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ASA/CAP Annual Report 2009: An ongoing commitment to protecting children

26 May 2010

ASA/CAP Annual Report 2009The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), Annual Report 2009 published today reveals the proactive measures the advertising regulatory system has taken to protect children from harmful or inappropriate advertising.

As the UK’s independent regulator of advertising, the ASA has a long-standing commitment to socially responsible advertising and the protection of children, which is reinforced through CAP, the industry body that writes the Advertising Codes. In 2009, the work of the ASA and CAP included:

  • New rules: CAP consulted on and adopted new rules to increase the protection of children
  • ASA rulings: tough action on ads that were detrimental to children e.g.
    • an ad for the film ‘Wanted’ featuring Angelina Jolie, which condoned and glamorised violence, and an ad by American Apparel, which sexualised children and
    • the ASA ruled against an ad for, an online gaming site, for its likely appeal to minors 
    • Pro-active monitoring: the ASA surveyed ads to check they were compliant with the Advertising Codes, e.g. film and video games ads, 99% of which were found to be compliant
    • Guidance: CAP published practical guidance for the video games and film industries on how to create responsible ads
    • Training: ASA and CAP ran a range of industry training sessions, including on the children’s rules, to prevent ads from breaching the rules.

    Although the vast majority of ads are compliant with the rules, including those designed to protect children, the ASA and CAP continue to focus on those that are not, placing the protection of children at the heart of their work.

    This ongoing commitment was underlined by the industry’s recent recommendation to extend further the ASA’s remit in digital media to cover marketing communications on companies’ own websites. This measure will benefit all consumers but, notably, will address Government and parental concerns about protecting children online. 

    The Report also reveals:

    • 28,978 complaints were received
    • There was a 10% decline in the number of ad complained about
    • 2,397 ads or campaigns were changed or withdrawn as a result of ASA action
    • The most complained about sectors and media

    Chairman of the ASA, Lord Chris Smith, said “We share concerns about the need to protect children and young people from harm and inappropriate content. That is why the Advertising Codes are increasingly strict in these areas and the ASA continues to uphold them robustly and independently. It is highly encouraging, therefore, that compliance with the rules remains very high. Overall, we are well placed to meet the challenges ahead, confident that the regulatory system is evolving with the ever changing media landscape.”

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