This page lists substantive rule changes made to the CAP Code since it was published in 2010.

It does not list administrative changes, for example where references to legislation, licensing or other bodies have been updated without impacting the effect of the rules, or changes to introductory passages or similar which describe, for example, the scope of the sections involved.

For further information, please refer to the following list of relevant legislation affecting advertising:

  Legislation affecting advertising.pdf


CAP Code sections containing changes:

Scope of the Code
03 Misleading advertising
09 Distance selling
10 Database practice
11 Environmental claims
12 Medicines
15 Food
16 Gambling
20 Employment
21 Tobacco
22 Electronic Cigarettes
 

Scope of the Code

Addition of 1(h)

"Advertisements and other marketing communications by or from companies, organisations or sole traders on their own websites, or in other non-paid-for space online under their control, that are directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods, services, opportunities and gifts, or which consist of direct solicitations of donations as part of their own fund-raising activities.
 

Addition of IV (l)

In relevant cases the ASA will have regard to existing statutory enforcement bodies. The ASA reserves the right to refer complainants to the relevant statutory regulator in cases where a complaint about a marketing communication relates to a Code rule that reflects a legal provision for a regulated product.
 

03 Misleading advertising

Amendment of 3.18, was:

Quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers. VAT-exclusive prices may be given only if all or most consumers pay no VAT or can recover VAT; marketing communications that quote VAT-exclusive prices must prominently state the amount or rate of VAT payable if some consumers are likely to pay VAT.
 

Amendment to 3.19, was:

Quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers. VAT-exclusive prices may be given only if all or most consumers pay no VAT or can recover VAT; advertisements that quote VAT-exclusive prices must prominently state the amount or rate of VAT payable if some consumers are likely to pay VAT.
 

Amendment to 3.35. was:

They must objectively compare one or more material, relevant, verifiable and representative feature of those products.
 

Amendment to 3.39. was:

Marketing communications that include a price comparison must state the basis of the comparison. Comparisons with a competitor price must be with the price for an identical or substantially equivalent product and must explain significant differences between the products. If the competitor offers more than one similar product, marketers should compare their price with the price for the competitor’s product that is most similar to the advertised product.
 

09 Distance selling

Amendment to Background, was:

Most distance selling contracts
 

Amendment to Definition, was:

Distance selling marketing communications are marketing communications that promote specific goods or services and include direct response mechanisms that allow readers to place orders without face-to-face contact with the marketer.
 

Addition to Definition:

In this section of the Code (and only in this section), ‘consumer’ refers to those acting outside the course of their business.
 

Addition of rule 9.10

This rule must be read in conjunction with Directive (EC) No 2010/30/EU and the Energy Information Regulations 2011 on labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products and its subsequent delegated regulations. The Directive introduces an information and labelling framework whereby delegated regulations will detail which products need to contain an energy efficiency rating or fiche. The rule only applies to products which are subject to a delegated regulation.

For more information on delegated regulations, go to http://ec.europa.eu/energy.

Marketers must make product fiche information about products that fall under delegated regulations available to consumers before commitment.
 

10 Database practice

Amendments to 10.16, was:

Marketers must not knowingly collect personal information about other people from children under 16.
 

11 Environmental claims

Addition of 11.8:

This rule must be read in conjunction with Directive (EC) No 2010/30/EU and the Energy Information Regulations 2011 on labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products and its subsequent delegated regulations. The Directive introduces an information and labelling framework whereby delegated regulations will detail which products need to contain an energy efficiency rating or fiche. The rule only applies to products which are subject to a delegated regulation.

For more information on delegated regulations, go to http://ec.europa.eu/energy.

Marketing communications for specific energy-related products, subject to a delegated regulation, that include energy-related information or disclose price information, must include an indication of the product’s energy efficiency class i.e. in the range A+++ to G.
 

12 Medicines

Insertion of 12.2.1

Amendments to 12.9, was:

Marketers must not encourage consumers to use a product to excess and must hold proof before suggesting their product or therapy is guaranteed to work, absolutely safe or without side-effects.
 

Amendments to 12.14, was:

Marketers must not use fear or anxiety to promote a medicine or a recovery from illness and must not suggest that using or avoiding a product can affect normal health.
 

Insertion of  12.14.1/.2/.3/.4

 

Amendments to 12.19, was:

Marketing communications for a medicine may not claim that its effects are as good as or better than those of another identifiable product.

Addition of 12.24:

Marketing communications for services offering advice on unplanned pregnancy must make clear if the service does not refer women directly for a termination. Given that terminations are lawful only in some circumstances, and are subject to particularly stringent requirements in Northern Ireland, marketers may wish to seek legal advice.
 

15 Food

Amendments to Principle, was:

Public health policy increasingly emphasises good dietary behaviour and an active lifestyle as a means of promoting health. Commercial product advertising cannot reasonably be expected to perform the same role as education and public information in promoting a varied and balanced diet but should not undermine progress towards national dietary improvement by misleading or confusing consumers.
 

Amendments to Background, was:

These rules must be read in conjunction with the relevant legislation including the Food Safety Act 1990, the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (as amended) - especially Schedule 6 and Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Foods.

Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Foods is complex and mandatory and seeks to protect consumers from misleading or false claims. Transitional periods apply and CAP advises advertising industry stakeholders to take advice on the effect of that Regulation.

Advertising industry stakeholders might find the Guidance to Compliance with European Regulation (EC) No 1924 on Nutrition and Health Claims Made on Foods published by the Food Standards Agency useful: www.food.gov.uk

References to food apply also to soft drink products.

These rules should be read in conjunction with other rules in this Code, especially Section 5: Children, Section 13: Weight Control and Slimming, the Help Note on Food and Soft Drink Products and Children and the Help Note on Criteria for Nutrition Claims.
 

Addition to Definitions:

For the purposes of the rules in this section:

‘Nutrition claim’ means any claim which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties due to:

(a) the energy (calorific value) it provides; provides at a reduced or increased rate; or does not provide; and/or

(b) the nutrients or other substances it contains; contains in reduced or increased proportions; or does not contain;

‘Health claim’ means any claim that states, suggests or implies that a relationship exists between a food category, a food or one of its constituents and health.

‘Reduction of disease risk claim’ means any health claim that states, suggests or implies that the consumption of a food category, a food or one of its constituents significantly reduces a risk factor in the development of a human disease.

References to food apply also to drink products."
 

Addition to Rules:

“These rules should be read in conjunction with other rules in this Code, especially Section 5: Children and Section 13: Weight Control and Slimming.
 

Amendments to 15.1, was:

15.1 Marketing communications that contain nutrition or health claims must be supported by documentary evidence to show they meet the conditions of use associated with the relevant claim, as specified by the European Commission. Claims must be presented clearly and without exaggeration.
 

Amendments to 15.1.1, was:

Only Nutrition Claims listed in the Annex of EC Regulation 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims Made on Foods or claims that would have the same meaning may be used in marketing communications.”

Authorised health claims in the Community Register or claims that would have the same meaning may be used in marketing communications.

Depending on the nature of the claim EC Regulation 1924/2006 contains a number of complex transitional periods, including those for health claims which are still being assessed for adoption to the EU list of permitted health claims (and which comply with existing national provisions), and for trademarks or brand names in use prior to 1 January 2005. There is no transition period for reduction of disease risk claims, which are prohibited until authorised.
 

Amendments to 15.2, was:

References to general benefits of a nutrient or food for overall good health or health-related well-being are acceptable only if accompanied by a relevant authorised claim.
 

Amendments to 15.6.2, was:

Claims that state or imply a food prevents, treats or cures human disease. Reduction-of disease-risk claims are acceptable if authorised by the European Commission
 

Amendments to 15.6.5, was:

Claims of a nutrition or health benefit that gives rise to doubt the safety or nutritional adequacy of another product


Amendments to Food Supplements and other Vitamins and Minerals, was:

CAP advises marketers to ensure that claims made for dietary supplements and other vitamins and minerals are in line with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Foods.
 

Amendments to 15.7, was:

Nutrition and health claims for food supplements must be permitted or authorised as provided for at rule 15.1.1 above. Marketing communications that contain nutrition or health claims must be supported by documentary evidence to show they meet the conditions of use associated with the relevant claim, as specified by the European Commission.
 

Amendments to Infant and Follow-on Formula, was:

These rules must be read in conjunction with the relevant legislation including the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 2007 and the European Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Foods.
 

Addition above 15.14.1:

Additionally, for children under 16:
 

Amendments to 15.17, was:

Marketing communications must not give a misleading impression of the nutritional or health benefit of the product as a whole. Claims referring to children’s development and health are acceptable if authorised by the European Commission.
 

16 Gambling

Amendments to 16.3.14, was:

…include a child or a young person. No-one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old may be featured gambling or playing a significant role. No-one may behave in an adolescent, juvenile or loutish way.
 

20 Employment

Amendments to 20.3, was:

Employment agencies and employment businesses must make clear in their marketing communications their full name and contact details. Marketing communications should state that the marketer is an employment agency or an employment business if its name does not disclose that it is.
 

21 Tobacco

Addition to Scope:

The scope of the Tobacco Products rule, in particular, as it relates to advertisements appearing on marketer’s own websites where tobacco products are offered for sale, is determined by the relevant UK legislation on tobacco advertising.
 

22 Electronic Cigarettes

Insertion of section 22 (Electronic Cigarettes)