Call for evidence - issues around body image and advertising

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) are announcing an open call for evidence to assist in their regulation of advertising which gives rise to potential harms relating to body image concerns. 

Body image is how we think and feel about ourselves physically, and how we believe others see us. The protection of consumers against potential harms arising from advertising is at the heart of CAP and BCAP’s regulation, and this includes the protection against potential body image related harms from advertising. The UK Advertising Codes already offer a number of protections that are intended to mitigate such potential harms. 

In launching this call for evidence, CAP and BCAP would like to seek an up-to-date understanding of the current evidence base surrounding the potential body image related harms from advertising and the potential detrimental impact of those harms on consumers. In particular, CAP and BCAP welcome evidence that updates and improve their understanding of the following areas:

  1. Types and themes of ad content that give rise to body image concerns
  2. Impact of advertising on self-perception of body image experienced by different audience groups
  3. Impact of social media advertising, including influencer marketing, on body image concerns, in light of increased online media use
  4. Potential impact of advertising content for specific product sectors (for example, cosmetic interventions, weight control and reduction, beauty and cosmetics, etc.)
  5. Positive impact of advertising on consumers’ body image perceptions

For further information, please see the call for evidence document.

CAP and BCAP will evaluate the evidence they receive with the primary objective of understanding whether there are body image harms arising from advertising that are not adequately addressed by existing rules and guidance, or the ASA’s application of those. CAP and BCAP will publish its analysis, together with an outline of any related actions, in 2022. 

The call for evidence closes at 5pm on Thursday 13 January 2022. Please send your submissions to [email protected].

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