The Copy Advice team deals with questions on a wide range of topics on a daily basis. Below are a few common general enquires we receive. Have a question we haven’t answered? Give us a call on 020 7492 2100, or send us an enquiry through our web form.

Does the Advertising Code apply to Facebook, Twitter and other social media?

The Code applies to any marketing claims in online space under an advertiser’s control. Any marketing claims a company tweets or posts is subject to the same rules as advertising in other media. The Code does not apply to user generated content, unless advertisers incorporate it into their own advertising (e.g. by retweeting or quoting users).

My competitors do this, does that mean it’s ok?

Not necessarily. If you are worried that your ad may breach the Code the Copy Advice team can check it for you. If you are concerned that a competitor is breaching the Code, we recommend you follow the ASA’s industry complaints process.

It’s cleared in the US so that makes it okay, right?

Again, not necessarily. The CAP Code is specific to the UK, and we will need to make our own assessments of evidence.

Can I use a testimonial as evidence?

While testimonials can be a good way to demonstrate the quality of your products or service, they are unlikely to be considered suitable evidence for efficacy claims. Additionally, the opinions expressed in them must be supported, if necessary, with independent evidence of their accuracy.

Do I need to substantiate claims like “excellent service” or “fantastic offers”?

Obvious exaggerations, claims that are unlikely to be taken literally and clear statements of opinion are unlikely to need substantiation. The ASA allows for puffery, but advertisers should bear in mind that some claims, for example, “best”, can be objective in certain contexts.

Do I have to seek Copy Advice?

The Copy Advice service is set up to ensure that advertisers, agencies and media owners have access to high quality, bespoke advice provided by experts. Advertisers are not obligated to seek advice prior to publishing an ad; we are simply here to help you try and avoid a potential ASA investigation.

My campaign is multimedia; can you advise on TV ads?

Copy Advice is committed to providing advice on non-broadcast advertising and we can only advise under the CAP Code. Similar services exist for both TV and Radio advertising and we would urge advertisers to contact the appropriate broadcast pre-clearance centre for advice and clearance: Clearcast for TV ads, and the RACC for radio ads.

I haven’t created an ad yet, can you still advise me?

Of course! Assessing ads allows us to easily spot any issues, but we can advise on copy and campaigns early in your creative process to highlight potential pitfalls before they cost you time and money. We are more than happy to look at the same campaign several times as it evolves and can offer advice on ideas, mock-ups and scamps, as well as the final creative.

I’d like to get Copy Advice but my campaign is confidential.

The information you give us is only used to ensure you are given accurate, tailored advice and guidance from our team. A summary of your enquiry is recorded on our database which enables us to share our opinion with the ASA should it conduct an investigation into the ad at a later date. The ASA will use the information to establish whether you have complied with the advice given by the Copy Advice team. All enquiries are completely confidential from your competitors.

I’m up against a deadline – how quickly can you get back to me?

We appreciate the time pressures you’re under. That’s why our experienced advisors are here to answer your questions immediately on the phone, Monday – Friday 09:00 – 17:30. Just call us on 020 7492 2100. If you’ve got an ad you want our view on, just submit it to us via our online request form. We respond to over 95% of enquiries within 24 hours. During very busy periods it may take a little longer, but we’ll usually put a message on our website to let you know first. An express response (within four hours) is also available.

If I come to you first the ASA can’t uphold a complaint about my ad?

It goes a long way to ensuring compliance and it’s rare that the ASA bans ads we thought were acceptable. That said, we can’t guarantee that the ASA will always see things exactly the same way as we do, or that an ad won’t attract complaints. Subjective issues such as taste, decency and public sensitivities change over time so it is possible that the ASA might receive complaints about something that has not previously been a problem. As part of the investigation process, the ASA will check if Copy Advice was consulted. The adviser who dealt with your enquiry will explain to the ASA why we thought the copy was acceptable and, if it sees that you tried to avoid provoking complaints, the ASA will bear that in mind when reaching its decision.


More on

  • Keep up to date

    Sign up to our rulings, newsletters and emargoed access for Press. Subscribe now.