The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code does not apply to statutory, public, police and other official notices or information produced by public authorities and the like. This exclusion applies both online and offline.
Provided that the material is clearly for information purposes and not advertising, for example a page on a public authority’s website entitled “How to complain about the Council” or a leaflet about “Bin collection dates”, it is likely in many contexts to be considered beyond the scope of the Code. However, if the material appears in ‘paid for advertising space’ it is more likely to be considered advertising by virtue of having appeared in that space.
Other marketing communications from public authorities which relate to the supply or transfer of goods, services, opportunities and gifts, such as material which encourages people to take up a service they are not already receiving, remain within remit whether in ‘paid for advertising space’ or not.
If the material concerns causes or ideas, for example road safety or public health messages, and appears in ‘paid for advertising space’ it is likely to be considered within the scope of the Code. However, in ‘non-paid for space’ such as leaflets and own websites or social media this material will only fall within the scope of the Code if it also includes a direct solicitation of donations (see ‘Remit: Cause or idea marketing’).
Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.
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