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New online remit enhances consumer protection

1 March 2011

Internet signFrom 1 March 2011 the ASA’s online remit now extends to cover companies’ own marketing claims on their own websites and in other non-paid for space they control. This landmark development brings enhanced consumer protection, particularly for children.

We already regulate internet ads in paid-for space, like banner ads, pop-ups and paid search results, but our new responsibilities mean that we now apply the same high standards to marketing communications on companies own websites and in other non-paid space they control, like Facebook and Twitter.

The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, which includes rules to make sure advertisements do not mislead, harm or offend, will be applied to all UK based company websites regardless of the sector or size of business or organisation.

Since 2008, we have received over 4,500 complaints that we couldn’t deal with, but now anyone who has a concern about an online marketing communication will be able to turn to us. Not only is this good news for consumers, it is also good for business – marketing communications that are trusted are more likely to work and deliver value.

The extension to the ASA’s remit was in response to a recommendation from the UK ad industry, which has a long history of being committed to ensuring ads across media are legal, decent, honest and truthful. By extending the ASA’s remit, industry has responded to consumers’ demands.

Advertising self-regulation has been successful in keeping advertising standards high for almost 50 years. Our new online remit shows that we are continuing to keep pace with changes in technology for the benefit of consumers, business and society. 

Written by Sally Ramsden 

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