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Food and Drink
Innovation Network
A guide to the advertising rules and regulations
for the food industry
11th December 2007
Maria Donde
Committee of Advertising Practice
This morning:
1. How is advertising regulated?
2. Key principles of advertising regulation and
factual, health related claims: knowing the rules
3. Functional foods: Significant ASA decisions
4. Help and advice for advertisers and marketers
How is advertising
Rules on
about ads in
all media
Two separate
industry bodies
that write and
enforce the codes
of practice
ASA Broadcast
Regulates TV and
radio ads under
contract from Ofcom
Advertising Standards
Board of Finance
ASA Non-Broadcast
Independent of Ofcom,
operates as it has
done for over 40 years
Standards Board
of Finance
TV and Radio
advertising standards
The CAP Code
Advertising Standards Authority
Committee of Advertising Practice
• Operates a one-stop shop for
advertising complaints
• Investigates complaints under
the advertising codes
• Publishes adjudications online
• Independent of the industry and
• Members are trade and professional
organisations of the advertising and
sales promotion industry
• Creates, reviews and amends the
advertising codes
• Co-ordinates sanctions (with ASA) to
ensure compliance with the codes
The role of
Write the Codes
Take action against
Pay for the ASA
How we’re funded
Levy collected by ASBOF / BASBOF
• Independent of ASA
• 0.1% levy on ad spend
• 0.2% on mailsort contracts
The ASA at work
The ASA’s remit
We cover
We don’t cover
Print and press ads
Direct mail
Television and radio ads
Competitions, special offers
E-mail and text messages
Banners and pop-ups
 Cinema commercials
 Promotions
 Some virals
Shop windows
Telephone calls
Classified ads
Statutory / public notes
Press releases
Political ads (election
Complaints & Investigations
• Approx 26,000 received each year
• 49% non-broadcast, 51% broadcast
• Assessed against the advertising codes
• No minimum number of complaints required
• Complainant’s identity is not revealed unless they
have a competitive or other interest
• If case to answer, ASA contacts advertiser.
• Informal Investigation
• Formal Investigation
ASA Council
• Adverse publicity
• Media refusal
• Withdrawal of trading privileges – including
Mailsort Contracts
• Disqualification from industry awards
• Industry pressure
• Poster pre-vetting
• Referral to Office of Fair Trading / Ofcom
The Codes
BCAP TV Advertising Standards Code;
Rules on the Scheduling of TV Ads; Code for Text
Services (Teletext), Guidance for Interactive TV
Services; Advertising Guidance Notes
•BCAP Radio Advertising Standards Code
•CAP Code of (Non-broadcast) Advertising,
Sales Promotions and Direct Marketing
Basic principles
Advertising should be :
Socially responsible
Clearly identifiable as marketing communications
How are the Codes different?
• Harm, offence, misleadingess – no real difference
• Product categories:
CAP Code - statutory restrictions only, e.g.
tobacco, prescription only medicines
BCAP Codes – because of the power and
intrusiveness of broadcast advertising, additional
restrictions on TV/Radio, e.g.: guns, pornography,
most betting and gaming
• CAP Code clause 50.11:
50.11 Medicines must have a marketing authorisation from the
MHRA before they are marketed and any claims made for
products must conform with the authorisation. Medicinal claims
should not be made for unauthorised products. Marketing
communications should refer to the MHRA, the authorisation or
the EC only if required to do so by the MHRA.
• TV and Radio codes similar rules (8.2.3 AND Section 3, 4.5 and 12)
• Food law administered by TSOs
• Medicines law administered by the MHRA
• New EC Regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods
Men in white coats
Men in white costs = permission to believe
Complicated pseudo-scientific explanations of what
a product is or how it works, including technical
diagrams and language, can mislead.
• It MAY be acceptable, but this approach carries risks
and scheduling restrictions apply to certain
broadcast ads for vitamins and dietary supplements.
• It may also be a problem for general advertising of
functional foods.
Misleadingness &
• No ad may mislead
directly or by
ambiguity or omission
• Advertisers / broadcasters
must hold evidence to
support all claims before
publication / broadcast
• Ads should be presented in
a way that makes clear they
are commercial
• Clause 50.1
“Medical and scientific claims … should be backed
by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials
conducted on people … Substantiation will be
assessed by the ASA on the basis of the available
scientific knowledge”
• CAP Help Note on Substantiation for Health, Beauty
and Slimming Claims (see
Prove it
• Consumer surveys won’t prove a scientific claim
• General evidence for health benefits of a food or
food ingredient may not be acceptable for a specific
• Claims to maintain health need a high level of proof
including (independent) product-specific tests,
controlled and double-blinded
• Medicinal claims for unlicensed products are
Help Note on
• Collate data to form a body of evidence (the “totality” of
evidence is important) when proving “new” or
“breakthrough” claims (pt. 3)
• Evidence should normally include at least one
adequately controlled experimental human study (pt. 3.3)
• If studies have not been published in reputable, peerreviewed journals, an objective review should be carried
out by a suitable qualified expert (pt. 3.4)
• Name of expert and review made available on request
ASA’s/CAP’s Use of Experts
• Sufficiently qualified to offer an impartial, competent
and considered view
• Attempt to reflect generally accepted expert opinion
• Criticisms of our reviews are welcomed, so long as
they’re objective
• Meeting between experts a possibility if
disagreement on subjective interpretation of data
References to Ailments
• Clause 50.3
“Marketers should not discourage essential
treatment. They should not offer specific advice on,
diagnosis of or treatment for serious or prolonged
conditions unless it is conducted under the
supervision of a doctor or other suitably qualified
health professional.”
• CAP Help Note on Health, Beauty and Slimming
Advertisements that refer to Ailments (see
Redbush Tea
Danone Activia
Dairy Crest
Omega 3
may enhance
Danone Actimel
UK Tea Council
Hero – Fruit 2 day
EC Regulation & the ASA:
Some Questions
• How will the new regulations affect the ASA?
• How do the Codes reflect legislation? Will they
• How will this effect the industry?
Getting help, staying
informed and
working together
You: The Industry
•CAP and BCAP are not closed organisations
•Committee members attend meetings and agree Code
policy and development issues.
•CAP and BCAP Members include ISBA, IPA
Broadcasters, Royal Mail, trade
bodies etc ..
•Industry guidance is sought through the CAP panels:
General Media Panel; Sales Promotion and Direct
Response Panel.
Code changes
• Arise from:
- Significant public concerns
- Consumer standards and expectations
- Nature of the medium
- Forthcoming Code Review
Broadcast Advertising
• BCAP does not advise on individual ads (but can
offer a broad interpretation of code rules)
• TV: BACC clears scripts and commercials for the
majority of channels. A few channels clear their own
• Radio: talk to RACC
• All codes at
CAP Copy Advice Service
- Free
- Confidential
- Fast (within 24 hours)
- Help to avoid future problems with the ASA
- We’ll support your case to the ASA
The team will look at past ASA adjudications, CAP
Compliance work and previous advice to provide
guidance on the likely acceptability of the copy in
Help Notes
• Provide a comprehensive guide to a given sector or
issue, for example:
- Substantiation
- Ailments
- Advertising Food to Children
• All are available on our website:
Advice Online
• A regularly updated searchable
database of advice for nonbroadcast marketing
• Entries will change with landmark
decisions by ASA.
• Visit our website to search the
• Free quarterly e-mail newsletter
• News on High profile and landmark ASA
• Code changes and developments
• Compliance Reports
• Common problems and how to avoid them
• Training and Events, including Advice:am seminars
• Subscribe at
Any Questions?
Thank you