Our stakeholder engagement programme is designed to help us develop better relationships with the key organisations we regulate. The aim is to improve communication and increase mutual understanding.
Those who participate in the programme will be assigned a dedicated stakeholder manager, who will provide a point of ongoing access to us, when needed. The programme is tailored to individual needs and requirements, and will include an opportunity to participate in an annual review of your dealings with the ASA. Please note that your relationship with the stakeholder manager and participation in the programme will not replicate or replace the contact you have with other ASA employees on regulatory or other matters.
At least once a year, we’ll make sure to review our relationship to make sure it is as useful and efficient as possible.
The benefits of joining the programme can include:
- Increasing the collaborative nature of our dealings
- A central point of contact for issues that go beyond individual or one-off regulatory matters
- Building trust and understanding in how we respectively work
- Tailored access to training and advice on the Advertising Codes
Because of the resource-intensive nature of the programme we can’t guarantee that we can accommodate all requests to participate, but if you are interested in participating and want to know more please contact our programme manager.
Working with online platforms
There are many ways in which platforms cooperate directly with the ASA and the wider self-regulatory system to uphold compliance with the CAP Code, which sets the content, media placement and audience targeting rules for non-broadcast advertisements, including online. These arrangements vary from platform to platform:
- Advertising credits: providing advertising credits to fund ASA advertising campaigns on the platform with the aim of improving awareness of the ASA and, separately, to fund CAP advertising campaigns to promote the CAP Code, and CAP Advice and Training events to marketers. Also, to fund ASA ad campaigns to highlight to web users persistently misleading claims on traders’ own websites and to alert social media users to influencers that repeatedly fail to disclose the advertising nature of their posts.
- Advertiser on-boarding: bringing to advertisers’ attention, via the platform’s advertiser on-boarding process, the requirement to comply with the CAP Code.
- Tackling persistent offenders: on a case-by-case basis, removing ads by, and sometimes the accounts of, advertisers that refuse to comply with an ASA direction to amend or withdraw advertising that the ASA has found in breach of the CAP Code.
- Sector compliance: actively partnering with the ASA to ‘level the playing field’ where complaints or other regulatory intelligence suggest there are specific and high levels of non-compliance in a given advertising sector and removing, as necessary and guided by the ASA or CAP, ads by, and sometimes the accounts of, advertisers that refuse to comply with directions to amend non-compliant ads.
- Responding to ASA information requests: providing information e.g. anonymised data relating to advertisers’ selection of audience targeting options, to the ASA in response to an information request to inform the ASA’s regulation - for example, with our work collaborating with platforms around targeting alcohol ads on social media.
- ASA Scam ad alert system: removing swiftly a particular category of scam advertisement, brought to the attention of the host platform by the ASA. The ASA shares intelligence about the scam ad and, where available, the source account to support platforms and networks to combat scam ads.
- Funding: contributing directly to, and/or co-operating in, the arrangements for the funding of the self-regulatory system.
- Regulatory policy development: providing platform insight and expertise to help develop rules and guidance to support advertisers’ compliance with CAP Code rules on media placement and audience targeting of online ads.
- Training: providing pro bono training opportunities for ASA employees to enhance their understanding of the platform and the online advertising ecosystem, thereby supporting an ASA objective to keep pace with online ad tech and developments in online marketing.
Beyond cooperating directly with the ASA and the self-regulatory system, there are other ways in which platforms help to uphold compliance with the CAP Code, including:
- Platform advertising policies: production of ad policies consistent with and, in some cases, more restrictive than the CAP Code, designed to support advertisers’ compliance with laws and ensure a safe experience for online users.
- Platform targeting tools: providing age targeting tools and classifying content inventory to help ensure age-restricted ads e.g. for gambling, alcohol, foods high in fat, salt or sugar etc., do not, in breach of the CAP Code, target platform account holders or, as relevant, other platform users aged below a particular age e.g. under 18 or under 16.
Other regulatorsThe ASA has two major formal relationships with regulators who have legal powers: Ofcom, our co-regulatory partner for broadcast advertising and Trading Standards.
We work with other regulators, as appropriate, to ensure that regulation is joined-up and consistent. If you think that the ASA has acted in a way that is inconsistent with other regulators, please contact us.
Other regulators we work with include:
- Gambling Commission
- Financial Conduct Authority
- Food Standards Agency
- Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
- Phone-paid Services Authority
- The Portman Group
- Trading Standards
- Competition and Markets Authority
Our expertsFrom time to time we also call on independent experts to help us interpret evidence that may have been provided to us. Sometimes the evidence can be highly technical, for example medical trials or technological tests, so we work with experts to help us interpret the evidence accurately.
We all see ad campaigns that originate from outside the UK on a daily basis, for example, by post, email, text, online, by reading a magazine or newspaper that has been published overseas, or by travelling to another country.
To make sure consumers can trust the ads they see and hear, the ASA helped found the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA). EASA works to support and promote advertising self-regulation across Europe and operates a cross-border complaints mechanism.
Our Advertising Codes apply to the UK only, so we cannot usually look into complaints about ads published in foreign media or that originated from abroad. Find out more about how we handle complaints, including complaints about ads from overseas.
International Council for Ad Self-Regulation
The ASA is a proud supporter of the International Council for Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS). Find out more about the ICAS Guide to Developing a Self-Regulatory Organisation, which is a reference guide to self-regulation globally, with a particular focus on setting up self-regulatory systems for promoting responsible advertising.