Ad committee ready to drop restrictions on Royal images

The Committee on Advertising Practice is to drop restrictions on advertisers using images of the Royal Family, just days after Live TV was found guilty of breaching its code.

The committee, which sets the advertising codes policed by the Advertising Standards Authority, is known to have discussed dropping the clause at a meeting last Friday.

But ironically, the rule change could be delayed because the ASA does not want to be seen giving into Kelvin McKenzie, Live TV’s managing director. McKenzie effectively snubbed the ASA punishment by replacing the face of Paul Gascoigne with Will Carling on a second version of the spoof Live TV poster.

“The committee is unhappy about what Live TV did,” says an agency source, “but the point is that the code is an anomaly.”

An ASA spokesman says: “The advertising codes are living documents. They can be adapted very quickly to fit with legislative change or changes in public attitudes or values. So we would consider valid appeals to change the codes.”

Live TV was reported to the ASA on two breaches of the code – one for portrayal of the Royal Family and one for obscenity. The ASA threw out the obscenity claim, but has written to Mirror Group chief executive David Montgomery to ask why the Daily Mirror carried an ad censured by the ASA.

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