Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 29 April 2021
Law stated as at: 29 April 2021
Following the ASA’s consultation regarding the scope of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) and jurisdictional matters, the wording relating to the scope of the CAP Code was modified.
The Code doesn’t apply to ads on websites, apps and cross-border platforms unless they meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Non-paid-for marketing communications from or by marketers with a UK registered company address.
- Marketing communications appearing on websites with a “.uk” top-level domain (regardless of where the website owner is based).
- Paid-for marketing communications from or by marketers targeting people in the UK.
Non-paid-for marketing communications on websites, apps and cross-border platforms from or by marketers without a UK-registered company address and paid-for marketing communications on this type of media that is not targeted at UK consumers are out of the scope of the CAP Code.
How would an ad target UK consumers?
The list of criteria that might indicate this isn’t exhaustive, but some things that might be taken into account by the ASA include:
- Where the ad appeared – if an ad has appeared on a website based in the UK then it’s likely that it’s targeting a UK audience.
- By the way they’re served – has an ad been targeted to someone based on their location?
- The content of the ad – is there something about the content that targets UK consumers? For example, are: (a) its prices in pounds sterling, (b) products or services referred to that are only available in the UK, (c) consumers being provided with a UK telephone number or geographic address for support, and (d) consumers being invited to visit physical premises in the UK?
An ad may also be considered within the ASA’s remit if the marketer is subject to regulation under UK regimes (for example, being subject to regulation by the Gambling Commission).
Why this matters:
The change is not surprising as it the purpose of the ASA and the CAP Code is to protect consumers in the UK. However, as the internet allows businesses to easily connect with consumers in other jurisdictions, and users find shops, brands and suppliers from outside of their own jurisdictions, the ASA’s clarification of its jurisdiction is important and confirms that businesses targeting UK consumers will be subject to the CAP Code.