What does it mean for brands?
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is a regulatory body that has been in operation for over 50 years. Its core mandate is to control and regulate advertising content on the media including the Internet.
With advertising being the only way that marketers can reach potential clients, sometimes there can be temptation to give untrue information or misleading details concerning a product or service. This is especially true where markets are shrinking or competition is severe. Such are some of the factors that led to creation of the regulatory body. Its functions include ensuring that all adverts are legal, truthful and accurate. ASA also ensures that the advertisements are within the advertising codes that have been set up.
A number of rules that have been put in place regarding misleading advertisements, betting, content related to child protection and social responsibility. These, together with the repercussions and penalties for non-adherence, are clearly outlined in the Advertising Code which must be complied with by all brands.
There are millions of advertisements that go on air every day through different mediums. In UK alone, it is estimated that over 10 million advertisements are recorded each year. Those that do not go through the formal channels are even more. Out of these, statistics show that close to 50,000 complaints are received regarding the content of the advertisements. The complaints range from lies, misleading instructions, harmful manuals and mature content targeted at children. These are just some of the wrongs that the Advertising Standards Authority is supposed to correct.
Over the years, ASA has built a strong foundation of protecting the public through auditing and health checking the content that is delivered to them through print, audio/visual and the Internet. What this means is that all advertisements formulated to popularize brands must be compliant to the acceptable standards that govern national advertising. Failure to conform simply means that the said advertisement will not be allowed to broadcast across the mainstream advertising media.
The strict rules that have been set up by ASA have seen thousands of adverts either changed or struck off completely from being shown to the public. Complaints are acted upon immediately they are received. The body has an action window period that must not exceed 13 days from when a complaint is lodged.
Research carried out in the last few years indicate that the number of advertisements that are now fully compliant to the Advertising Standards Authority code has hit 97%. This is attributable to stringent measures out by the body that have sealed many loopholes in the advertising industry.