There are 2 advertising codes of practice that describe how businesses should advertise.
They cover all kinds of promotional communications, depending where the advert or promotion will appear.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) non-broadcast code has rules that cover non-broadcast advertising (for example print, online), sales promotion and direct marketing (such as telesales and email).
The code specifies standards for accuracy and honesty that businesses must stick to, including specific conditions, such as:
- advertising to children
- causing offence
- political advertising
Broadcast media (for example TV, radio)
You must follow the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) broadcast code, which covers issues including taste, decency and product placement.
As well as setting standards about accuracy and honesty businesses must stick to, they also have rules about things like scheduling.
General broadcasting rules
You also need to follow rules about taste, decency, product placement etc that apply to all broadcasting.
These are called ‘broadcast codes’. Find out more about them on the Ofcom website.
Enforcing the rules
The rules are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Anyone who thinks advertising rules have been broken can complain to the ASA within 3 months of the advert appearing.
If an advert breaks the rules, it may be withdrawn. If the product does not match the description or the advert breaks the law, you could be prosecuted.
- Marketing and advertising law – Overview
- Marketing and advertising law – Regulations that affect advertising
- Marketing and advertising law – Direct marketing
- Marketing and advertising law – financial products and services
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