What is the ASA CAP Code?
In broad terms, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) are responsible for the UK Code on Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotions and Direct Marketing, which aims to ensure that advertising does not mislead, harm or offend the consumer. The ‘CAP Code’ rules add an extra layer of consumer protection on top of consumer protection law and aim to ensure the UK advertising is responsible. (source, asa.org.uk)
What are the new CAP Code Changes?
As discussed at yesterday’s IAB meeting, the expansion of the CAP Code to include Advertiser Websites and Social Networking Activity will go live on 1st March 2011, which affects the way Advertiser content is displayed through not only their web properties, but how it is displayed on a Publisher’s website.
The new CAP Code could force Paid Search Advertising to be removed if the ads link through to a non-complaint page.
Implications for Affiliate Marketing?
Mark Russell, Managing Director of Existem-am said:
This code has implications for merchants, networks, agencies and affiliates. There is potentially much more responsibility at each level in the chain of affiliate marketing, as content needs to be consistent with the ASA code whether it is originated by the merchant, client or affiliate.
It requires a much more co-ordinated approach to the distribution of compliant content, and clear guidelines on how offers are to be communicated as well as publisher responsibility in using and originating copy around merchant offers. The networks therefore need to ensure that there is sufficient contact information for brands and agencies to communicate this to all publishers as well as for agencies and merchants effectively police their programme when messages need to change.
It is a challenge to the industry and another example of the significance and growing maturity of the affiliate channel.
How will the CAP Code be enforced?
In the event of non-compliance, the new ways to enforce the extended remit will include providing details of an Advertiser and its non-complaint marketing communication on a new ASA microsite and removing Paid Search ads (described above). The ASA also plans to highlight non-compliance by using search ads linking through to the new microsite.
More information on the ASA Digital Remit can be found here.