The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today welcomes the Advertising Association’s (AA) announcement recommending the extension of the ASA’s remit in digital media to cover marketing communications on companies’ own websites. This is a significant development in advertising self-regulation, which would broaden the existing protections for consumers and children online.

Currently, the ASA’s online remit covers paid-for marketing communications such as pop-up and banner ads, paid-search and viral ads. However, nearly two thirds of the complaints that we receive about online marketing activity are not presently covered by the Code. The proposed extension of our remit will plug this regulatory gap, ensuring that consumers enjoy the same level of protection on websites as they do in paid-for space.

Lord Smith of Finsbury, Chairman of the ASA, said: “We very much welcome the proposal to extend the ASA’s remit. This is a direct and sensible response to people’s concerns about the protection of consumers and children online.  We know from our active monitoring work that where the Code applies, there is very high compliance with the rules and ASA decisions.  This move will enable us to deal with the number of complaints that currently fall outside our remit; and it is another example of the self-regulatory system responding to social and technological changes.” 

Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Chairman, Andrew Brown says: “This demonstrates the UK industry takes its collective responsibility to society seriously by extending the robust self-regulatory protections that already exist online to include marketing on websites. We welcome the complex work undertaken by industry to finalise recommendations that cover three key principles - a newly defined online remit, effective enforcement measures and a funding mechanism.  CAP will now consider all the implications and practicalities of the recommendations in consultation with the appropriate stakeholders, with the ultimate aim of bringing the new remit into effect as soon as possible.”

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