The ASA have announced today that they will be clamping down on online advertisements following a significant change to their remit which will now include digital advertising. Previously the ASA had no powers to post sanctions against advertisers online even though the organisation received over 4,500 complaints since 2008. The adjustments made by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the body responsible for writing the CAP code that the ASA enforces, will force advertisers to be open and honest in any marketing communications, including those on their own websites and also through non-paid for space such as Facebook and Twitter.
"This significant extension of the ASA's remit has the protection of children and consumers at its heart. We have received over 4,500 complaints since 2008 about marketing communications on websites that we couldn‟t deal with, but from 1 March anyone who has a concern about a marketing communication online will be able to turn to the ASA."Lord Chris Smith, (Chairman) ASA
Including the current sanctions which the ASA operate for any media such as not allowing ads to be run again, further sanctions can be taken which include the ASA forcing the removal of paid-for search advertisements if they are non-compliant (and with agreement of the search engines) as well as the ASA's own paid-for search advertisements to highlight an advertisers non-compliance with the relevant code. The new rules will come in to force on the 1st of March following a 6 month grace period to promote awareness.
We hope the ASA will soon announce similar action with broadband advertisements which currently advertise speeds as 'up-to' a specific limit even when the majority of customers will never see this kind of speed. This is currently under review with the advertising code writing bodies.