Lord David Currie of Marylebone has become the new Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). David takes the reigns of the 55 year-old regulator, as we continue to pursue our strategy of proactively tackling irresponsible advertising, with 3,034 ads changed or withdrawn in the first half of 2017 (up 88% compared to the same period in 2016).
David is an accomplished regulator, having acted as the inaugural Chairman of both Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). He sits in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher. As Chairman he will lead the 13 member ASA Council, Board of the ASA and the body that rules on whether to uphold complaints about ads. Over the first six months of 2017, we processed 13,131 complaints about 9,487 ads, with 11% more cases resolved compared to the same period in 2016.
The ASA Council also oversees much of the regulator’s pro-active work, with recent initiatives including: tougher standards on broadband prices in ads to ensure consumers aren’t misled; research into how consumers understand ‘was’ and ‘now’ prices to establish whether more needs to be done to avoid misleadingness; a commitment to new standards to remove harmful gender stereotypes in ads from 2018.
David takes over the chairmanship of the regulator following the decade-long leadership of former Cabinet Minister Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury. Over that period we:
- Handled 294,000 complaints from consumers about 167,000 ads
- Secured the amendment or withdrawal of 35,000 ads
- Delivered over 1,273,000 pieces of training to advertisers on the ad rules
During that same period, we extended its remit to cover ads on companies’ own websites and social media platforms. In the five years since that change, regulation of those ads has come to account for nearly half of our regulation and one in three of all cases resolved.
David Currie, incoming ASA Chairman said:
“The vast majority of ads in the UK are responsible, but where an ad is misleading, harmful or offensive the ASA is here to put it right. As I take up the chairmanship of the ASA, newer forms of online advertising continue to gain ground, including native and influencer ads and those whose targeting is based on consumers’ preferences. Across all of these spheres, as well as in the traditional media, the ASA’s mission remains the same – to make every UK ad a responsible ad”.