ASA and CAP to rewrite ad codes to reflect changes

The codes governing the UK advertising industry are to be rewritten, with a new version likely to be published next year.

A spokesman for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says a new version of the codes is necessary because of numerous changes which have taken place since the 11th edition was published in March 2003, or which are likely to come into effect in the near future.

These include changes to the gambling laws, licensing and drinking laws and food laws, as well as new European Union legislation, such as the Commercial Practices Directive or the proposed Audiovisual Media Content Directive.

The ASA spokesman points out that, strictly speaking, there are three codes, one covering television advertising, one radio and the third non-broadcast. He adds: “One of the reasons to revise them is to make them more cross-applicable” so that there is a greater degree of consistency between the different codes.

The ASA and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which officially draws up the codes, are also likely to take the opportunity to change the rules to better reflect the realities of the current advertising industry, particularly in the light of the development of new media, broadband and mobile marketing.

The ASA and CAP were handed the task of administering the self-regulatory system in March 2004 – before then, the ASA and CAP oversaw non-broadcast regulation, with Ofcom in charge of broadcast. If, after the present two-year probationary period is over, Ofcom decides to continue with the arrangement, the ASA and CAP would carry on for another eight years.

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