The Advertising Standards Authority, ASA, announced on the 1st September 2010 an extension of its regulatory remit, from March 2011, which will give the Regulator jurisdiction over all marketing communications on the Internet including those on corporate websites and social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as over advergames and user generated content.

This controversial move has been introduced without any public consultation, and includes new serious sanctions for advertisers. Exemptions to the new regulation include “heritage advertising”, ‘investor relations’, and marketing communications promoting “causes and ideas”. Nearly all other marketing promotions on-line will need to comply with the CAP Code. Some areas of concern include how the ASA will deal with the fine line between editorial and promotional material; how the extended remit will be adequately funded; how sanctions can be effectively enforced against companies with sites based overseas or indeed against those thousands of smaller on line advertisers who are blissfully unaware and ignorant of the CAP Code and whose advertising can change in seconds in this fast paced media environment.

All this comes into effect on the 1st March 2011, which does not give businesses long to review their on line promotions and marketing plans. The changes to the CAP Code ironically comes literally days after printed versions of the revised CAP and BCAP Codes were sent out to purchasers, and only a few months after a public consultation, which excluded these latest provisions.

Continue Reading Regulation Spreads to Advertisements on Corporate Websites and Social Networking Sites

At the end of July, Intercontinental Brands ("ICB") lost their appeal against the High Court ruling that their "VODKAT" brand was being passed off as genuine vodka. In an important case, which will have an effect on advertisers’ choices for product names, the court held that makers of vodka, such as Diageo, were entitled to protect the ‘vodka’ name under the doctrine of "extended passing off".

Five elements have to be established in order to succeed in a claim for extended passing off:

  1. That his business consists of, or includes selling in England a class of goods to which the particular trade name applies;
  2. The class of goods is clearly defined, and that in the minds of the public, or section of the public, the trade name distinguishes that class from other similar goods;
  3. Due to the established reputation of the goods there is goodwill attached to name;
  4. The claimant is the owner of the goodwill which is of substantial value;
  5. The claimant has suffered, or is likely to suffer substantial damage to his goodwill.


Continue Reading Intercontinental’s “passing off” hangover

The new Health Secretary under the coalition government, Andrew Lansley, has recently announced the axing of the previous government’s £75 million advertising campaign to promote healthy living, which was introduced in an attempt to reduce the record levels of obesity in the UK. As Mark Sweney from the Guardian notes, the new administration is instead encouraging

The ReACTS breakfast seminar, ‘Mad Men or Bad Men?’, was held on Thursday 20 May. There was an excellent turn out with delegates from diverse companies, including advertising agencies, production companies and broadcasters. The speakers looked in detail at the opportunities and challenges arising from the recent relaxation of the product placement restrictions and explained the recent

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) launched their mascots for the 2012 Games this week. The mascots are one-eyed alien-type characters, designed specifically to appeal to children, thus reflecting the efforts made in the original London bid to focus on the legacy of encouraging children to participate in sport.

The Olympic mascot

The rising power of major events holders and an analysis of present laws, and regulations protecting modern day sponsors

Does a rugby post and the words “support English rugby” imply that Fullers was an official sponsor of the English rugby team? The Advertising Standards Agency thought not and did not uphold a complaint by The

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