Marketers urged to sign up to regulator’s first e-learning course

The Committee of Advertising Practice is launching its first e-learning module about alcohol advertising, the first of several planned courses aimed at offering more support and training to marketers.

The move is part of the CAP’s commitment to increase the advice and training support its offers brands in order to cut down on complaints. It is already developing its second course on “misleading” advertising which will likely consists of three modules in total.

Last year the Advertising Standards Authority received 187 complaints about 140 ads in the alcohol sector. Of those, 27 had to be changed or withdrawn.

Already this year, 38 alcohol ads have been complained about with two being banned and another six cases where ads had to be amended.

CAP admits the number of complaints is relatively low but says making sure alcohol ads are compliant with its code is of paramount importance to ensure they do not appeal to young people and against a backdrop of societal concerns about harmful alcohol habits.

It also fits with its commitment to provide more advice and training for advertisers.

Shahriar Coupal, committee director, says: “We urge anyone involved in marketing alcohol to take advantage of our module; it’s written by the Code experts and can help save the time, money and reputational damage of having a campaign investigated and, potentially, banned by the ASA.

“Despite the strict alcohol rules, there are many creative routes for advertisers to take and our focus is on providing them with the support they need to make sure their ads are also responsible.”

The module, which should take around 2 hours to complete, includes a step-by-step guide to key ASA rulings and the decisions behind them, an explanation of the rules and when they apply and a guide to common mistakes. It also includes exercises and continual assessment, as well as a certificate upon completion.

The ASA provided 140,000 pieces of training last year, up 21% on the previous year and aims to increase that by a further 100,00 this year.

“One of the big themes of our strategy is to provide better support to businesses, and there’s a lot more we can do, but the industry has to meet us halfway there,” says ASA CEO Guy Parker.

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