Countdown to our 50th anniversary: 1988 – 1989
6 September 2012
1988 saw a dramatic fall in egg sales following a statement by Health Minister, Edwina Currie that the majority of British eggs were infected with the salmonella bacteria.
Cracking on, our 50 year retrospective reveals that in 1988 we paid homage to a key historical figure in the establishment of the UK advertising self-regulatory system, George Bogle. A renowned ad man, he is also the architect of the industry-wide levy system
which supports the ASA and CAP.
Our Chairman gave a glowing tribute, detailed in our Annual Report, to the man who persuaded “the whole industry, to accept, finance and provide effective sanctions for an extended system of self-regulation”, or as Lord McGregor liked to call it, “the Bogle system”.
We also recounted how our decision making was being tested in the courts with an insurance provider applying for a “judicial review in respect of a complaint against them which the ASA had upheld”. Not that this appears to have flustered Lord McGregor, indeed he seems to have positively welcomed it, offering his view that he had “always assumed that the ASA would be subject to judicial review, and I think it is right that this should be so. Indeed, I feel that it is realistic to regard the judgment as a recognition of the standing of the ASA as a body ‘clearly exercising a public law function’.”
The CAP Chairman meanwhile considered the “implementation of the Misleading Advertising Regulations as providing a long awaited statutory back-up to the self-regulatory system of advertisement control.” He went on to detail how the OFT had made a successful application to the courts for an injunction against an advertiser who consistently breached the Advertising Code despite complaints being upheld by the ASA.
It was also a year in which CAP had a spring clean, introducing the 8th edition of the Advertising Code as well as going through a rebrand. Our “new livery” and “redesigned corporate logo”, a blue tick, also prompted the Code writing body to formally adopt the name ‘Committee of Advertising Practice’. Hitherto known as the Code of Advertising Practice Committee, the Chairman acknowledged that the change was needed “We have long been known as CAP and we felt the name should fit.”
One of the key issues that the ASA grappled with in 1988 was ‘issue’ led advertising, for example by pressure groups, and what our role, if any, in regulating it should be.
Should we “as some complainants urge, treat ‘issue’ advertisers as no different from commercial advertisers of any kind?” Or should we “permit them to claim the right to speak as freely as the press or political parties?”
Back in the present day this debate remains. We still wrestle with the difficult challenge of respecting campaign and pressure groups’ right to freedom of expression, often on important issues, with the need to ensure claims in ads do not mislead, harm or offend.
Read the 1988 Annual report here