Countdown to our 50th anniversary: 1998
14 September 2012
The ASA’s 34th Annual Report marked the events of 1998 which, in the world outside of the ASA’s home in Torrington Place, consisted of the release of the £2 coin in the UK and the film Titanic cruising to victory at the 70th Academy Awards, capturing a haul of 11 Oscars.
1998 also marked the fierce debate which raged around Westminster on the proposed legislation to ban fox-hunting. This debate generated a considerable amount of work for the ASA, as we had to deal with large numbers of complaints about ads on the subject. After investigation, several of the claims made in ads by both sides of the hunting debate were criticised by the ASA for making exaggerated or inadequately supported claims.
Our Annual Report reveals that advertising standards were high in 1998, with the compliance rate of press ads measured by our survey at 97%, and the compliance rate of poster ads found to be 98%. Our Report also contained a strong focus on weight related matters and, in line with advice received from the Department of Health, we revised the acceptable limit for weight loss claims in ads from 3lbs a week to 2lbs a week.
1998 also saw the launch of the poster pre-vetting procedure. From 1 June 1998, advertisers whose posters received complaints which resulted in an upheld ASA adjudication for reasons of taste and decency or social responsibility were required to have their future poster ads pre-vetted by the CAP Copy Advice team for a two-year period.
The Commission for Racial Equality and Talk Radio received the dubious honour of becoming the first advertisers to be subjected to this sanction, one that can still be invoked today should it be required.
Read the 1998 Annual Report here