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ASA launches ad campaign to prepare business for new online marketing regulation.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is launching a cross-media ad campaign (outdoor, radio, press, online) to raise awareness of the fact that its remit is being extended to cover marketing on websites from 1st March 2011.

From 1 March, marketing communications on companies’ own websites and in other third party space under their control, such as Facebook and Twitter, will have to adhere to the non-broadcast advertising rules as set out in the CAP Code.

The ad campaign seeks to raise awareness of the ASA’s extended remit and calls on companies to ensure marketing messages on their websites are legal, decent, honest and truthful. It also encourages business to make sure their websites comply by seeking help and advice.

To help businesses and website owners, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the industry body that writes the Advertising Codes, offers a full range of training and advice resources. Businesses and agencies are urged to sign up to CAP Services to ensure they are up-to-speed with how the extended remit will impact on them and how they can avoid being in breach of the rules.

The two-phase campaign, the ASA’s first in five years, was produced with the generous support of the UK advertising industry. Two leading agencies provided their services on a pro bono basis: AMV BBDO produced the creative work and OMD UK planned the campaign and helped to secure media support. The campaign relies entirely on free space donated by media owners. The media donated so far constitutes a significant schedule and we continue to welcome further donations from all media owners for both parts of the campaign.

The B2B ads will run from 17 January – 27 February. The second phase of the campaign will aim to raise general public awareness of the ASA’s regulatory role to keep ads legal, decent, honest and truthful, and will go live in mid-March. The B2C campaign will appear on TV, radio, cinema, outdoor, online and print.

Steve Williams, Chief Executive of OMD and Chairman of the IPA Media Futures Group: “It is important for the UK ad industry to back its own self-regulatory system and we’ve been pleased to work with the ASA and a whole host of media owners to put together a sizeable schedule for this campaign.”

Farah Ramzan Golant CBE, Executive Chairman of AMV BBDO says: “Creating a campaign for the advertising watchdog is a challenging but interesting brief. We were eager to help not just because a visible and effective self-regulatory system helps to raise trust in advertising, but also because it is important to tell businesses of all sizes to prepare for 1st March and avoid running into problems with the ASA.”

ASA Director of Communications, Policy and Marketing Esra Erkal-Paler says: “The collaborative approach to the ad campaign shows advertising self-regulation at its best. We are enormously grateful to AMV BBDO, OMD UK and all the media owners and industry bodies for getting behind our campaign – we’ll need their continued support in the coming weeks and months. We want to reach all those who might not be fully aware of the ASA’s new role and the requirements of the CAP Code. It’s important that businesses don’t get caught out come 1st March so they can review their websites now and get help from CAP Services.”

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