Regulation of print

advertising in the uk

Advertising standards authority

What exactly does asa do?

The Advertising Standards Authority is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media.
They apply the Advertising Codes, which are written by the Committees of Advertising Practice. Our
work includes acting on complaints and proactively checking the media to take action against
misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements.
How is the asa funded?
The ASA is funded by advertisers through an arm’s length arrangement that guarantees the ASA’s
independence. Collected by the Advertising Standards Board of Finance (Asbof) and the Broadcast
Advertising Standards Board of Finance (Basbof), the 0.1% levy on the cost of buying advertising space
and the 0.2% levy on some direct mail ensures the ASA is adequately funded to keep UK advertising
standards high. They also receive a small income from charging for some seminars and premium
industry advice services. They receive no Government funding and therefore our work is free to the tax
payer.
How does regulation work?
As the UK’s independent regulator for advertising across all media, our work includes acting on
complaints and proactively checking the media to take action against misleading, harmful or offensive
advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing.
What sanctions can the asa impose?
If they have judged an ad to be in breach of the Codes, then the ad must be withdrawn or amended.
The vast majority of advertisers comply with the ASA’s rulings and they act quickly to amend or
withdraw an ad that breaks the Codes. We have a range of effective sanctions at our disposal to act
against the few who do not and ensure they comply with the rules.
How does self-regulation of non-broadcast advertising work?
There are many millions of non-broadcast ads published every year in the UK, so it would be

Barnardos complaint

Ad
A TV ad for Barnardo's showed a teenage girl who told how she ran away from home and ended up taking drugs and being sexually exploited. She said "Then some
people found me. They were from Barnardo's". The ad then described how she had received medical help and counselling and been able to return home.

Issue
A viewer challenged whether the ad was misleading and misrepresented Barnardo's role by suggesting they acted as a child protection agency at the initial
intervention stage in cases of child abuse.
BCAP TV Code
5.1.15.1.2

Response
Barnardo's said the voice-over "Then some people found me. They were from Barnardo's" referred to their voluntary outreach work and did not refer to or show them as
a statutory child protection agency at the initial intervention stage in cases of child abuse. They said their outreach work included services that young people could visit
to receive help and support and night-time Street visits to locate young people at risk or being exploited. Their visits targeted parks, bed and breakfasts, temporary
accommodation and unsupported houses which, in Barnardos's experience, were all places where vulnerable children and young people in need of help were found.
There were a number of such teams across the UK and they followed local and national policies for child protection. In a case like the girl featured in the ad, for
instance, once they had found and talked to her, they would make an immediate referral to child protection services and the police. They said this aspect of their work
had been widely publicized and was well known of by the public.
Clear cast endorsed Barnardos's response. They did not accept that the ad was capable of misleading viewers. They considered Barnardo's would be very well
recognized by viewers as a charity that provided care and support for vulnerable children but which was not a child protection agency. They said the story shown in the
ad was typical of some of the work Barnardo's carried out.

Assessment
Not upheld
The ASA noted that, unlike local authority social services departments, Barnardos's outreach work did not take place in every area of the UK. We considered, however,
that the story shown in the ad was representative of Barnardos's outreach work in the areas where it did take place. We considered the ad suggested that this was the
kind of situation in which Barnardo's worked but that it did not suggest that they acted as a child protection agency at the initial intervention stage in cases of child
abuse (in the place of social workers or police officers, for instance). Because of that, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead viewers.
We investigated the ad under CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standard Code rules 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 (Misleading advertising) but did not find it in breach.

Action
No further action necessary.

Tesco compaint 

Ad
A national press ad, for Tesco, stated "Finest Beef. Our butchers take their time. Carefully selecting meat with marbling for tenderness and flavor. Well, you
deserve the best cuts. Not short cuts ... Tesco butchers are fussy when it comes to finest beef. For starters, they'll only use meat from long established,
family-run British farms". Footnoted text at the bottom of the ad stated "Subject to availability. Selected UK stores".

Issue
Wm Morrison Supermarkets challenged whether:
1. The ad misleadingly implied that Tesco directly employed its own butchers;
2. The ad misleadingly implied that Tesco cut meat for customer’s in-store;
3. The claim "they'll only use meat from long established, family-run British farms" was misleading and could be substantiated.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
3.17.17.2

Response
1. Tesco Stores (Tesco) said finest beef was sold in two ways: either pre-packed or cut to the customer’s request from their stores meat counters. They
explained that the beef was selected and prepared for them by two suppliers, at sites which only provided meat for Tesco, and by skilled butchers who only
prepared meat for Tesco. They said the butchers were trained to select and pack the meat according to strict Tesco Finest specifications; that specification
was not applied to other products. Tesco therefore believed, because the butchers worked exclusively for them and to their specifications, that it was not
misleading to refer to them as Tesco butchers. They provided a copy of the specification for Tesco Finest fillet steak, as featured in the ad.
2. Tesco said they had meat counters in 374 of their stores, where trained butchers prepared meat to customers’ requests. They explained that the meat
was usually delivered to stores as primal cuts, which were basic sections of the beef, and then prepared into retail cuts and joints.
3. Tesco said selected farms, approved by their meat suppliers, provided cattle for Tesco Finest beef. They said all the farms were members of the Assured
British Meat (ABM) scheme, or their regional equivalent. Tesco explained that it took some years to establish a beef herd and it was not until a farm was
able to show it consistently met the ABM requirements that it could be admitted to the scheme. They said research published by Defra had shown that the
average age of cattle and sheep farmers in the UK in 2007 was 58 years, with over 96 per cent over the age of 35 years, which Tesco believed
demonstrated that cattle farmers were generally in farming for some time. They provided the ASA with documentation relating to all the farms that
provided cattle to their suppliers, including the names of the families who ran them, and information relating to how long those farms had been

Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted Tesco used the services of two suppliers to provide their Finest Beef and that butchers at those establishments worked to strict Tesco
specifications when selecting the meat, preparing and packing it. We also understood that the sites only supplied meat to Tesco and, although employed
directly by the suppliers, the butchers only worked on selecting and preparing meat for the supermarket chain.

We therefore considered that, because the butchers were employed to work exclusively for Tesco, the claims "Our butchers take their time. Carefully
selecting meat ..." and "Tesco butchers are fussy when it comes to finest beef" were unlikely to mislead consumers about the selection and preparation
process for Tesco Finest beef.

2. Not upheld

We understood that, in those stores with meat counters, in-store butchers would cut and prepare Finest beef that was not already pre-packed, and they
would also do so to customer order. We noted footnoted text at the bottom of the ad stated "selected UK stores", and we considered that it was made
clear to customers that in-store butchers would not be available in every Tesco store. We therefore concluded that, because Tesco did cut meat for
customers in-store, and because it was made clear that that service was available in selected stores, the ad was not misleading on this point.

3. Not upheld

We noted that Morrison’s were concerned that the claim was misleading because they believed that meat for Tesco's Finest range was supplied by a third
party, and that Tesco could not therefore ascertain the origin of the meat selected for that range.

We understood that it took some years to establish a beef herd and noted from the documentation provided by Tesco, which listed each farm that
provided beef for their finest range, that the vast majority of the farms had been providing cattle to their suppliers for many years. We also noted from
that documentation, as well as a number of signed declarations from a selection of farms, that they were family-run concerns and for the most part had
been operating for decades. We therefore concluded that the claim "they’ll only use meat from long established, family-run British farms" would not
mislead consumers about the origins of the meat.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 11) clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 and 7.2 (Truthfulness), but did not find it in breach.

Action

No further action necessary.

Uk code of non broadcast
advertising

What the Coad applies toThis Code must be followed by all advertisers, agencies and media. The Code is enforced by the
Advertising Standards Authority, who can take steps to remove or have amended any ads that
breach these rules. 
What are the central principles of the codeThe advertising self-regulatory system is based on an agreement between advertisers, agencies
and media owners that each will act in support of the highest standards in advertising, to ensure
that all ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful. The Codes reflect requirements in law, but also
contains many rules that are not required by law at all.
What are the basic rules of compliance for the codeThe advertising self-regulatory system is based on an agreement between advertisers, agencies
and media owners that each will act in support of the highest standards in advertising, to ensure
that all ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful. The Codes reflect requirements in law, but also
contains many rules that are not required by law at all.

Sections of advertising that the
code covers

Background
The term "gambling" means gaming and betting, as defined in the Gambling Act 2005, and spread betting. For rules on marketing
communications for lotteries, see Section 17.
The legal framework for gambling in Great Britain, including the requirements for licensing operators, is set out in the Gambling Act
2005 (as amended).
The Gambling Act 2005 does not apply outside Great Britain. Specialist legal advice should be sought when considering advertising
any gambling product in Northern Ireland or the Channel Islands.
Spread betting may be advertised as an investment under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (as amended) (FSMA), the
Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (as amended) and other Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
rules and guidance (see Background, Section 14, Financial Products). A "spread bet" is a contract for difference that is a gaming
contract, as defined in the glossary to the FCA Handbook.
The rules in this section apply to marketing communications for “play for money” gambling products and marketing communications
for “play for free” gambling products that offer the chance to win a prize or explicitly or implicitly direct the consumer to a “play for
money” gambling product, whether on-shore or off-shore.
These rules are not intended to inhibit marketing communications to counter problem gambling that are responsible and unlikely to
promote a brand or type of gambling.
 
Unless they portray or refer to gambling, this section does not apply to marketing communications for non-gambling leisure events or
facilities, for example, hotels, cinemas, bowling alleys or ice rinks, that are in the same complex as, but separate from, gambling
events or facilities.
 
For the purposes of this section, “children” are people of 15 and under and “young persons” are people of 16 or 17.
Principle

Principle
Marketing communications for alcoholic drinks should not be targeted at
people under 18 and should not imply, condone or encourage immoderate,
irresponsible or anti-social drinking.
The spirit as well as the letter of the rules applies.
Definition
The rules in this section apply to marketing communications for alcoholic
drinks and marketing communications that feature or refer to alcoholic
drinks. Alcoholic drinks are defined as drinks containing at least 0.5%
alcohol; for the purposes of this Code low-alcohol drinks are defined as
drinks containing between 0.5% and 1.2% alcohol.
Where stated, exceptions are made for low-alcohol drinks. But, if a
marketing communication for a low-alcohol drink could be considered to
promote a stronger alcoholic drink or if the drink’s low-alcohol content is
not stated clearly in the marketing communications, all the rules in this
section apply.
If a soft drink is promoted as a mixer, the rules in this section apply in full.
 
These rules are not intended to inhibit responsible marketing
communications that are intended to counter problem drinking or tell
consumers about alcohol-related health or safety themes. Those marketing

The rules in this section are designed to ensure that marketing communications for lotteries
are socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons
under 18 and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by advertising that
features or promotes lotteries. It should be noted, however, that the minimum age limit for
purchasing National Lottery products and participating in society lotteries is 16. 
 
This section applies to the marketing communications of the National Lottery and ‘large’
society lotteries licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission and, in the case of
‘small’ society lotteries, those promoters registered with local authorities in England and
Wales or licensing boards in Scotland.
 
This section also applies to marketing communications for lottery products that are licensed
and regulated by the Gambling Commission for National Lottery products.
 
The UK National Lottery may be advertised under The National Lottery etc Act 1993 (as
amended). Society lotteries are promoted under the requirements of the Gambling Act 2005.