Industry welcomes ads clampdown

New legislation brought in to crack down on advertising that encourages so-called “pester power” has been given a cautious welcome by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which was passed on April 21, will bring the rest of Europe in line with the UK when it comes to tackling problems such as telephone prize scams and rogue internet trading.

The directive bans 28 different commercial practices, including pyramid marketing schemes and “bait advertising”, such as airlines advertising discount prices that apply only to a few seats on a certain route.

For the first time, the legislation places a “general duty” on all companies in Europe not to trade unfairly and will replace all existing national consumer protection laws in Britain and the rest of the European Union when it comes into force in 2007.

Some experts believe the directive could have severe repercussions for the direct marketing industry, but the DMA says it does not differ significantly from Britain’s existing consumer protection laws and the organisation’s own best-practice guidelines.

A spokeswoman says the initial alarm was “unnecessary” but adds that the DMA will be lobbying the Department of Trade and Industry to make sure that the legislation is enforced properly and only affects those direct marketers who break the rules.

Latest from Marketing Week


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


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.


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.


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

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