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The role of the Advertising Standards Authority

Published Monday, June 12, 2017

This Commons' briefing paper provides a summary of the functions and remit of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

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Advertisements and promotions are a feature of modern life. In the UK, the content of advertising, sales promotions and direct marketing across all media, including marketing on websites, is self-regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). It does this by enforcing the Advertising Codes; there are separate codes for non-broadcast and broadcast advertisements. Adverts are expected to be legal, decent, honest and truthful.

The ASA is independent of both the Government and the advertising industry. It is recognised by the government and other regulators as the body to deal with complaints about advertising. Its remit includes acting on and investigating complaints about advertisements as well as proactively monitoring and taking action against misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing. If a complaint about an advertisement is upheld, the advertiser must withdraw or amend the advertisement and not use the advertising approach again. All ASA adjudications are published.  

This Commons briefing paper provides an overview of the main functions and remit of the ASA.

Commons Briefing papers SN06130

Author: Lorraine Conway

Topic: Consumers

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