Countdown to our 50th anniversary: 2008
24 September 2012
In searching for positive news from 2008, we will not look to the increasingly gloomy economic front, but instead focus on the end of feudalism in Europe. Yes, it really took until 2008, when the Channel Island of Sark held its first democratic elections under a new constitutional arrangement, ending its former feudal arrangements.
The ASA’s governance is far from feudal, but it was still an era-defining year for CAP and BCAP as it marked the launch of the Code review - the first time in almost 50 years that the UK’s Advertising Codes had been reviewed at the same time (the broadcast codes having previously been the responsibility of Ofcom and other regulatory bodies). It was also the first time that a review of the broadcast codes had been done by a body other than a Government agency and it was the first major review of the Non-broadcast Code since the mid-nineties.
In other Code news from 2008, the introduction of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs), which introduced legal definitions of unfair, misleading and aggressive trading practices and set out a framework for the assessment of such commercial practices, meant that BCAP and CAP had to make immediate changes to the rules to reflect the new legislation.
To help the industry get up to speed with these important changes, CAP ran dedicated training sessions, highlighting the implications of CPRs for marketing communications and covering specific subjects such as the use of “free”, prize promotions and advertising to children.
Environmental claims also came under focus in 2008. Complaint numbers in this area fell in 2008, having reached an all-time high in 2007; however the number of upheld rulings issued by the ASA increased. We carried out our first dedicated Environmental Claims Survey in 2008 and we identified that 94% of ads containing environmental claims were compliant with the Advertising Codes. This pointed that although there was a high awareness among businesses of the rules around green claims in advertising, there was room for improvement.
And finally, on a very positive note, a survey commissioned by the Press Complaints Commission in 2008, and conducted by Ipsos Mori, identified the ASA as the best known media regulator in the UK, highlighting that consumers knew who to turn to when they saw problem advertising.
Read our 2008 Annual Report here