Offensive,Deceptive & illegal Marketing Materials, 8 Legal Guidelines To Follow Not To Make The Same Mistakes.

It’s that time when you want to get the word out about your business and you are pumped! ( and by now, you know when I say “pumped” I mean excited). Are you gonna make use of Newspaper Ads, Bulk SMS’s, Google Adwords, Youtube Ads, Brochures, Leaflets, Buses / Tube ads or just Emails. Whichever one you decide to make use of, the main aim shouldn’t be that the design for the marketing material should be very good but also that it adheres with Advertisement Standards so you don’t just waste resources on adverts that would be flagged down or reported.

In the UK, there are two bodies that overseas advertisements across all media and they are:

  • Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP): A self-regulatory body that creates and revises the advertising codes.
  • Advertising Standards Authority (ASA): They are the UK’s independent regulatory body that regulates advertisement across all media including websites. They basically work to ensure that ads are legal, decent, honest and
    truthful by applying the Advertising Code set by the CAP.

The advertising codes ( or CAP codes ) includes general rules that states that advertising must be responsible, must not mislead, or offend, and specific rules that cover advertising to children and ads for alcohol, gambling, motoring, health and financial products.

The aim of this post is not bore you with details of who overseas the advertisements and their respective roles but to let you know the rules you as a business owner should follow to ensure your ads or marketing materials is in line with the “law”… noticed how I put the law in quote?

Before we go into the list, just know before hand that the main idea is that all marketing communications should be Legal, Decent, Honest and Truthful. ( LDHT…if we are trying to be fancy 🙂 )

Okay, Lets get it!

  1. Compliance: All marketing materials that comes from your business to the public must comply with the CAP codes which in general is be Legal, Decent, Honest & Truthful.
  2. Recognition of Marketing Communications: Have you ever seen an Ad and you aren’t sure if its advert? Your marketing material must be obviously identifiable as such.
  3. Misleading Advertising: All marketing materials must not be misleading or likely to mislead the public.
  4. Harm and Offense: I like this one, Marketers should take account of the prevailing standards in society and the context in which a marketing material is likely to appear to minimize the risk of causing harm or widespread offense.
  5. Children: All marketing materials targeted to children or featuring children ( ideally persons under the age 16 ) must contain nothing that is likely to cause harm to them physically, mentally or morally.
  6. Privacy: Individuals should be protected from unwarranted infringements of privacy. ( for example: using a copyrighted picture found on google for your marketing material without the consent of the owner or individual in the picture.)
  7. Distance Selling: Distance selling marketing materials must make clear the marketer’s identity and geographic address; and give information such as main characteristics of the product, price (inc VAT), delivery charge etc.
  8. Database Practice: Marketers must comply with all relevant data protection legislation

Below are Sanctions that can be carried out by the ASA to ensure compliance with ASA rulings (for offline adverts)

  • Ad Alerts – CAP can issue alerts to its members, including the media, advising them to withhold services such as access to advertising space.
  • Withdrawal of trading privileges – CAP members can revoke, withdraw or temporarily withhold recognition and trading privileges. For example, the Royal Mail can withdraw its bulk mail discount, which can make running direct marketing campaigns prohibitively expensive.
  • Pre-vetting – Persistent or serious offenders can be required to have their marketing material vetted before publication. For example, CAP’s poster industry members can invoke mandatory pre-vetting for advertisers who have broken the
    CAP Code on grounds of taste and decency or social responsibility – the pre-vetting can last for two years.

Below are Sanctions that can be carried out by the ASA to ensure compliance with ASA rulings (for online adverts)

  • Ask internet search websites to remove your paid-for search advertisements that link to pages on your websites that host non-compliant marketing communications.
  • Feature your name and non-compliance on a dedicated section of the ASA website
  • Launch an AdWords campaign against your business to warn consumers about your services/products when they search for them on the internet.

I hope this post was able to enlighten you on some guidelines to follow when next you want to get your marketing material out.

Tags : ASA codesCAP codesmarketing material lawsmarketing materials
Daniel Damilola Nejo

The author Daniel Damilola Nejo

Daniel is a content creator, web and graphic designer, digital marketer and musician endorsed by the UK Government as a “World Leading Exceptional Talent in Digital Technology”.

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