ASA to be Responsible for Regulation of Online Marketing
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has reminded businesses to review their marketing material on social media profiles and websites to ensure it is not misleading, as it will extend its remit to monitor these channels from 1 March 2011.
Businesses will have to ensure that their site and social media presence comply with the non-broadcast advertising rules set out in the Commission of Advertising Practice (CAP) code. Although the ASA cannot fine businesses, it can ask them to remove advertising and will publicise those that have breached best practice.
The CAP Code states that any marketing information that businesses publish must be “legal, decent, honest and truthful”. This includes that any claims they make about their firm can be backed up with evidence – for example, stating that a product is energy-efficient. The code also includes rules for advertising responsibly to children, and avoiding causing offence through marketing content.
Currently, the watchdog only covers paid-for adverts, including online pop-ups and banners, but excludes advertising controlled by businesses themselves.
Businesses are also being urged to sign up to CAP Services to get advice on how the ASA’s extended remit affects them and how they can ensure compliance.
ASA director of communications, policy and marketing, Esra Erkal-Paler, said:
“We want to reach all those who might not be fully aware of the ASA’s new role and the requirements of the CAP Code. It’s important that businesses don’t get caught out come 1 March, so they can get help from CAP Services and review their websites now.”