As part of the on-going Advice:am programme, CAP ran an interesting seminar with regards to online advertising today (10 October). We have captured here some of the questions that were asked (not verbatim) and the answers provided by the team.

Q: If a journalist uses parts of a press release, would this be out of ASA & CAP’s remit?
A: Yes, press releases and editorial are out of remit.

Q: If you ask "what do you think of our product" on Facebook, then delete negative User Generated Content to only / mostly leave positive comments, is that in remit?
A: Moderating comments, for example offensive content, will not bring the comment board into remit. However, removing negative comments and only leaving the positive ones will make the comments effectively into testimonials or endorsements and they will be expected to comply with the Code.

Q: The ASA has adjudicated on url’s in sponsored links, would the same apply to the url appearing in natural search?
A: No, natural search is not within remit.

Q: Does a website have to be selling a product directly through the website for any claims it makes about that product to be within remit?
A: No, it is likely that the claims about that product would still be within remit, even, if for example, the product was only available to buy from a shop.

Q: You mentioned complaints about marketing communications on Facebook and Twitter. Are the same true for other social media sites?
A: All sites would be within remit but we haven’t adjudicated on any ads on other social media channels to date.

Q: You said websites which solicit money for donations (e.g. charities) would be within remit, have you had many complaints on this?
A: No, we have not adjudicated on any complaints of this nature to date.

Q: Have you received many complaints about financial services online adverts?
A: One area of recurring concern is claims management companies offering to reclaim PPI compensation. Some complaints about financial products are covered by statutory legislation, so we would refer them on to the appropriate body, like the Financial Services Authority.

Q: Do you cover SMS texts about PPI reclaims?
A: Yes, SMS has always been within remit.

Q: Will Clearcast clear videos for a website?
A: Clearcast generally deal with broadcast advertising but can offer advice on video-on-demand ads. CAP Copy Advice service can offer advice on all non-broadcast advertising including videos on websites.

Q: You have adjudicated on a url misleading consumers as to the identity of the advertiser (for example, wrongly applying association with the nhs), would that also apply to a misleading email address?
A: Yes, if it was a marketing email.

Q: How does the website audit work?
A: An advertiser can seek advice on individual marketing communications on their website using CAP’s free Copy Advice service. Alternatively, a full website audit is available for a fee. To find out more click here

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