The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP Code) applies to a wide range of marketing material. This guide looks at some important types and gives advice on how to assess whether they are subject to the Code. Did you know that displays in shops are not usually subject to the Code but promotions on social media are?
The CAP Code applies to a wide range of marketing material. Read on to find out what’s in and out of their remit.
Some quick advice on how they assess whether the CAP Code applies to you
The name “The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing” gives hints on the material to which the Code applies, as does the “Scope of the Code”. However, neither defines “advertising” or “marketing communication”; in an ever-changing media landscape, the CAP Code must respond and stay relevant, being able to regulate new forms of communication. So, the Code outlines the types of communication or material that fall in remit (IR) and out of remit (OR). Here is CAP’s advice on some important areas:
Products and packaging:
- Generally OR but: image of product or its packaging featured in an ad (“pack shot” – IR) / packaging featuring promotional marketing (IR – for more on promotional marketing, see below).
Point of sale:
- Displays in shops for products sold there (OR) but if they include promotional marketing (IR).
Causes and ideas:
- This includes things like: environmental campaigning (e.g. anti-wind farm/fracking leaflets); marketing to encourage signing petitions; and government campaigns (e.g. giving up smoking / anti-drink-driving).
- In ‘paid-for space’ (e.g. posters, press and banner ads) (IR)
- In ‘non-paid-for space’ both online and offline (e.g. leaflets, mailings and marketers’ own websites and social media channels) (OR, unless it includes a direct solicitation of donations).
- Claims in ads whose principal function is to influence voters in an election or referendum (OR).
- Ads by central or local government not concerning party policy (for example, on road safety – IR).
- Ambient media include things like petrol pumps, carrier bags, projections onto buildings, and beer mats. Remit usually depends on message the medium carries and whether a payment changes hands.
- Advertiser advertising on own premises / vehicles (OR).
- Owner of premises or vehicles rents space to / charges an advertiser to project an ad onto its property or affix it to a vehicle (IR)
- Promotional marketing in non-broadcast media (IR) – for more information, see here.
- In paid-for space, e.g. banner ads (IR).
- Claims on marketers’ websites and in non-paid-for space online under their control (e.g. Twitter / Facebook) directly connected with the supply of goods or services, opportunities, prizes or gifts (IR).
- Direct solicitations of donations as part of fund-raising activities (IR).
For example, newspaper or magazine articles (OR). However, advertorial is IR.
If you are unsure how your activities fit within the rules mentioned within this article, please take advantage of our Advert Review service.
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