Amendment to BCAP Code rule 5.9: ‘direct exhortations’ to children

Today [28 July 2016], following public consultation, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have announced changes to the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the BCAP Code) to ensure that it is compatible with the law. Rule 5.9 of the BCAP Code prevents “direct exhortations” to children and is currently worded as follows:

Advertisements must neither directly exhort children to buy a product or service nor encourage them to ask their parents, guardians or other persons to buy or enquire about a product or service for them.

The BCAP Code reflects the law where appropriate and, in the case of protecting children from advertisements which directly exhort them to purchase products or services, seeks to reflect the requirements of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (the CPRs).

As currently worded, BCAP rule 5.9 appears to go further than the requirements of prohibited practice 28 of the CPRs, in automatically prohibiting even encouraging children to ask their parents to enquire about a product or service for them, as opposed to directly exhorting them to buy a product or service for them, which the CPRs prohibit. CAP view following a process of public consultation that in doing so, this rule imposes a stricter standard than that imposed by the CPRs, and as such, is unlawful; the CPRs implement Directive 2005/29/EC (known as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, or UCPD), a maximum harmonisation measure, so CAP are not able to maintain rules which impose stricter or more permissive standards than those contained in this legislation.

BCAP rule 5.9 will be amended to read:

Advertisements must not include a direct exhortation to children to buy or hire a product or service or to persuade their parents, guardians or other persons to buy or hire a product or service for them.

It should be noted that CAP consider that we are obliged to make these changes by law; they have not taken a policy decision to make them.

Regulatory statement, which sets out the full rationale for these changes, can be below.

BCAP consultation on rule 5.9

Source: CAP website

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