“Addendum” to the British Code of Advertising Print, cinema and on-line advertising code brought into line with the new Comparative Advertising rules May 2000
Topic: Comparative Advertising
Who: The Committee of Advertising Practice ("CAP")
When: May 2000
What happened: On 23 April 2000 new Comparative Advertising Regulations were introduced through the Control of Misleading Advertisements (Amendment) Regulations 2000. Before then, we pointed out that the self regulatory British Code of Advertising and Sales Promotion (governing print, web and cinema ads in the UK, drawn up by the CAP and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority ("ASA"))was strangely silent on the new rules.
Now the CAP has broken silence and finally announced an "Addendum" to the British Code of Advertising. This essentially sets out the material requirements of the new regulations so far as "comparative advertising" (as defined in the Regulations) is concerned and requires advertisers to read the relevant, existing parts of the Code "in conjunction" with the Addendum.
Why this matters: The new comparative advertisements regulations make it clear that just as with the pre-existing regime for "misleading" advertisements, litigation by way of applications to the Court by the Office of Fair Trading for injunctions banning offending adverts, should only happen when the "established means" for controlling UK advertising (in this case the CAP/ASA self regulatory system) have been used and have failed to deal with the problem. Here at marketinglaw.co.uk we pointed out some time ago that this only worked as a means of minimising litigation if the codes applied by the "established means" were closely similar to the new regulations.
This has not been the case until now, and although the print, cinema and on-line Code now deals with this anomoly, we are still waiting for the outcome of the ITC’s consultation exercise (reported in May 2000 here on marketinglaw.co.uk) on the question of whether the TV ad Code should be adjusted also.