Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

The CAP Code includes a specific exclusion for “sponsorship”. This is not defined but is usually interpreted quite narrowly by the ASA.

Sponsorship, in and of itself, is an arrangement or contract between a brand and another party and the CAP Code does not apply to arrangements themselves, only to the categories of communication outlined in the Scope of the Code. As such, while the terms of the arrangement and some of the materials arising from it are likely to fall beyond to the scope of the Code, advertising that refers to sponsorship arrangements, e.g. press ads, posters or claims on a marketer’s own website, remains within the scope of the Code.

In practice, this exemption is usually applied to logos and messages on the kits of professional sportspeople and athletes, on racing vehicles and on posters or pitch/track-side hoardings that have appeared as part of a sponsorship agreement (rather than by virtue of having paid purely for ad space). But, an image of, or reference to, any of these things appearing in an ad, e.g. a press ad, poster, or on the marketer's own website or social media, may fall within the scope of the Code.

The broad principles of this exemption have also been applied to editorial content where there has been payment by a marketer (in money or 'in kind') but they have no editorial control (see ‘Recognising ads: Advertisement features’).  Such content is, however, still likely to fall within the scope of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, enforced by other regulatory and enforcement bodies such as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Trading Standards. 

See also ‘Remit: General’.

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