If you promote goods or services then you need to know about this

CAP Code in hardcopy

The advertising campaign manager’s insurance policy

If you don’t know what CAP stands or what it is and you promote goods or services then you and your company could be open to a certain degree of rebuke, embarrassment and unnecessary costs.

CAP is the Committee of Advertising Practice, and they set out the Code (known as the CAP Code) to assign correct procedures and guidelines for developing advertising campaigns of a non-broadcast nature. This covers all forms of print and electronic advertising (newspapers, magazines, brochures, leaflets, circulars, mailings, e-mails, SMS, catalogues and other printed and electronic materials). It works in conjunction with other legislation such as the Trade Descriptions Act (1968) and the Sale of Goods Act (1979) etc. to determine a process which is both fair and ethical to consumers of your goods and services, you the supplier and also your competitors, so that transparency is of paramount importance to all parties in the delivered communication.

There is second set of guidelines known as the BCAP Code for those parties involved in above-the-line (TV & Radio) advertising.

You’ll see our copy of the Code pictured which we have successfully used to good affect many times over, particularly when it comes to special promotions such as short-term price reductions, coupons and prize draw’s. We’ve used this information to guide our clients imparting this knowledge on them and the graphic design agencies we have appointed to develop the campaign materials. Yet surprisingly we haven’t through our lifespan, ever had a creative suggest to us that we need to have allowed for legislation when we or our clients deliver a brief; most instead tend to focus on the style of the piece, the imagery and the fonts selected; so this got us wondering how often you’d experienced this too and if it’s just a case of good fortune that your promotions haven’t yet ever reached the ASA (the Advertising Standards Agency)?

Neither you or your creative designers can afford to overlook either the CAP Code or BCAP codes, they should be amongst the advertising bibles to which you both should refer your understand of compliance, before you agree to place in the public domain any form of advertising about your goods and services.

Taking risks that could lead to inappropriate, harmful, offensive or simply misguided claims and statements is no defence and neither is ignorance of the rules. So when I tell you that the ASA only need to receive one complaint in order to investigate the matter further, you’ll see how open you might be to further action. To find out more about the way the ASA operates you can download their 2014 Annual Report to see how they plan to tackle issues much harder in future. You can access the report here, https://www.cap.org.uk/News-reports/Media-Centre/2015/~/media/Files/ASA/Annual%20reports/Annual%20Report%202014_FULL.ashx

Last year the ASA dealt with 37,073 complaints and thoroughly investigated ads that seemed to breach the rules. As a result, 3,384 ads were changed or withdrawn in 2014, 60% of which were upheld.

As such penalties are likely to directly impact upon your time in order to defend your position and incur a loss of revenue through lower consumer confidence; particularly if you are found in breach of the Code.

So either purchase yourself a copy of the ‘CAP’ or ‘BCAP Codes’ to verify matter for yourself or download them here:-

CAP Code            –              https://www.cap.org.uk/Advertising-Codes/~/media/Files/CAP/Codes%20CAP%20pdf/The%20CAP%20Code.ashx

BCAP Code         –              https://www.cap.org.uk/Advertising-Codes/~/media/Files/CAP/Codes%20BCAP%20pdf/The%20BCAP%20Code.ashx

And if you’re in the process of briefing a creative design studio, check their knowledge or appoint someone like us who will manage the process for you!

If you’d like to find out how we can help with this or in other strategic ways, please email nigeldavis@genesisdm.co.uk

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