ASA ad code gets mixed reception

The Advertising Standards Authority says that the new combined advertising and sales promotion code is an attempt to head off restrictive legislation from Brussels and Whitehall.

John Hooper, chairman of the CAP, says: “We know that there are those in Brussels and Strasbourg who would rather legislate than self-regulate, we in Britain must demonstrate that our regulatory system works effectively. Now that we have made these rules, we must adhere to them .”

An spokeswoman robustly defended the ASA against accusations that the new code, which comes into effect on February 1, does not go far enough to protect consumers from misleading food and drink ads.

But the National Food Alliance, an umbrella body representing some 40 food and drink lobby organisations, dismisses the ASA’s claim that the new rules are “tough”.

NFA project officer Sue Dibb says: “The ASA’s so-called tough rules on confectionery and snacks have been in force under the ITC for some time – and we believe the ITC has plans to go even further.”

The ASA says the new British Code of Advertising and Sales Promotion covers a number of areas for the first time, including advertising confectionery to children, environmental claims, irresponsible driving and slimming products.

Rules for alcohol and low-alcohol advertising have been extended so that firms cannot advertise such drinks in media where more than 25 per cent of the audience is under the age of 18.

The rules on decency have been more broadly framed to discourage negative references to sexual, racial or religious stereotypes.

The ITC will publish new guidelines on food and advertisements at the end of the month.

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