Single website for parent complaints nears

A government backed website for parents to lodge complaints about advertisements, programmes, products or services that sexualise children could launch before the end of the year.

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It is one of a number of changes to the regulation and the regulatory setup that will be announced in the final quarter that will impact marketers across several sectors.

The single platform was recommended by Mothers Union chief Reg Bailey earlier this year as part of his review of the “commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood”. Bailey was keen to make it easier for parents to complain.

Its creation was one of several recommendations made in the report that were welcomed by David Cameron.

It has been developed by trade associations and regulatory bodies such as the Advertising Standards Authority, the British Board of Film Classification and the BBC Trust.

The proposed website will be unveiled later this month when regulators and industry bodies are due to update the Prime Minister on the progress they have made in implementing the recommendations. A launch is expected soon after.

An update on implementation of Bailey’s call to restrict outdoor adverts containing sexualised imagery where large numbers of children are likely to see them is also expected this month.

The results of the ASA’s two year process review will also be published in the final quarter. The review is likely to see changes aimed at reducing the number of complaints made by competitors.

Complaints made by supermarkets against rivals about misleading pricing have been on the rise since the downturn led to a greater focus on price. Broadband providers have also taken their grievances against rivals to the regulator.

Complainants could be asked to provide evidence that they have tried to resolve differences with rivals.

Last week, the Committee of Advertising Practice issued code guidance that will require broadband operators that make “maximum speed” claims prove that the speed is achievable for at least 10% of customers.

Companies such as British Telecom, BSKB and Talk Talk that include maximum broadband speed in campaigns will also have to state that the maximum can also “fall considerably short” of what a significant number of consumers might “reasonably expect”.

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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