commercial communication which indicates characteristics of the product and the price in a way appropriate to the means of that commercial communication and thereby enables the consumer to make a purchase.’
  • The information that must be included in an ‘invitation to Purchase’, and the related price requirements, are shown in the linked Regulation 6 file above, or in a note we have extracted here: 
    http://www.g-regs.com/downloads/UKGenI2PextractCPRs.pdf

 

Other pricing-related rules from the CPRs are referenced above under Pt. 2.1.

 

 

 

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C. Channel Rules

1. TV/Radio/VOD

SECTION C - TV INC VOD & RADIO

 

 

KEY RULES

 

  • The rules in Content Section B apply; where there are distinctions between CAP and BCAP, BCAP obviously applies in this context (except VOD; see below)
  • Statutory provisions apply to all media, except those (shown in this section) specifically applying to broadcast communications content and placement
  • General content rules specific to TV and Radio are also from the Ofcom Broadcasting Code (OBC) Appendix 2, taken from the Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU and providing that audiovisual commercial communications shall not (non-exhaustively): (i) prejudice respect for human dignity (ii) include or promote any discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, nationality, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (iii) encourage behaviour prejudicial to health or safety
  • Surreptitious advertising - a reference to a product, service or trade mark that is contained within a programme, where that reference is intended by the broadcaster to serve as advertising and that is not made clear to the audience - is prohibited (Rule 9.3, Broadcasting Code)
  • Section 32 of the BCAP Code contains the scheduling rules in broadcasting. Click on the link to see which and when product categories can or can’t be shown
  • February 2022 CAP published I can see clearly now: an update on the implementation of superimposed text guidance  

 

VOD

 

The ASA is designated by Ofcom as the co-regulator for advertising on VOD services. Appendix 2 has been included in the CAP Code; this will apply to regulated on-demand services and reflect the legal requirements in the Communications Act. Remit note is here. The Appendix doesn’t go beyond the existing CAP rules

 

 
PRODUCT PLACEMENT

 

  1. Films (films made for cinema and films, including single dramas and single documentaries, made for television or other audiovisual media services
  2. Series made for television (or other audiovisual media services)
  3. Sports programmes and
  4. Light entertainment programmes (Rule 9.6, Ofcom Broadcasting Code OBC)
     
  • Programmes that fall within the permitted genres must not contain product placement if they are:
     
  1. News programmes; or
  2. Children’s programmes (i.e. those for viewing primarily by persons under the age of sixteen) Rule 9.7, OBC
     
  • Product placement must not influence the content and scheduling of a programme in a way that affects the responsibility and editorial independence of the broadcaster 
  • References to placed products, services and trademarks must not be promotional 
  • References to placed products, services and trademarks must not be unduly prominent
  • Other pp rules e.g. banned product sectors are shown in Section 9 of the OBC

 

SPONSORSHIP
(extracts only)

 

From Ofcom Section nine: Commercial references on TV

 

  • News and current affairs programmes must not be sponsored (Rule 9.15, OBC)
  • Programming (including a channel) may not be sponsored by any sponsor that is prohibited from advertising on television. This rule does not apply to electronic cigarettes and refill containers which are subject to Rule 9.16(a) (Rule 9.16, OBC). Sponsored programming with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting electronic cigarettes and/ or refill containers is prohibited (Rule 9.16 (a), OBC)
  • Sponsorship must comply with both the content and scheduling rules that apply to television advertising (Rule 9.17, OBC)
  • A sponsor must not influence the content and/ or scheduling of a channel or programming in such a way as to impair the responsibility and editorial independence of the broadcaster (Rule 9.18, OBC)
  • Sponsorship must be clearly identified by means of sponsorship credits. These must make clear:

 

  1. The identity of the sponsorship by reference to its name or trade mark; and
  2. The association between the sponsor and the sponsored content (Rule 9.19, OBC)

 

RADIO

 

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code/section-ten-commercial-communications-radio

 

  • Programming that is subject to, or associated with, a commercial arrangement must be appropriately signalled, so as to ensure that the commercial arrangement is transparent to listeners (Rule 10.1, OBC)
  • No commercial reference, or material that implies a commercial arrangement, is permitted in or around news bulletins or news desk presentations (Rule 10.3, OBC)
  • No commercial reference, or material that implies a commercial arrangement, is permitted on radio services primarily aimed at children or in children’s programming included in any service (Rule 10.4, OBC)
  • No programming may be subject to a commercial arrangement with a third party that is prohibited from advertising on radio. This rule does not apply to electronic cigarettes and refill containers which are subject to Rule 10.6 (a) -Rule 10.6, OBC. (Sponsored programming with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting electronic cigarettes and/or refill containers is prohibited (Rule 10.6 (a), OBC)
  • The advertising content and scheduling rules that apply to radio broadcasting also apply to commercial references in programming (Rule 10.7, OBC)
  • Commercial references that require confirmation or substantiation prior to broadcast must be cleared for broadcast in the same way as advertisements (Rule 10.8, OBC)

 

 

 

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2. Cinema/Press/Outdoor

SECTION C: CINEMA, PRINT, OUTDOOR

 

 

CINEMA

 

  • The rules in Content Section B apply; where there are distinctions between CAP and BCAP, the CAP Code rules obviously apply in this context; statutory provisions apply to all media
  • Clearance via the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA)

 

 
 PRINT

 

Press, magazines, promotional literature, e.g. leaflets, brochures, etc.

 

  • The rules in Content Section B apply; where there are distinctions between CAP and BCAP, the CAP Code rules obviously apply in this context; statutory provisions apply to all media
  • With regard to publications such as newspapers and magazines, the CAP Code applies to any third party ads, the publisher’s own ads (for example, an ad that promotes buying ad space within the publication), inserts, business classified ads (however, not the private ads), and advertorial content
  • Additionally, the Code applies to leaflets (unless they promote a ‘cause or idea’), business cards, brochures and catalogues, and carrier bags
  • However, the CAP Code does not apply to editorial material or press releases/ other PR material. Products and their packaging, including leaflets for the product contained within, are generally excluded from the Scope of the Code. However, when they are featured in marketing communications, the presentation of the ‘pack shot’ and any claims that are visible will fall within remit in that particular context; guidance here

 

 
OUTDOOR

 

  • The rules in Content Section B apply; where there are distinctions between CAP and BCAP, the CAP Code rules obviously apply in this context
  • Statutory provisions apply to all media
  • In outdoor space, the Code applies to posters on billboards, poster sites and at stations etc., but not those which appear at ‘point of sale’ (unless they include a promotion) or those which have been fly-posted, most of which is illegal
  • It also applies to third party ads in paid-for space in ambient media including, but not limited to, vehicles e.g. taxis and buses, but not an advertiser’s own vehicles, petrol pumps, bus tickets, ATMs, projections onto buildings, supermarket trolleys, the reverse side of till receipts and beer mats
  • While advertising at point of sale or on an advertiser’s own vehicles is usually considered beyond the scope of the Code, unless it includes a promotion, if an advertiser promotes its products in a medium that would usually be sold to third-party advertisers, the ASA might consider those ads in remit. For example, if a train company places their own posters in space that would also be sold to third party advertisers, their ads might also be subject to the CAP Code (Remit)

 

 

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3. Online Commercial Communications

SECTION C: ONLINE COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

LATEST ISSUES/ NEWS

 

CAP Insight newsletter: advertising on social media Jan 25, 2024

The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill Govt. press release April 25, 2023

Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill. Link is to Bill summary 8 March from Department for Science, Innovation & Technology

The bill is here; commentary here from Baker McKenzie/ Lex March 9, 2023 and Herbert Smith Freehills LLPLex March 13 here set out the changes to No.1

Further commentary here from Squire Patton Boggs April 18, 2023 sets out some of the issues with EU 'conflict'

The above bill did not make it through wash-up

 

CONTEXT

 

This section sets out the broad rules for the online environment generally. Below this, more specific channels are covered such as email, marketers’ own websites, and a section on Privacy rules and their impact on e.g. OBA. As the boundaries online can be less clear, and as space online is often advertiser-owned, there’s greater focus on the identification of advertising, as advertising is in remit (i.e. subject to the rules) in owned and (some) earned space as well as paid. The definition of advertising is therefore important. CAP’s online scope ‘Extending the Digital remit of the CAP Code’, is fully explained in the linked document

 

REMIT: WHICH RULES APPLY AND WHERE 

 

  • The CAP Code rules in content section B apply, subject to the remit issues set out in the introduction to this channel, and below
  • Statutory provisions apply to all media, except those specifically applying to broadcast content and placement
  • For online marketing communications, the CAP Code applies to ads on video on demand platforms and music streaming services. it also applies to ‘paid for’ ads like banners, pop-ups, pre-rolls, ‘pay per click’ ads on search engines, but not the ‘natural listings’, and ‘promoted’ social media posts. However, it applies only  to the ‘preferential’ listings on independent price comparison websites (Remit)
  • The code covers ‘advertorial’ content on news websites, in vlogs/ blogs and in social media as well as business classified ads and those on third party retail platforms (Remit)

 

NON PAID-FOR SPACE 

 

  • The code also applies to claims made on a marketer’s own website and in other non-paid for space online that they control (for example, a marketer’s social media accounts and apps) if they are “… directly connected with the supply of good or services, opportunities, prizes or gifts. This includes ‘advergames’. See Marketers Own Websites section below
  • As with other non-paid for space, there is a limited exemption regarding ‘cause and idea’ marketing in the absence of a direct solicitation of donations
  • Viral advertising is also covered by the code
  • The code also applies to some aspects of online behavioural advertising (OBA) beyond the content of the individual ads that are served. See the OBA section below
  • Tweeting: Don’t get all in a Twitter about your #marketing. CAP News. March 2020

 

THE LAW

 

 

THE ICO

 

The ICO is the national data protection authority - ‘the UK's independent body set up to uphold information rights.’ Their guidance on various forms of commercial activities on and offline is important and valuable. In this general online context, their Personal information online code of practice is most relevant; see channels below for more specific guidance

 

SOME EDPB GUIDANCE

 

AFFILIATE MARKETING 

 

 

 

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4. Cookies & OBA

SECTION C: COOKIES AND OBA

 

 

COOKIES

 

Update on phase-out of third-party cookies on Chrome

Privacy Sandbox April 23, 2024

ICO: Call for views on “consent or pay” business models

Closed April 17, 2024. Slaughter & May commentary here

Advertising cookies: ICO responds to ad industry’s queries
Wiggin LLP/ Lex March 14, 2024

ICO publishes cookies deficiency warning to companies
DAC Beachcroft January 11, 2024

Files prior to June 2023 here

 

Privacy issues should be reviewed with specialist advisors 

 

LEGISLATION 

 

  • Regulation 6 of The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 applies; regulations are transposed from e-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC, amended by Directive 2009/136/EC, the ‘Cookie Directive’. The UK regulations are known as ‘PECR’. And see GDPR references below 

 

GUIDANCE 

 

 
GDPR AND UK DEVELOPMENTS 

 

The ICO’s Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation is here. Updates can be found here. Check privacy matters, and especially how GDPR applies to cookies, with your/ your client’s lawyers. Relevant EDPB guidance from March 2019 is Opinion 5/2019 on the interplay between the ePrivacy Directive and the GDPRAnIs the UK getting tough on cookies? The ICO responds to the Government’s plans from Slaughter & May October 2021 addresses some potentially significant developments for cookie regulations

 

UK IMPLICATIONS

 

The Data Protection Act 2018 replaces the 1998 Act. The Overview of the Act explains the relationship with the GDPR:

(1) This Act makes provision about the processing of personal data. (2) Most processing of personal data is subject to the GDPR. (3) Part 2 supplements the GDPR (see Chapter 2) and applies a broadly equivalent regime to certain types of processing to which the GDPR does not apply (see Chapter 3). (4) Part 3 makes provision about the processing of personal data by competent authorities for law enforcement purposes and implements the Law Enforcement Directive. (5) Part 4 makes provision about the processing of personal data by the intelligence services. (6) Part 5 makes provision about the Information Commissioner. (7) Part 6 makes provision about the enforcement of the data protection legislation.

 

SELF-REGULATION

 

Stay up to data: four key tips on using personal data for marketing. CAP News. 26 Jan 2023

 

  • The CAP Code includes Section 10 Use of data for marketing, amended and re-named following the introduction of the GDPR and related consultation. This section now closely reflects and ‘has regard to GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 in the case of personal data, and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 in the case of activities relating to electronic communications.’
  • See from CAP Five top tips on our new rules on the use of data for marketing
  • OBA rules have been incorporated into Section 10, having been removed from their previous home in Appendix 3. See below 

 

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

 

The DMA Code of Practice is here: https://dma.org.uk/the-dma-code

 

ONLINE BEHAVIOURAL ADVERTISING (OBA)

 

Privacy rules for targeted advertising in the UK and EU. Reed Smith/ Lex August 2023

Facebook's Meta to ban adverts that target people on 'sensitive topics' politics, race and sexual orientation.

Effective 19 January 2022

 

  • OBA, like any other advertising, is subject to the rules in our earlier content section B, from self-regulation the CAP Code rules 
  • Statutory provisions apply to all media; in this context, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Act also applies 
  • The assumption for OBA is that the great majority of behavioural advertising is via ad networks, that they will deploy cookies of various types, the relevant versions of which are therefore third party cookies
  • The ICO’s Guidance On The Rules Of Use Of Cookies covers third party cookies, from which: ‘third parties setting cookies, or providing a product that requires the setting of cookies, may wish to consider putting a contractual obligation into agreements with web publishers to satisfy themselves that appropriate steps will be taken to provide information about the third party cookies and obtain consent’
  • Guidelines on Automated individual decision-making and Profiling for the purposes of Regulation 2016/679 is significant guidance from the EDPB 
  • GDPR lawful processing rules may need to be taken into account if data processing identifies individuals
  • There's a lot happening in regulation of the online space. This Digital regulation: overview of government activity from DCMS is helpful; some of the activity includes a review of OBA Extract 'The government is committed to reviewing the online advertising ecosystem as part of DCMS’ Online Advertising Programme to ensure it is subject to appropriate regulation and that harms in advertising are minimised. Specific issues that may form part of the scope of the review include the use of personal and online behavioural data in the targeting of online ads, and ensuring robust levels of transparency and accountability in the regulation of online advertising with respect to the content and placement of online advertising. The review will include looking at the role of platforms in the online advertising ecosystem.'

 

Section 10 of the CAP Code provides specific OBA rules; extracts for this context are:

 

At the time of collecting consumers’ personal data from them, marketers must provide consumers with the following information (in, for example, a privacy notice), unless the consumer already has it:  

 

  • The existence of automated decision-making, including profiling producing legal or similarly significant effects on consumers, referred to in Article 22(1) and (4) of the GDPR and, at least in those cases, meaningful information about the logic involved, as well as the significance and the envisaged consequences of such processing for the consumer (CAP Code rule 10.2.12)

 

INTERNATIONAL SELF-REGULATION

 

A good number of companies & organisations in Europe are supporters of and engaged in the European self-regulatory programme for OBA, administered by the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA http://www.edaa.eu). The OBA icon, 

 

 

which can be found on digital advertising and on web pages to signal that OBA is on those sites, is licensed to participating companies by the EDAA. From the icon, the consumer is provided with a link to http://www.youronlinechoices.eu/, which has information on how data is used, a means to ‘turn off’ data collection and use, and a portal to connect with national self-regulatory organisations for complaint handling

 

 

 

 

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5. Emails & SMS

SECTION C: DIRECT ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

A round-up of DM fines issued by the ICO In 2024

Lewis Silkin June 4, 2024

ICO fines HelloFresh £140k. RPC/Lex April 17, 2024

On July 5, 2023, the ICO issued video guides for small organisations; includes soft opt-in

 

CONTEXT​ FOR THIS CHANNEL

 

  • The CAP Code rules in our content section B apply in this channel
  • Content-related statutory provisions apply to all media, except the legislation specifically applying to broadcast content and placement
  • Lawful processing rules from the GDPR may apply. Specialist advisors should be consulted on privacy issues

 

LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

 

 

OTHER LEGISLATION

 

 

DEFINITION AND SCOPE PECR

 

The rules outlined below will apply to any electronically stored messages, including email, text, picture, video, voicemail, answerphone (ICO Guide to PECR). ‘Electronic mail’ means any text, voice, sound or image message sent over a public electronic communications network which can be stored in the network or in the recipient’s terminal equipment until it is collected by the recipient and includes messages sent using a short message service (Art 2 (1) PECR)

 

B2C

 

  • Except in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3), a person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail unless the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communications being sent by, or at the instigation of, the sender (Art 22.2 PECR)
  • (3) A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where:
     

(a) That person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient

(b) The direct marketing is in respect of that person’s similar products and services only; and

(c) The recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and, where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication
 

  • For the soft opt-in principle (above) to apply, the contact details must be obtained directly from the individual. In this regard, organisations cannot rely on SOI if they have obtained a marketing list from a third party. Indirect (third party) consent will need to have been obtained (see ICO DM Guidance; checklist here

 

 

E-COMMERCE INFORMATION 

 

From The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002, transposed from Directive 2000/31/EC, the electronic commerce directive

 

  • A service provider shall ensure that any commercial communication provided by him and which constitutes or forms part of an information society service shall:

 

(a) Be clearly identifiable as a commercial communication

(b) Clearly identify the person on whose behalf the commercial communication is made

(c) Clearly identify as such any promotional offer (including any discount, premium or gift) and ensure that any conditions which must be met to qualify for it are easily accessible, and presented clearly and unambiguously; and

(d) Clearly identify as such any promotional competition or game and ensure that any conditions for participation are easily accessible and presented clearly and unambiguously.

(Art. 7 ECR)

 

  • A service provider shall ensure that any unsolicited commercial communication sent by him by electronic mail is clearly and unambiguously identifiable as such as soon as it is received (Art. 8 ECR)
  • Regulation 6 ECR covers general information to be provided by a person providing an information society service such as name, address, trade register and registration number, details of authorisations by supervisory bodies, contact details, price requirements etc.

 

CONSENT 

 

 

INDUSTRY CODES 

 

 

B2B

 

  • The restrictions on email marketing set out in Regulation 22 PECR do not apply to corporate subscribers, including limited companies, limited liability partnerships and government bodies (Art. 22 (1) PECR). Sole traders, general partnerships and their employees are treated as consumers so rules for B2C will apply to them
  • ICO DM Guidance confirms that the rules on consent, SOI, the right to opt-out will not apply to emails sent to companies and other corporate bodies. The only requirement is that the sender must identify itself, provide contact details and e-commerce information as provided above
  • The GDPR update within the iCO Guidance states: If you are processing an individual’s personal data to send business to business texts and emails the right to object at any time to processing of their personal data for the purposes of direct marketing will apply. The right to object to marketing is absolute and you must stop processing for these purposes when someone objects. See our right to object guidance for further details

 

SMS / MMS

 

SMS and MMS are defined as electronic mail (Art 2 (1) PECR and CAP Code S.10). The principles above will apply to direct marketing sent by SMS and MMS

 

  • In short, prior consent is required, subject to exemptions included under the B2C sub-head above
  • Despite practical limitations of standard mobile phones and character limits, the rules will apply; in particular the e-commerce information and opt-out requirements. ICO PECR Guidance and The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) Guide to ECRs provide useful guidance on the subject:

 

5.3 The Regulations do not prescribe how the requirement to make information “easily, directly and permanently accessible” should be met. The Government recognises that technological constraints (e.g. the 160-character limit on mobile text messages) mean that the information may not readily be accessible by the same means by which the service provider transacts with recipients of his services. The Government envisages, however, that these criteria should be capable of being met if the information is accessible by other means (e.g. inclusion on a website)

 

  • CAP Guidance on Mobile Marketing (not updated for new legislation) provides: Mobile marketers who do not have explicit consent must tell those whose details they have obtained in the course of, or in negotiations for, a sale that they can opt-out of having their data used for direct marketing purposes when they collect their data as well as every time, including the first, they send out future mobile marketing. They can use abbreviations so long as they are likely to be understood by the audience addressed. For example, the following is likely to be acceptable: “2STOPMSGSTXT’STOP’TO…”. They must allow consumers, with the minimum effort and at the minimum, unavoidable cost, to state they object to future direct marketing

 

 

 

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6. Own Websites & SNS

SECTION C: MARKETERS' OWN WEBSITES

 

 

CONTEXT 

 

The same principle that applies in paid space also applies in non-paid space such as marketers’ own websites and SNS spaces: if communications from the owner meet the definition of 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, then they are subject to the rules. The full CAP remit extension online is here, and see also September 2016 Guidance on Remit: Own websites. The remit extends to marketers’ Social Network Sites, which are seen in this context in the same light as marketers’ own websites. The key issue is the identification of a marketing communication.

 

 

CORE RULES

 

  • Per above, marketers' own marcoms on their own websites will be subject to the rules in our Content Section B, in particular those from the CAP Code, which applies online, and from statutory requirements (i.e. the law), except those applying specifically to broadcast content
  • Exemptions are found in CAP’s remit statement (same document as linked above) sections 3.11 to 3.15. They include User-Generated Content (UGC), except when it has been endorsed by the marketer. The same principle applies to viral marketing communications. CAP commentary from May 2016 on UGC is here. As the issue of UGC and vlogs and their commercial connection is significant in the 'Own website' context, some rulings and guidance are shown below:

 

 

RULINGS RELATED TO UGC

 

  • ASA Ruling on Skinny Tan in association with Elly Norris. February 2021. Complaint upheld. A reposted Instagram story on the Skinny Tan Instagram account featured a story from influencer Elly Norris @ellykaynorris which included an image of her face and shoulders with the text caption “So impressed with how that went on, honestly like no other fake tan I’ve ever put on, and the smell is just something else. Can’t wait to see what it’s like tomorrow morning [heart-eyes emoji]”.
  • ASA Ruling on Santander UK plc. May 2017 complaint not upheld. The UGC was endorsed, but the claims made and scenarios depicted were not considered to be in breach
  • ‘Where UGC is within remit, the CAP Code applies in full and marketers will need to make sure that the content is responsible and not misleading, harmful or offensive. So, if the UGC relates to alcohol, the alcohol rules will apply, per Hi Spirits ruling:
    https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/hi-spirits-a12-209534.html

 

 

VLOGGING GUIDANCE AND RULINGS 

 

  • Social media sites have their own terms and conditions. In Facebook’s case, marketers are not permitted to pay individuals to promote brands, products or services on personal pages or profiles:
    https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
  • The CPRs and the CAP Code both prohibit practices that make false claims or create an impression that the trader is not acting for the purposes of his trade, business craft or profession or that the trader is a consumer (CPRs No. 22, sch. 1 and s. 2.3 CAP)
  • There have been a number of ASA adjudications on the issue of identification, examples of which are Mars Chocolate Ltd and Nike Ltd. This CAP September 2016 Guidance Remit: Social media makes reference to both cases

 

 

Vlogging Advertising Guidance

 

 
 

Own Social Media
Extracts from the linked Remit document from CAP September 2016 below:

 

  • ‘The ASA often receives complaints about company social media accounts, such as Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and Instagram accounts, to a lesser extent about Linkedin, Google+ and Pinterest pages and, at present, only very rarely about content on Snapchat
  • While the Code covers some material on a company’s own social media channels it doesn’t necessarily cover everything in such space. The main principles for determining whether specific material on a company’s own social media channel falls within the scope of the code are the same as for a company’s own website, i.e. is the material directly connected to the supply or transfer of goods, services, opportunities or gifts or a direct solicitation of donations
  • However, given the nature of social media and the role it plays in creating brand awareness and engagement, marketers should be aware that any content that bears a relationship to the products or services they offer has the potential to be considered directly connected and therefore within the ASA’s remit’
  • Tweeting: Don’t get all in a Twitter about your #marketing. CAP News. March 2020
  • ICO: Social networking and online forums – when does the DPA apply?
    https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1600/social-networking-and-online-forums-dpa-guidance.pdf

 

 

RELEVANT RULINGS 

 

  • A TikTok post on The Wave House’s account, @thewavehouse, seen on 25 October 2020. ASA Ruling on Prettylittlething.com. Upheld 07 April 2021
  • ASA Ruling on Boohoo.com in association with Luke Mabbott. A TikTok post on Luke Mabbott’s account @lukemabbott featured a video of Luke Mabbott wearing two outfits. Upheld 10 February 2021
  • A tweet that stated "#TheMasters has started! #yippee" and another which stated “Fill in the blank: I think Jordan Spieth will win…Majors in 2015” from gambling operators were both considered to be within the scope of the Code, because they were promoting the brand and commenting on an event on which the advertiser would be offering bets. They were therefore considered to be directly connected with services offered by the advertisers:

 

WHG (International) Ltd t/a WillHillBet, 17 June 2015

Hillside (UK Sports) LP t/a Bet365, 28 October 2015

 

 

THE LAW RELATED TO IDENTIFICATION/ AVMS

 

  • The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), derived from the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC, provides in Schedule 1 that a commercial practice ‘in all circumstances considered unfair’ is:
     
    • Using editorial content in the media to promote a product where a trader has paid for the promotion without making that clear in the content or by images or sounds clearly identifiable by the consumer (advertorial) Art. 11
    • Falsely claiming or creating the impression that the trader is not acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely representing oneself as a consumer

 

  • The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2020 carry provisions from the AVMS Directive 2010/13/EU and its amending Directive 2018/1808 to extend scope online and in particular to video-sharing platforms , who must recognise the AVMS rules for commercial communications relating to recognisability; additionally, Part 4B clause 368Z1 requires that user-generated videos that contain commercial communications, in the event that the service provider is aware of this, must be clearly notified to the user by the service provider

 

 

SOME EDPB GUIDANCE

 

 

 
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7. Native Advertising

SECTION C: NATIVE ADVERTISING

 

 

CONTEXT

 

From an ASA Opinion piece Jan 2016, native advertising is ‘content paid for and controlled by brands, but which looks like news, features, reviews, entertainment and other content that surrounds it online.’ So this is online and offline advertising designed to fit in with its ‘habitat’, to give consumers a visually consistent experience

 

SUMMARY

 

This is a sensitive and topical issue, with a number of high profile recent adjudications, shown below. The core issue is that of recognition of advertising, set out under the linked CAP Code Section 2; the BCAP equivalent is here. CAP/ the ASA are particular on the way in which advertising is identified as such: ‘Some examples of labels that are likely to be acceptable are: ‘Advertisement Promotion’, ‘Advertisement Feature’ or, in some online media, ‘#ad’.’ The law in the form of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), also prohibits under Schedule I, article 11, that a trader has paid for a promotion without making that clear

 

KEY RULES 

 

  •  ‘Native’ advertising, like any other advertising, is subject to the Content rules; the key general rule, spelt out below, is that of identifiability/ disclosure
  • The BCAP Code Section 2 covers Recognition of Advertising; The Ofcom Code on the Scheduling of Television Advertising and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code (OBC), for both television and radio, contain rules for sponsorship and commercial references that are relevant to this section
  • Rule 9.3 from the OBC states ‘Surreptitious advertising is prohibited’ (Surreptitious advertising involves a reference to a product, service or trade mark within a programme, where such a reference is intended by the broadcaster to serve as advertising and this is not made clear to the audience. Such advertising is likely to be considered intentional if it occurs in return for payment or other valuable consideration to the broadcaster or producer)
  • Product Placement is separately covered; see earlier TV and Radio section 
  • Section 2 of the CAP Code deals with the recognition of marcoms; there’s an Overview here; key clauses follow:

 

  • Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such (CAP code, rule 2.1)
  • Unsolicited e-mail marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as marketing communications without the need to open them - see rule 10.6 (CAP code, rule 2.2)
  • Marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession; marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context (CAP code, rule 2.3)
  • Marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications; for example, by heading them ‘advertisement feature (CAP code, rule 2.4)

 

CAP NEWS AND GUIDANCE 

 

  1. From September 2013 CAP News What is native advertising?
  2. See Recognising marketing communications: Overview September 2016
  3. Advertising Guidance 5 December 2016:

 

Recognising ads: Contextually targeted branded content

From the above (click on the links below for explanations of each issue):

Ensure advertorials are distinguishable from editorial content

Do not integrate to such an extent that it is no longer identifiable as an ad

Be wary of terms such as “sponsorship” and “in association with

 

  1. Advertising guidance 13 March 2017:

 

     

From the above (point 3.) Identification of marketing communications

 

  • The Code requires marketing communications to be readily recognisable:
     

2.4 ‘Marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications, for example by heading them "advertisement feature".

Advertisement features often mirror the format, style and typography of editorial articles contained in the same publication. It is particularly important, therefore, that readers can see at once that what they are looking at is not editorial but an advertisement feature. It could be clear through the context that the material is advertising but, if it isn’t, a label which makes clear the content is a marketing communication is likely to be required. Some examples of labels that are likely to be acceptable are: ‘Advertisement Promotion’, ‘Advertisement Feature’ or, in some online media, ‘#ad’

 

Content of advertisement features

 

  • The content of advertisement features should conform to all the requirements of the Code. It should be legal, decent, honest and truthful. Specifically:
     

3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so

3.6 Subjective claims must not mislead the consumer; marketing communications must not imply that expressions of opinion are objective claims

3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation

 

 RULINGS ON DISCLOSURE

 

  1. ASA adds former Love Islanders to non-disclosure webpage. August 2021. ‘We are adding five former Islanders who break the rules to our dedicated non-disclosure webpage, as part of continued action against influencers who fail to act transparently and who mislead their followers by not labelling ads in their social media posts. The ad rules are clear: it must be obvious to consumers before they read, ‘like’ or otherwise interact with a social media post if what they are engaging with is advertising.’ Click on link for more
  2. Nike U.K. 4 September 2013. A tweet, by the footballer Wayne Rooney, stated "The pitches change. The killer instinct doesn't. Own the turf, anywhere. @NikeFootball #myground pic.twitter.com/22jrPwdgC1". The ASA considered that in the particular context of a tweet by Wayne Rooney the wording of the initial statement was such that in combination with "@NikeFootball" and "#myground", the overall effect was that the tweet was obviously identifiable as a Nike marketing communication
  3. Asda Stores December 2017. An advertorial for Asda, seen on the Mirror’s website www.mirror.co.uk, on 31 August 2017, appeared three-quarters of the way down a web page that began with an article titled “An actual Italian food theme park is opening in Italy and mamma mia hurry up and pass us our fork”. The advertorial was headed “Asda Partnership” in italic font which was the same size as the font used in the body of the article. The advertorial described Asda’s range of Italian food. Small text above the article title at the top of the page stated “Lifestyle > Travel > ASDA Partnership”. The ASA considered the term “Asda Partnership”, which appeared between the editorial and advertorial content, did not adequately convey the commercial nature of the advertorial content to consumers

OTHER GUIDELINES 

 

  • The IAB and Native advertising taskforce released the Native Advertising Playbook which provides recommended industry guidance for advertising disclosure and transparency for ad units most often described as ‘Native’; the disclosure principles reference FTC (US) procedures
  • Content and native disclosure guidelines version 2 - February 2018 from IAB UK: 'These guidelines outline good practice for disclosure of content-based advertising and native ad formats online. They have been updated to reflect changes in online behaviour and media usage, and show how existing principles apply to new and growing advertising environments and approaches – such as influencer marketing
  • IAB Europe’s December 2016 How to Comply with EU Rules Applicable to Online Native Advertising provides some categories of Native ads, some good practice recommendations, and a summary of EU rules and their December 2021 Guide to Native Advertising provides 'up-to-date insight into native ad formats and key considerations and best practices for buyers

 

THE LAW

 

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), derived from the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC, provides in Schedule 1 that a commercial practice ‘in all circumstances considered unfair’ is:

 

  • Using editorial content in the media to promote a product where a trader has paid for the promotion without making that clear in the content or by images or sounds clearly identifiable by the consumer (advertorial) Art. 11
  • Falsely claiming or creating the impression that the trader is not acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely representing oneself as a consumer. Art. 22
  • Regulation 6 of the CPRs provides: 1) A commercial practice is a misleading omission if, in its factual context... (a)the commercial practice omits material information, (b)the commercial practice hides material information, (c)the commercial practice provides material information in a manner which is unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely, or (d)the commercial practice fails to identify its commercial intent, unless this is already apparent from the context, and as a result it causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision he would not have taken otherwise

 

 

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8. Telemarketing

 

 

Following feedback, we no longer cover Telemarketing

9. Direct Postal Mail

SECTION C: DIRECT POSTAL MAIL

 

 

OVERVIEW

 

If any processing of data includes personal data (that which can identify an individual) than it may be subject to the GDPR, recognised and supplemented in the UK by the Data Protection Act 2018. Valuable guidance is provided by the ICO’s Guide to the GDPR. The ICO’s Direct Marketing Guidance, updated for GDPR, covers Marketing Mail under paras 154 -157. Content of Direct Mail marketing communications is subject to CAP Code rules; content-related legislation applies to all media, except that which identifies broadcast channels 

 

  Privacy issues should be reviewed with specialist advisors

 

 

Opting out

 

  • From the ICO’s Direct Marketing Guidance: 'Individuals can register their address with the Mail Preference Service (MPS), which works in a similar way to the TPS. The DPA does not specifically require organisations to screen against the MPS, but it is good practice to do so and will save time and money. It is, however, a requirement under the DMA code and the CAP code, and we are aware that the DMA considers it is also a legal requirement under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (see below under ‘Bombardment’). We therefore advise organisations to screen against the MPS to ensure compliance with the first principle requirement to act fairly and lawfully (Para 156)'
  • DMA Members must ensure that lists containing names and contact details are not used for marketing purposes unless the list has been cleaned against the relevant preference services: TPS, MPS, CTPS, BMPS, FPS and Your Choice (DMA Code, rule 1.3)

 

 
CAP Code Section 10

 

Extracts only 

 

  • The CAP Code Section 10 Use of data for marketing applies in the context of the use of data. These rules were amended in November 2018 to reflect the GDPR/ Data Protection Act 2018; some of the rules apply only to electronic communications 
  • Marketers must not make persistent and unwanted marketing communications by telephone, fax, mail, e-mail or other remote media (CAP Code rule 10.1)
  • Consumers are entitled to have their personal data suppressed so that they do not receive marketing. Marketers must ensure that, before use, databases have been run against relevant suppression files within a suitable period. Marketers must hold limited information, for suppression purposes only, to ensure that no other marketing communications are sent to those consumers as a result of information about those consumers being reobtained through a third party (CAP Code rule 10.10)

 

 

Consent 

 

And the right to object

 

  • Under the GDPR, a ‘lawful basis’ by which personal data can be processed is the consent of the data subject to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes (art.6.1 a)
  • The ICO’s Guide to the GDPR provides this guidance on Consent:
    https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/lawful-basis-for-processing/consent/
  • The ICO also state: under ‘GDPR Update’ in the Marketing Mail section in Direct Marketing Guidance: ‘If you are relying on consent to send marketing mail then the individual has the right to withdraw their consent at any time. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it was to give it. See our GDPR consent guidance for further details.
  • The GDPR also gives individuals the right to object at any time to processing of their personal data for the purposes of direct marketing. The right to object to marketing is absolute and you must stop processing for these purposes when someone objects. See our right to object guidance for further details.’

 

 
Required information 

 

  • Under Rule 2.1 the CAP Code provides that ‘marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such’, and from Recognising marketing communications: Overview: ‘The medium or targeting will also be relevant when deciding what is necessary to ensure that consumers know they are viewing a marcom. Consumers should be able to tell from the envelope itself that a direct mailing is a marketing communication.  For more information see 'Claims on Envelopes'.’
  • How to push the envelope (without breaking the rules). CAP News, 27 Aug 2020. Includes key rulings on the issue of identification
  • Members must clearly identify the advertiser on any one-to-one marketing communication that they send or instigate (DMA Code, rule 2.2)
  • If the mailing constitutes an 'invitation to purchase' (a commercial communication which indicates characteristics of the product and the price in a way appropriate to the means of that commercial communication and thereby enables the consumer to make a purchase), Regulation 6 of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 applies, meaning that certain information must be included in the marcom. Regulation 6 requirements and the CAP Code equivalent from Misleadingness Section 3 have been assembled in a summary here

 

 

Bombardment

 

  • It contravenes the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) to make ‘persistent and unwanted solicitations by telephone, fax, e-mail or other remote media except in circumstances and to the extent justified to enforce a contractual obligation (No 26, (Sch. 1). Reflected in CAP Code rule 10.1

 

 
B2B

 

  • Under GDPR, ‘recipient’ means a natural or legal person (i.e. B2C, B2B), public authority, agency or another body, to which the personal data are disclosed, whether a third party or not (Art.4.9 extract)
  • The MPS only applies to consumers who do not wish to receive unsolicited mail

 

 

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10. Event Sponsorship/ Field Marketing

SECTION C: EVENTS/ SPONSORSHIP

 

 

NEWS / ISSUES  / COMMENTARY

 

Ambush marketing: the European summer of sport
Taylor Wessing May 16, 2024

Staying onside at Euro 2024. Stevens & Bolton May 16, 2024

Olympics 2024 and the Ad Rules. CAP News 09 May 2024

Euro 2024 Marketing Tips. CAP News April 11, 2024

GUIDE: The Olympic Games 2024 - Beating around le ambush

Lewis Silkin 25 January, 2024. Event recording April 8 here

 

KEY RULES 

 

 

  • A marketer’s own materials that are ‘fixed’ at ‘point of sale’ or appear in physical space that the marketer owns, are considered beyond the scope of the Code unless they include a promotion 
  • A marketer’s own vehicles, including delivery vans and company cars, are usually considered akin to ‘point of sale’ material because, like their own premises it is space that they own rather than ‘paid for’ advertising space. However, if the sole purpose of the vehicle is to advertise and it serves no other function (e.g. a mobile ‘A’ board continually parked in a field), the ASA could potentially consider it within remit
  • Materials that can be taken away, such as leaflets, brochures, carrier bags and business cards remain within the scope of the Code

 

 

 

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11. Sales Promotion

SECTION C: SALES PROMOTIONS

 

 

ISSUES/ NEWS/ RULINGS

 

Not a pretty promotion. ASA ruling May 16, 2024

March 2024 RRP pricing guidance here and here from CAP 

‘Free’ claims – Are you free to say what you like?
CAP News April 25, 2024

Premier Inn ruling. Prices 'from;' May 1, 2024

Don’t pay the price for your “Free Trials” advertising. CAP News 14 September, 2023

Domino's Pizza 'free pizza'promotion ruling (U) 19 July, 2023

Make sure the price is right: using reference pricing in ads. CAP News 22 June,  2023

It’s the final countdown… but is it really? CAP News 20 Apr 2023 re 'countdown clocks'

 

CONTEXT

 

This website was created to provide international rules on marketing communications; it does not claim authority on specific Sales Promotions (SP) regulation, especially retail legislation. However, in the course of extensive research in marketing, relevant rules will be included. National self-regulatory codes and consumer protection legislation, for example, are checked for any provisions that affect SP and included below. In the case of the U.K., promotional marketing rules are anyway included in the self-regulatory codes. The CAP Code, specifically Section 8, applies to promotional marketing wherever these promotions appear; see this Advice Online entry: https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/promotional-marketing-general.html

 

Lotteries

 

From section 8: promoters should take legal advice before embarking on promotions with prizes, including competitions, prize draws, instant-win offers and premium promotions, to ensure that the mechanisms involved do not make them unlawful lotteries (see the Gambling Act 2005 for Great Britain and the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 (as amended) for Northern Ireland). Section 14 of the Gambling Act explains skill and chance parameters. Broadly, promotional schemes (from manufacturers) requiring a purchase to take part, and offering prizes only on the basis of random chance are considered a lottery and are generally illegal

 

Principal sources

 

  • Promotional material must observe the content rules in section B as well as specific promotional rules
  • in this context, the key set of rules is from Section 8 of the CAP Code Promotional Marketing; some aspects of the CPRs apply - see base of this section 
  • The code applies to all stages of the promotion, not just the initial marketing and applies anywhere that a promotion appears (including social media). The specific rules which are relevant will depend on the kind of promotion being run but the core principles are the same whether it’s a discount voucher offer or a long term loyalty scheme (from Section 8)
 
Key CAP guidance 

 

Promotional marketing: General. April 2019; this guidance gives a brief summary of the key points and where to get more information. Extracts are below (click on the links for more information) 

 

Other CAP guidance

 

Pricing and charges
'Helpful information on the advertising rules for the pricing of products and services and additional charges, not including legally required costs such as taxes or VAT'

Back in Black Friday – Getting your promotional offers in line. CAP News 20 Oct 2022

Promotional marketing: Prize winners Advice online 26 Oct 2021

Running prize promotions on social media Resource page/ checklist issued Oct 2021

Six ways to win at Promotional Marketing CAP News 11 July 2019

 Guidance on ‘free trial’ or other promotional offer subscription models Advertising guidance Nov 2017

Promotional Marketing for the Win CAP News 15 Aug 2018

Promotional marketing: Competitions Advice online 7 February, 2023

 Promotional marketing: prize draws Advice online 24 Sep 2021

Keep your “free” claims problem-free. CAP News 30 Sep 2021

Keeping your “Free Trials” trial free CAP News 19 May 2022

Running chance-based prize promotions in Northern Ireland? CAP News 23 June, 2022. Last month, changes to Northern Ireland (NI) gambling law by the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 came into force. These important changes affect promoters running NI or UK-wide chance-based promotions.

 

Relevant rulings 

 

  1. Emma Mattresses. Website and poster; ruling March 2022, activity September 2021.Misleading savings claims and introductory offers which did not make clear that the lower price was an introductory price; misleading implication that discount offers were time-limited when using a countdown clock; significant information about offers, such as the start and end date, not made clear in ads. Other than that, fine.
  2. I Saw It First. Fashion retail. Incorrect promotional pricing. March 2021. I Saw it First Ltd explained that the overlay was not applicable to the 75% off promotion and was shown in error on that day for a couple of minutes. I Saw it First Ltd further explained that they had added the overlay to a category and were removing the products that were no longer applicable. They stated that going forward they would ensure products were always moved out before promotional updates were completed.
  3. An Instagram post by PrettyLittleThing on 10 February 2021, ruling September 1. The promotion was considered not to have been administered fairly and therefore transgressed rules 8.2, 8.14 and 8.24
  4. A Cadbury's promotion on www.cadburyinventor.co.uk, seen on 19 July 2021, that offered consumers the opportunity to design their own chocolate bar, featured terms and conditions which included the judging process. The complainant requested the names of the judges on the panel but was not provided with them. Ruling here, and see 8.26 above 

 

The law

 

There are some statutory requirements, largely reflected in self-regulation but not necessarily in this promotional marketing context, that apply. These are to do with pricing and with invitation to purchase, both from the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

 

Pricing and other promotional practices

 

From Schedule I: Commercial practices which are in all circumstances considered unfair

 

  • 5. Making an invitation to purchase products at a specified price without disclosing the existence of any reasonable grounds the trader may have for believing that he will not be able to offer for supply, or to procure another trader to supply, those products or equivalent products at that price for a period that is, and in quantities that are, reasonable having regard to the product, the scale of advertising of the product and the price offered (bait advertising)
  • 6.  Making an invitation to purchase products at a specified price and then:

 

(a) refusing to show the advertised item to consumers,

(b) refusing to take orders for it or deliver it within a reasonable time, or

(c) demonstrating a defective sample of it, with the intention of promoting a different product (bait and switch)

 

  • 7.  Falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice
  • 15.  Claiming that the trader is about to cease trading or move premises when he is not
  • 16.  Claiming that products are able to facilitate winning in games of chance
  • 19.  Claiming in a commercial practice to offer a competition or prize promotion without awarding the prizes described or a reasonable equivalent
  • 20.  Describing a product as ‘gratis’, ‘free’, ‘without charge’ or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item
  • 31.  Creating the false impression that the consumer has already won, will win, or will on doing a particular act win, a prize or other equivalent benefit, when in fact either:

 

(a) there is no prize or other equivalent benefit, or

(b) taking any action in relation to claiming the prize or other equivalent benefit is subject to the consumer paying money or incurring a cost

 

Invitation to purchase

 

Rules have been shown in a number of places in this database, and are summarised here:

http://www.g-regs.com/downloads/UKInv2Purchase.pdf

 

 

 

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D. Advice & Clearance

SECTION D SRO SERVICES

 

 

The Copy Advice service provided by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) primarily advises advertisers, agencies and media owners on their own advertising. Advice is non-binding, apart from in exceptional circumstances where pre-clearance is imposed as a sanction by the ASA. Copy Advice is free-of-charge and confidential, and queries are usually answered within 24 hours. Contact https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-and-resources/training-and-events.html and +44 (0) 20 7492 2100. An Express 4-hour service is also offered (£300 inc VAT)

 

 

WEBSITE AUDITS

 

 

CAP also offers, at a fee, full Website Audits:

https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-and-resources/website-audit-information.html

As well as online eLearning courses on various subjects:

https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-and-resources/cap-elearning.html

Overview here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KW_CxOSmf8&feature=youtu.be

 

 

PRE-CLEARANCE

 

Broadcast advertisements are pre-cleared through Clearcast (for television, in script and film form http://www.clearcast.co.uk) and the Radio Centre (in script form only for radio - http://www.radiocentre.org/). These two bodies were set up by broadcasters to fulfil their statutory duty to ensure that the advertisements they broadcast comply with the Advertising Codes. However, pre-clearance does not prevent the ASA from investigating and upholding complaints against broadcast advertisements

 

Clearcast pre-clearance 5-10 working days on scripts, 3-5 rough-cuts, 48 working hours final TV/VOD

  ROI some broadcasters self-regulate RTE & TV3 and they work on scripts to final concepts. RTE only meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays and production materials should be supplied the day before

UK/ ROI Cinema final edits must be uploaded to the CAA (this is the sole regulatory body for Cinema clearance, absorbing the responsibilities previously held by the BBFC). Any commercial of public interest such as charities, Government commercials, banking sector etc. will need also to be submitted to the BBFC and display the classification on final airing edit (incurs fees)

 

Clearcast is improving the Ad Clearance Process

 

In 2022 there will be a change to the ad clearance process which will affect where agencies and advertisers upload their final clocked ad and its associated metadata. This change will be managed by a new system, The Clearcast Library.
 
What’s The Library?

 

The Clearcast Library is a centralised collection of final clocked, broadcast-quality TV and VOD ads that feeds into The Clearcast CopyCentral system for final clearance. It’s a fully cloud-based platform that can be accessed across all devices and has been designed to make the process of getting ads to air simpler and faster. The Library also ensures that the ad cleared can be verified as the ad to be aired and keeps a record of all cleared ads for future reference. Read more here.

 

 

DISTRIBUTION

 

For help, contact the Traffic Bureau administration@trafficbureau.net

 

 

 

E. Links

SECTION E SOURCES/ LINKS

 

 

EUROPEAN LEGISLATION
We have kept the listings for this legislation as much of it is retained and it is also for those who may wish to 'export' advertising 

 

GDPR

 

Regulation (EU) 2016/679 Of The European Parliament and of The Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation). The GDPR came into force May 25 2018. The GDPR is accompanied by Directive 2016/680, which is largely concerned with supervising procedures, and which should have been transposed into member states’ legislation by 6th May 2018.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2016/679/oj 

 

Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union and EU rules in the field of data protection:

https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/items/611943

 

European Data Protection Authority

Article 29 Working Party/ EDPB





The Article 29 Working Party was established under article 29 (hence the name) of Directive 95/46/EC, the Personal Data Protection Directive. The arrival of the GDPR heralded the demise/ re-working of A29WP, and its replacement by the European Data Protection Board:

https://edpb.europa.eu/.

All documents from the former Article 29 Working Party remain available on this newsroom.

Article 29 Working Party archives from 1997 to November 2016: 

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/article-29/documentation/index_en.htm.

Four more recent and significant documents:

 

 

 

Commercial practices: UCPD


Directive 2005/29/EC of The European Parliament and of The Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 (the ‘Unfair Commercial Practices Directive’ UCPD). This is the legislation that most impacts marketing and advertising in Europe and whose origins form the foundations of Self-Regulatory regimes. The core provisions relate to unfair commercial practices, defined as ‘likely to materially distort the economic behaviour with regard to the product of the average consumer.’ In turn, unfair commercial practices are those that:

 

  1. are misleading (misleading actions or misleading by omission) as set out in Articles 6 and 7, or
  2. are aggressive as set out in Articles 8 and 9: ‘use of harassment, coercion and undue influence.’ This clause more often relates to ‘active conduct’.

 

Annex I (known as ‘the blacklist’) contains the list of those commercial practices which ‘shall in all circumstances be regarded as unfair’. These are the only commercial practices which can be deemed to be unfair without a case-by-case test (i.e. assessing the likely impact of the practice on the average consumer's economic behaviour). The list includes e.g. encouragement to children to ‘pester’ (28), clear identification of commercial source in advertorial (11) and making ‘persistent and unwanted solicitations’ (26). The UCPD includes several provisions on promotional practices e.g. Article 6 (d) on the existence of a specific price advantage, Annex I point 5 on bait advertising, point 7 on special offers, points 19 and 31 on competitions and prize promotion, and point 20 on free offers. Some amendments to Directive 2005/29/EC are provided in Directive 2019/2161 linked below; these are supposed to be transposed by November 2021 and in force in member states by May 2022. The Directive 2019/2161 is not transposed in the U.K. but applies to goods and services within the EU so will affect retailers providing those to EU consumers.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2005/29/oj
EU guidance:
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52016SC0163 

 

Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directives 98/6/EC, 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules. While this directive does not require very significant changes as far as most commercial communication is concerned, it does set out some important new changes to information requirements under the UCPD, to pricing information under Directive 2011/83/EU in the context of automated decision-making and profiling of consumer behavior and to price reduction information under Directive 98/6/EC. Directive 2019/2161 also includes important information requirements relating to e.g. search rankings and consumer reviews which do not directly impact this database. Provisions are supposed to be transposed by November 2021 and in force in member states by May 2022. The Directive 2019/2161 is not transposed in the U.K. but applies to goods and services within the EU so will affect retailers providing those to EU consumers.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2019/2161/oj

 

Pricing

 

Directive 98/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers. The purpose of this Directive is to stipulate indication of the selling price and the price per unit of measurement of products offered by traders to consumers in order to improve consumer information and to facilitate comparison of prices (Article 1). For the purposes of this Directive, selling price shall mean the final price for a unit of the product, or a given quantity of the product, including VAT and all other taxes (Article 2a). While this legislation seems prima facie most suited to ‘goods on shelves’ as it requires unit prices (the final price, including VAT and all other taxes, for one kilogramme, one litre, one metre, one square metre or one cubic metre of the product), the Directive was used as the basis for a significant ECJ judgement  on car pricing in advertising. Some amendments to Directive 98/6/EC related to price reduction information are provided in Directive 2019/2161 linked above; these are supposed to be transposed by November 2021 and in force in member states by May 2022. The Directive 2019/2161 is not transposed in the U.K. but applies to goods and services within the EU so will affect retailers providing those to EU consumers.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=celex:31998L0006

 

Comparative advertising

 

Directive 2006/114/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 concerning misleading and comparative advertising. Article 4 of the MCAD provides that comparative advertising is permitted when eight conditions are met. The most significant of those for our purposes are a) it is not misleading within the meaning of Articles 2 (b), 3 and 8 (1) of this Directive or articles 6 and 7 of Directive 2005/29/EC (see above) and b) it compares goods or services meeting the same needs or intended for the same purpose. There are other significant conditions related to denigration of trademarks and designation of origin, imitation and the creation of confusion. Codified version:

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006L0114

 

Audiovisual media

 

Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services: the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, or AVMSD. This is the codified version of the much-amended Directive 89/552/EEC and represents the core European broadcast legislation, providing significant structural and content rules, applied largely consistently across member states.  From a marcoms perspective, the core articles are 9 (Discrimination, safety, the environment, minors and some prohibitions), 10 (Sponsorship), 11 (Product Placement) and 22 (Alcoholic beverages rules).

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A32010L0013

 

AVMSD amendment

 

Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 amending Directive 2010/13/EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) in view of changing market realities. The background to this significant development of the AVMSD is here. In broad terms, the Directive addresses the changes in media consumption in recent years and pays particular attention to the protection of minors in that context, extending rules to e.g. shared content on SNS. There are ‘strengthened provisions to protect children from inappropriate audiovisual commercial communications for foods high in fat, salt and sodium and sugars, including by encouraging codes of conduct at EU level, where necessary’. See article 4a. Rules for alcoholic beverages are extended to on-demand audiovisual media services, but those provisions (social/ sexual success etc.) are not amended. The Directive entered into force 18th December 2018; member states are required to have transposed into national law by 19th September 2020. 

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2018/1808/oj

 

E-privacy

 

Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications, the ‘E-privacy Directive’). This Directive ‘provides for the harmonisation of the national provisions required to ensure an equivalent level of protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, and in particular the right to privacy and confidentiality, with respect to the processing of personal data in the electronic communication sector.’ The directive was amended by Directive 2009/136/EC; the ‘Cookie directive’, provisions found under article 5.3 of the E-Privacy Directive. Article 13 for Consent and ‘soft opt-in’ requirements

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2002/58

 

The ‘Cookie Directive’ 2009/136/EC amending Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector. Article 2 provides amends to the E-privacy Directive above

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32009L0136

 

E-privacy Regulation draft (4 November 2020)

 

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications)

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CONSIL:ST_9931_2020_INIT&from=EN

 

E-privacy Regulation draft (10 February 2021)

 

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications):

https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6087-2021-INIT/en/pdf

Statement on the ePrivacy Regulation and the future role of Supervisory Authorities and the EDPB. Adopted on 19 November 2020:
https://edpb.europa.eu/sites/default/files/files/file1/edpb_statement_20201119_eprivacy_regulation_en.pdf

February 2022 Clifford Chance/ Lex E-Privacy check-in: where we are, and where we're headed
March 2022 Härting Rechtsanwälte/ Lex ePrivacy Regulation: EU Council agrees on the draft

 

E-commerce

 

Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market ('Directive on electronic commerce')‘information society services’ are defined as ‘any service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by electronic means and at the individual request of a recipient of services.’ Article 5 covers general information such as contact details from the ‘service provider’, which information should be made easily, directly and permanently accessible to the recipients of the service’. The Directive also sets out under article 6 more specific information requirements for commercial communications which are part of, or constitute, an information society service. These include identifiability requirements and accessibility to conditions for promotions.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32000L0031

 

The Digital Services Act

 

Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on a Single Market For Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (Digital Services Act). European Commission pages on the DSA are here. Wikipedia entry is here. Helpful legal commentary, which also addresses the Digital Markets Act, is from DLA Piper/ Lex February 2023: Online advertising: A regulatory patchwork under construction. Key marcoms issues for advertisers/ platforms are the identification of advertising material and parameters used for its targeting and the prohibition of advertising based on profiling that uses using special data categories such as religious belief, health data sexual orientation etc. (art.26), or if the platform has reason to believe the recipient is a minor (art. 28). The Regulation applies from February 2024. 

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32022R2065

 

The Digital Markets Act

 

Regulation (EU) 2022/1925 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2022 on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector and amending Directives (EU) 2019/1937 and (EU) 2020/1828 (Digital Markets Act). European Commission pages are here; from those: 'Some large online platforms act as "gatekeepers" in digital markets. The Digital Markets Act aims to ensure that these platforms behave in a fair way online. Together with the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act is one of the centrepieces of the European digital strategy.' Wikipedia entry is here.  Article 2a prohibits the processing, for the purpose of providing online advertising services, personal data of end users using services of third parties that make use of core platform services of the gatekeeper, unless the end user has been presented with the specific choice and has given consent within the meaning of Article 4, point (11), and Article 7 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679. The Regulation entered into force on 1st November 2022 and applied on 2nd May, 2023. Gatekeepers will be identified and they will have to comply by 6th March 2024 at the latest.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2022/1925

 

 

NATIONAL LEGISLATION

 

Consumer protection 

 

As indicated above under European legislation, a number of consumer protection measures introduced by Directive 2019/2161 (the Omnibus Directive) and due in force May 2022 are not transposed into the U.K. following exit from the E.U., though measures will apply to U.K. providers of goods and services in member states. The U.K. government's plans regarding consumer protection in this context are set out here courtesy of Travers Smith LLP / Lexology December 2021. Meanwhile, the legislation below remains in force.

 

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1277); entry into force 26/05/2008. These regulations (known as CPRs) introduce a general prohibition on traders in all sectors engaging in unfair commercial (mainly marketing & selling) practices against consumers, implementing Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices (the UCP Directive, the core European consumer protection legislation). Part 2 sets out the prohibition on unfair commercial practices, i.e. those that contravene the requirements of professional diligence, misleading actions, misleading omissions, aggressive commercial practices and commercial practices of the type specified in Schedule 1, which includes provisions related to pricing (5-7):

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/1277/contents/made

Amended by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/870); the amendment largely deals with enforcement issues and redress rights; marcoms requirements are not directly affected. Guidance on 2008 CPRs:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/284442/oft1008.pdf

Guidance on the 2014 CPRs:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/409334/bis-14-1030-misleading-and-aggressive-selling-rights-consumer-protection-amendment-regulations-2014-guidance.pdf

 

Business protection

 

The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1276); entry into force 26/05/2008These regulations (known as BPRs) prohibit misleading business-to-business advertising and set out the conditions under which comparative advertisements (which is any advertisement which identifies a competitor or a competitor’s product) are permitted, implementing Directive 2006/114/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning misleading and comparative advertising (OJ No L376 27.12.2006, p 21) (“the Directive”). The Directive replaces Council Directive 84/450/EEC concerning misleading and comparative advertising (OJ No L250 19.9.84, p 17) and codifies the amendments made to that directive. Council Directive 84/450/EEC was implemented by the Control of Misleading Advertising Regulations 1988 (S.I. 1988/915). Those Regulations are revoked by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/1276/contents/made 

Relevant Article: 4 (comparative advertising) formerly Art 3A from Directive 84/450/EEC – transposed by Regulation 4 – on comparative advertising, listing the 8 conditions where comparative advertising can be permitted

Art 3 BPRs also relevant: Prohibition of advertising that misleads traders

 

Pricing

 

Price Marking Order 2004 (SI 2004/102) Entry into force 22/07/2004This Order implements Directive 98/6/EC (above) on consumer protection in the indication of prices of products offered to consumers. Article 4 requires traders to indicate the selling prices of all products offered for sale to consumers. Article 1 defines the selling price as the final price including VAT and other taxes. Article 6 requires selling and unit prices to be indicated in sterling. Article 7 requires prices and other indications required under the Order to be given in a clear and unambiguous manner. The Order includes specific provisions relating to general price reductions (article 9).

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/102/contents/made

 

Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (which replaces the UK Government Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) Pricing Practices guide (Nov 2010): This Guidance recommends to traders a set of good practices in giving the consumer information about prices in various situations. It has of itself no mandatory force: traders are not under any legal obligation to follow the practices recommended. The Guidance however takes account of relevant legal obligations, in particular those provisions of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs – shown above) which are relevant to information about prices; the recommended practices are in general expected to be compatible with the CPRs:

https://www.businesscompanion.info/sites/default/files/Guidance-for-Traders-on-Pricing-Practices-2016.pdf

 

 

Channel legislation

 

Communications Act 2003. The Communications Act incorporates the AVMS Directive 2010/13/EU, following amendments in the form of Audio Media Services Regulations 2009 (AMSR) which inserted VOD provisions (Part 4A; ss368A – R); the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2010 which amended and supplemented AMSR 2009; the Audiovisual Media Services (Product Placement) Regulations 2010 which inserted Schedule 11A regarding restrictions on product placement, in addition to further minor amendments to AMSR 2009. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2020 (see below) made amendments to the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996 as well as the Communications Act. The Regulations transpose Directive 2018/1808, which amends Directive 2010/13/EU. The 2018 revising Directive aligns rules for on-demand programme services (ODPS) with those for linear TV, and introduces rules for videosharing platforms (VSPs) for the first time, for which see Part 4b.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/contents

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1062/part/4/made

 

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2020. This legislation transposes the Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 amending Directive 2010/13/EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) in view of changing market realities. Amendments are made to the Communications Act 2003 (see above) and to the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. Explanatory memorandum immediately below followed by the link to the legislation:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1062/memorandum/contents

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1062/made

 

Ofcom

 

The Ofcom Broadcasting Code. Ofcom is the UK Communications Industry regulator, operating under the Communications Act 2003 and funded by fees from industry for regulating broadcasting and communications networks, and by grant-in-aid from the UK Government. The full Code can be accessed here:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code

Section 9 of the Code contains a set of principles and general, overarching rules that apply to all commercial references in television programming. It also contains specific rules for different types of commercial activity (e.g. product placement, sponsorship), whether it is carried out by, or on behalf of commercial or non-commercial entities. Guidance notes on Section 9 are here:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code/section-nine-commercial-references-tv

General content rules specific to TV and Radio are from Appendix 2, taken from the Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU, providing that audiovisual commercial communications shall not (non-exhaustively): (i) prejudice respect for human dignity (ii) include or promote any discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, nationality, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (iii) encourage behaviour prejudicial to health or safety

 

The regulation of advertising on videosharing platforms. Statement. December 7, 2021

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0022/229009/vsp-advertising-statement.pdf

 

 

VOD

 

The ASA has been designated by Ofcom as the co-regulator for advertising appearing on VOD services. Consequently, appendix 2 has been added to the CAP Code. This will apply to aspects of advertising on VOD services that are subject to statutory regulation under the Communications Act 2003 (as amended). Remit note is here. The Appendix doesn’t introduce new requirements for VOD advertising: VOD providers are already required, under law, to comply with them, and the Appendix doesn’t go beyond the rules that are already in the CAP Code. Adding these requirements to an Appendix of the CAP Code means that the ASA can take action on suspected breaches against the VOD service provider and without the need to refer to Ofcom for legal action. The rules from the Appendix are here:

https://www.asa.org.uk/asset/82C0366B-BF5F-40BF-B8ED401A585F56C9/

 

 

Data protection and privacy

 

Data Protection Act 2018. From Part 1, Overview: (1) This Act makes provision about the processing of personal data. (2) Most processing of personal data is subject to the GDPR. (3) Part 2 supplements the GDPR (see Chapter 2) and applies a broadly equivalent regime to certain types of processing to which the GDPR does not apply (see Chapter 3). (4) Part 3 makes provision about the processing of personal data by competent authorities for law enforcement purposes and implements the Law Enforcement Directive. (5) Part 4 makes provision about the processing of personal data by the intelligence services. (6) Part 5 makes provision about the Information Commissioner. (7) Part 6 makes provision about the enforcement of the data protection legislation:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/12/pdfs/ukpga_20180012_en.pdf

 

From the iCO (see below): 'The GDPR is retained in domestic law as the UK GDPR, but the UK has the independence to keep the framework under review. The ‘UK GDPR’ sits alongside an amended version of the DPA 2018. The government has published a ‘Keeling Schedule’ for the UK GDPR, which shows the amendments.

 

Regulatory authority the ICO

Information Commissioner’s Office

http://ico.org.uk/

 

Introduction to the Data Protection Act 2018:

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-act-2018/

Guide to the GDPR:

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/

Guide to Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/

Direct Marketing Guidance

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1555/direct-marketing-guidance.pdf

Video guides

On July 5, 2023, the ICO issued video guides for small organisations; includes soft opt-in for email and text marketing, data protection, and data protection and direct marketing

 

PECR

 

Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003; entry into force 11/12/2003. These Regulations implement Articles 2, 4, 5 (3), 6 to 13, 15 and 16 of Directive 2002/58/EC of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (E-Privacy Directive). Regulations 20, 21 and 22 set out the circumstances in which persons may transmit, or instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of facsimile machine, make unsolicited calls for those purposes, or transmit unsolicited communications by means of electronic mail for those purposes. Regulation 22 (electronic mail) applies only to transmissions to individual subscribers (the term ‘individual’ means ‘a living individual’ and includes ‘an unincorporated body of such individuals’). Official text (not consolidated):
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2003/2426/made
Consolidated version of key clauses here:

http://www.g-regs.com/downloads/UKPECR2003.pdf

Amendments:

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2004. Entry into force 25/06/2004. Permitted companies and other corporate bodies to register with the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (Reg 2 (1-5) amended Reg. 26 of PECR 2003):

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/1039/contents/made

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011; entry into force 26/05/2011. Amended various provisions including rules on cookies (in particular Reg. 6 (1-5) amended Reg. 6 of PECR 2003)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/1208/contents/made

 

e-Commerce

 

The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002; these regulations impose information obligations on those providing an information society service. They implement the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC, specifically Articles 3, 5, 6, 7 (1), 10 to 14, 18 (2) and 20 of the Directive. Relevant regulations 6,7,8 require inter alia that a service provider shall ensure that: any commercial communication provided by him and which constitutes or forms part of an information society service shall be clearly identifiable as a commercial communication, clearly identify the person on whose behalf the commercial communication is made, clearly identify as such any promotional offer (including any discount, premium or gift) and ensure that any conditions which must be met to qualify for it are easily accessible, and presented clearly and unambiguously. Consolidated text: 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002/2013/contents/made

 

Distance selling

 

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/3134). Entry into force: 13/06/2014. These Regulations supersede and replace the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (as amended) and implement most of the provisions in the Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/ECPart 2 of the Regulations requires traders to provide information to consumers in relation to contracts concluded between them. Regulations 13 and Schedule 2 specify the information required for a distance contract (including delivery arrangements, the trader’s complaint handling policy, if there is one, and cancellation rights). Regulation 14 covers requirements for distance contracts concluded by electronic means and Regulation 15 Telephone calls to conclude a distance contract:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/3134/contents/made

 

Environment

 

CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) Making environmental claims on goods and services. Published 20 September 2021. 'The guidance sets out principles which are designed to help businesses comply with the law. It explains each of these principles. It gives examples of how each of them applies and more detailed case studies where multiple principles apply. The guidance also sets out the legal framework on which these principles are based. The principles are: claims must be truthful and accurate; claims must be clear and unambiguous; claims must not omit or hide important relevant information; comparisons must be fair and meaningful; claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service; claims must be substantiated.' There's a video available on the linked document. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/green-claims-code-making-environmental-claims/environmental-claims-on-goods-and-services

Green Claims Guidance from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA):

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-a-green-claim/make-an-environmental-claim-for-your-product-service-or-organisation

 

The EU Commission Guidance on the Application of Directive 2005/29/EC on Unfair Commercial Practices includes Section 5.1 on Environmental Claims, and also provides EU Commission Guidelines for making and assessing environmental claims (Dec 2000). Compliance Criteria on Environmental Claims from Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Environmental claims 2016 ‘aims to build a common understanding concerning the interpretation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) in this area, with a view to achieving a uniform application throughout the EU’.

 

 

SELF-REGULATION

 

Industry codes 

 

The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) is the rule book for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications. This Code applies in media including print, posters, cinema, video and DVDs, mobile phones (SMS and MMS), VOD, Online including brand websites and e-mails. The Code incorporates and supplements provisions of EU law and national legislation. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is the Self-Regulatory body that creates, revises and enforces the Code. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the independent body that endorses and administers the Code.

https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/advertising-codes/non-broadcast-code.html

The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code). This Code applies to all advertisements and programme sponsorship credits on radio and television services licensed by Ofcom:

https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/advertising-codes/broadcast-code.html

 

 

Other rules and guidance from CAP
Non-exhaustive

 

Misleadingness/ claims

 

Misleading advertising. Advice online, Dec 2020

Oh what a tangled web – Misleading ads. CAP News, 16 Jan 2020

The Best Guide to Objective vs Subjective Claims in the Universe. CAP News, 22 Oct 2020

Six top tips to avoid Misleading Advertising. CAP News. Jan 2021

 

Gender stereotyping and sexuality

 

CAP and BCAP’s stricter rules prohibiting the sexual portrayal or sexual representation of under-18s (and those who appear to be under 18) in advertising came into force January 2018. The new rules provide that advertising must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. Rules are in full here. For further advice, see CAP’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Use of Stereotypes.

 

Social Responsibility

 

https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/social-responsibility.html

 Championing diversity during Black History Month October 2021

Disabilities in Ads CAP News December 2021

 

Use of data for marketing

 

In November 2018, CAP updated and overhauled their Section 10 in the GDPR context and renamed it as Use of data for marketing, reflecting their focus on marketing associated issues versus ‘pure’ database activities.

See also ‘Five top tips on our new rules on the use of data for marketing’:

https://www.asa.org.uk/news/five-top-tips-on-our-new-rules-on-the-use-of-data-for-marketing.html?dm_i=4PDW,39A4,7Y30Q,AH85,1

 

Native

 

September 2013 CAP News What is native advertising?

 September 2016 Recognising marketing communications: Overview

5 December 2016 Recognising ads: Contextually targeted branded content

13 March 2017 Guidance on the remit, presentation and content of advertisement features

 

Vlogging/ Influencers

 

Vlogging Advertising Guidance

 Guidance on Video Blogs scenarios:

 https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/video-blogs-scenarios.html

Video ‘Vloggers, bloggers and brands: a short guide to the ad rules:

https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/video-blogs-scenarios.html

Four essential questions to ask about video blogs. October 2016

ASA and ITV couple up to help Love Islanders use #ad. July 2019

February 2020. Influencers' guide to making clear that ads are ads

Special Edition Influencer Marketing Insight' February 2020

Tweeting: Don’t get all in a Twitter about your #marketing. March 2020

 

 

Pricing

 

Best Practice Guidance on VAT-inclusive and VAT-exclusive Price Claims Advertising Guidance January 2018:

https://www.asa.org.uk/resource/best-practice-guidance-on-vat-inclusive-and-vat-exclusive-price-claims.html

 

Prices – General:

https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/prices-general.html

 

Retailers’ Price Comparisons February 2013

 Lowest Price Claims and Price Promises February 2013

Availability September 2016

 Make sure the price is right: using reference pricing in ads. CAP News. February2020

 At the right price: making price comparisons with previous prices. CAP News. September 2020

 

Sales promotions/ promotional marketing

 

Promotional marketing: Prize winners Advice online 26 October 2021

Promotional marketing: General. October 2016. This guidance gives a brief summary of the key points and where to get more information:

https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/promotional-marketing-general.html

Not all conditions are created equal - a significant insight into significant conditions. CAP News. 11 Sep 2020

https://www.asa.org.uk/news/not-all-conditions-are-created-equal-a-significant-insight-into-significant-conditions.html?dm_i=4PDW,E969,7Y30Q,1NJ2E,1

Keep your “free” claims problem-free. CAP News 22 October 2020

Covers pure ‘free’ claims, ‘Conditional purchase’ promotions, and Package Offers, with links to other guidances on the topic and some relevant rulings

 

 

Environment

 

Misleading environmental claims and social responsibility guidance of 6 June, 2022; updated 10 February 2023 'to include guidance on the use of carbon neutral and net zero claims in advertising, which reflects key principles of the CMA guidance on environmental claims on goods and services.' Updated again June 23, 2023 (the first link still applies) - reflects recent decisions and carries new emphasis on social responsibility. 

Recycled reminders for Recycle Week 2023. CAP News 12 Oct 2023

It’s not that easy being ‘green’ – promoting good work without misleading by omission. CAP News July 27, 2023

News/ guidance re-issued June 2020

https://www.asa.org.uk/news/ensuring-your-environmental-claims-are-more-than-just-hot-air.html?dm_i=4PDW,C27P,7Y30Q,1CFR4,1

ASA statement on the regulation of environmental claims and issues in advertising. ASA News, 23 Sep 2021
https://www.asa.org.uk/news/asa-statement-on-the-regulation-of-environmental-claims-and-issues-in-advertising.html

Misleading environmental claims and social responsibility guidance of December 9, 2021 'consolidates the ASA's position'.

 

Remit

 

CAP’s document explaining the remit extension and its scope can be found here:

http://cap.org.uk/News-reports/Media-Centre/2014/ORE-update.aspx?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_term=&utm_content=Find out more&utm_campaign=Update - ORE update - .VL6kNYqsWX1

December 2014 CAP published an Online Remit Update which covers in depth the criteria that the ASA Council apply when deciding whether communication on an owned website falls within remit:

http://cap.org.uk/News-reports/Media-Centre/2014/~/media/Files/ASA/News/ORE Update Dec 2014.ashx

And May 2016 CAP Advice on User Generated Content (UGC):

https://www.cap.org.uk/News-reports/Media-Centre/2016/Insight-User-generated-content-is-king.aspx?utm_source=ASA+and+CAP+Master+list&utm_campaign=fc61ff660c-Insight+-+User+generated+content13%2F4%2F16+3%3A22+PM&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_436cabcb1d-fc61ff660c-71230881#.VzRZ2RUrL66

 

 

Native 

 

CAP Code Section 2, Recognition of Marketing Communications:

https://www.cap.org.uk/Advertising-Codes/Non-Broadcast/CodeItem.aspx?cscid=%7Bddd2e81c-7bc4-4b46-a770-76d7c396162a%7D#.V7R3DZMrL64

CAP Advice note is here:

http://cap.org.uk/Advice-Training-on-the-rules/Advice-Online-Database/Contextually-targeted-branded-content.aspx#.VL-pRoqsWX0

 

 

Testimonials

 

CAP issued Avoiding ‘Fake Views’ – A guide to testimonials and endorsements 10 Dec 2020

 

 

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS AND ICC

 

DMA

 

Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The trade body for the direct marketing industry. The DMA ‘manages programmes to protect consumers against bad practice and increase consumer trust in the industry. It promotes best practice through DMA codes of conduct and provides up-to-the-minute information, research and legal advice.’ www.dma.org.uk ‘The DMA Code is an aspirational agreement to which all DMA members and their business partners must adhere. It aims to promote one-to-one marketing as a true exchange of value between your business, looking to prosper, and your customer, looking to benefit – and provides you with the five clear principles that will guide you to achieve this, and against which your conduct will be measured. An important part of your role as a DMA member is to extol and spread the positive values and goals of this Code, for the benefit of our industry into the future.’ The DMA Code is linked below. More specific advice and guidelines are available to members.

https://dma.org.uk/the-dma-code


ISBA 

 

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers. From their website: ‘ISBA is the only body in the UK that enables advertisers to understand their industry and shape its future because it brings together a powerful community of marketers with common interests, empowers decision-making with knowledge and insight and gives a single voice to advocacy for the improvement of the industry.’ The ISBA Code of Conduct for influencer marketing was launched September 14, 2021. The Code is ‘not a new set of rules and regulations but is a guide to best practice in influencer marketing. It contains commitments from brands, agencies, and talent.’
https://www.isba.org.uk/knowledge/isba-influencer-marketing-code-conduct-september-2021

Updated May 2022: 'The Code is split into three parts, detailing the undertakings which brands, talent agencies, and influencers themselves have each given. It deals with subjects from ad measurement to the issuing of appropriately detailed briefs; and from protecting children and vulnerable groups to fee transparency.' The Code has 'a focus on helping brands to deliver better diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation in their influencer activity.'

https://www.isba.org.uk/article/updated-isba-influencer-marketing-code-conduct-focuses-diversity-and-inclusion

 

 

IAB UK/ EUROPE

 

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is the UK trade association for digital advertising, representing the UK’s leading brands, media owners and agencies:

https://www.iabuk.net/

How to Comply with EU Rules Applicable to Online Native Advertising

https://iabeurope.eu/all-news/how-to-comply-with-eu-rules-applicable-to-online-native-advertising/

Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF): 

https://iabeurope.eu/transparency-consent-framework/

February 2022. EU Regulators Rule Ad Tech Industry's TCF Framework Violates GDPR from GALA/ Mondaq. From that: 'The Belgian Data Protection Authority (DPA) has ruled that the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) adopted by Europe's ad tech industry violates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Further story here

Gold Standard (ad fraud, brand safety):

https://www.iabuk.com/news-article/iab-uk-gold-standard

 

EDAA

 

The European Self-Regulatory programme for OBA, administered by the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance:

http://www.edaa.eu

 

ICC

 

ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code 2018

https://iccwbo.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/09/icc-advertising-and-marketing-communications-code-int.pdf

 

From the introduction: ‘The ICC Code is constructed as an integrated system of ethical rules. There are General Provisions and Definitions which apply without exception to all marketing communications; these should be read in conjunction with the more detailed provisions and specific requirements set out in the relevant chapters:

 

Chapter A  Sales Promotion

Chapter B  Sponsorship

Chapter C  Direct Marketing and Digital Marketing Communications

Chapter D  Environmental Claims in Marketing Communications'

 

EASA

 

The European Advertising Standards Alliance is a non-profit organisation based in Brussels; it brings together national advertising Self-Regulatory Organisations (SROs, such as the ASA) and other organisations representing the advertising industry in Europe and beyond. EASA is 'the European voice for advertising self-regulation.' The following link provides members:

http://www.easa-alliance.org/members

 

WFA

World Federation of Advertisers 

https://www.wfanet.org/

 

GDPR guide for marketers:

http://info.wfa.be/WFA-GDPR-guide-for-marketers.pdf

The WFA launched their Planet Pledge in April 2021

And Global Guidance on Environmental Claims April 2022

 

ESA

The European Sponsorship Association:

www.sponsorship.org

 

 

 

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