ASA and CAP plan awareness campaign

The Advertising Standards Authority and the Committee of Advertising Practice are to boost promotion of their services in an effort to improve awareness and reduce complaints.

The two bodies have recently published their annual reports, which show the number of ads complained about fell by 10% to 13,956 in 2009, although the total number of complaints increased by 9.6% to 28,978.

CAP, author of the advertising codes the ASA regulates, is to boost promotion of its range of tools to help marketers avoid censure.

Shahriar Coupal, secretary of CAP and BCAP, its sister body for broadcast media, says the aim is to promote CAP “as a general brand”.

The ASA also plans to launch a “general awareness” campaign to promote its work.

The moves come ahead of an expected extension of the ASA’s remit to cover marketing communications on company websites and changes to the advertising codes following a review.

Despite the extension of the ASA’s remit, its annual report shows its income from advertisers’ 0.1% levy on ad spend dropped to £7.4m last year, from £7.8m in 2008. Pre-tax profit fell to £132,316 from £361,000 in 2008.

Coupal says the regulator will have to do “more with less money” in the future by improving efficiencies and effectiveness.

The ASA annual report reveals that a Christian Party outdoor ad was the most complained about ad of 2009 with 1,204 objections. The bus ad claimed “there definitely is a God” and was a response to a British Humanist Association poster that claimed that “there probably was no god”. This was the sixth most complained about ad with 392 challenges.

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