Countdown to our 50th anniversary: 1985 – 1986
3 September 2012
1985 marked a good year for charitable causes doing good things for others, with the launch of both Comic Relief, and the Live Aid concerts held in London and Philadelphia.
Turning to the ASA’s 22nd Annual Report, the Chairman’s foreword strikes a contemplative tone, asking what it means to do good for others. This followed a recent proliferation of calls from groups and organisations, “claiming to know what is good for their fellow citizens”.
Lord McGregor’s response was that, in a democratic society, it should be for Parliament alone to possess the power to prohibit the advertising of goods which may be produced and sold lawfully. He wrote, “It is no part of the ASA's duty to establish a censorship on behalf of groups or organisations which believe that they know how to make all of us better.” Citing healthy eating as a particular example, Lord McGregor wrote that “risk is embedded in the interstices of life”, and that when exercising choices about dietary practices, as well as high risk behaviour more generally, people accept such risks.
For the first time in 1985, the Advertising Codes were produced in a language other than English, with 20,000 copies of a shortened code produced in Welsh. Orders were also placed for versions of the Code in Hindi and Gujarati, which were to become available in 1986. The ASA also distributed 3,000 copies of a wall chart for schools in response to a request for more consumer education material by the National Consumer Council. Back to the present day, the ASA is to publish in the next month a new teaching resource for use by secondary school teachers to provide more students with education about advertising regulation.
And finally, 1985 also saw the introduction of the seventh edition of the British Code of Advertising Practice following a two year full Code review for the first time since 1974. The Codes are regularly subject to full consultation and review, with the last Code review having been undertaken in 2009, with full details of the consultation process available on the CAP website.
Read the 1984 Annual report here.