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What we cover

What the ASA regulatesWe deal with most types of ads but not all. If we can’t deal with your complaint ourselves, we will try to help you contact the right body.

The types of ads we deal with include:

  • Magazine and newspaper advertisements 
  • Radio and TV commercials (not programmes or programme sponsorship) 
  • Television Shopping Channels 
  • Advertisements on the Internet, including:
    • banner and display ads
    • paid-for (sponsored) search
    • Marketing on companies’ own websites and in other space they control like social networking sites Twitter and Facebook 
  • Commercial e-mail and SMS text message ads
  • Posters on legitimate poster sites (not fly posters)
  • Leaflets and brochures 
  • Cinema commercials 
  • Direct mail (advertising sent through the post and addressed to you personally) 
  • Door drops and circulars (advertising posted through the letter box without your name on) 
  • Ads on CD ROMs, DVD and video, and faxes
  • Sales promotions, such as special offers, prize draws and competitions wherever they appear.

Online behavioural advertising

The ASA now regulates Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA). OBA is the practice of collecting information from web browsers so that it can be used to present online advertisements that are more relevant to the user of a particular computer. The rules we oversee require businesses to make clear when they are collecting and using information for OBA and require them to provide a tool so that you can choose not to receive it. If you’re considering making a complaint about receiving OBA advertising, we recommend you read the advice here as it will help you decide whether making a complaint to us is the right option for you at this stage.

Before lodging a complaint with us, please read the issues we can’t help with. The list includes links to other bodies that might be able to help. Read more about areas of complaint outside our remit.

Complaining about an overseas ad?

Then your complaint will be treated as a cross-border complaint. Read more here


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