We read the ads, but not the future

Betty McBride is correct in stating that the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) agency sought advice from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) before publishing the “Heart Failure” ad subsequently criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority (MW June 20).

The CAP copy advice team has the job of trying to predict before publication whether the ASA will judge an ad to be in breach of its codes in the event of complai

nts. In subjective areas such as social responsibility, those decisions are extremely difficult. To predict accurately, the team consults detailed rules and past ASA decisions. In the majority of cases, its advice proves to be accurate and useful to the enquirer. The team cannot and does not, however, guarantee future immunity from critical ASA decisions. With enquirers pushing to get as close to the line as possible, there are occasional (inevitable) cases where events subsequently show that the team’s advice was too cautious or too liberal. Neither the CAP team nor, I would suggest, the BHF and its agency anticipated the strength of public reaction to this ad. That is regrettable, but it is crucial to the integrity of the system that the ASA Council remains the final arbiter of whether an ad breaks its codes.

So, while the BHF ad was branded irresponsible by the ASA, the decision to seek pre-publication advice certainly was not. And while the CAP copy advice team was not cautious enough in this instance, that should not detract from the many thousands of occasions each year when its advice is spot on.

Guy Parker

Secretary

Committee of Advertising Practice

London WC1E

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here