The time has come to put the CAP on viral ads

Martin Croft’s news story (“ASA investigates ‘violent’ Mortal Kombat viral ad”, MW October 6) highlights the current confusion surrounding viral advertising and whether it should fall under the regulatory remit of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) or not.

A strong case can be made that because a viral campaign uses e-mail as its primary delivery channel it is imperative for e-mail marketing practitioners and the wider online community that viral marketing is taken seriously by regulatory bodies. The next few weeks is therefore critical, as the ASA’s Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) will be ruling on how it can extend its code to cover viral marketing.

The prospect of viral marketing being covered by CAP’s remit must be seen as a positive development, not least because it will legitimise a medium that has long been viewed as the digital equivalent of flyposting. That said, from the outset CAP needs to bare its teeth and clamp down on virals that are purposely offensive and/or created purely for shock value, while illegal “pyramid selling schemes” and “superstition” virals should be banned outright. Furthermore, CAP must rule clearly on whether hosting content on specialist viral sites should be classified as “editorial content” or advertising.

The more that e-mail is recognised as a fully regulated medium, in whatever form it is used, the more all parties involved with this growing advertising channel will benefit.

Spike Robinson

Managing director

Allegran Advertising

London EC1

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

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

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest 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 will be 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.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

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