Keep your ASAs in check
13 February 2019
Author: Jasmine Waters
As promoting products online continues to be the preferred method of advertising, the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) is beginning to crack down on retailers who misleadingly sell what isn’t really there. As we see an increasing introduction of new, strict legislation, how can brands make sure they stay on the right side of the law?
Why are the ASA getting stricter?
Much of the recent controversy that made national headlines was surrounding the ongoing faux-fur war many high street brands have waged on the industry itself. Alongside ‘misleading’ selling (with many fur products being sold as faux fur), problems were fuelled by repeated online sale strategies – with countdown timers putting extra pressure on consumers to buy both quickly and spontaneously. With a staggering number of these types of sales taking place on an annual basis, rules can easily be broken around sales of products and their promotion, which have prompted compliance levels to be under even more scrutiny. New systems in place will now be overseen by the ASA’s Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), targeting all types of media, from press to social. This comes at a time when influencer rules have also seen a dramatic overhaul, with disclosure of paid advertisements or brand partnerships needing to be more clearly seen and recognised by a following or audience.
What can brands do to avoid conflict?
As we have discussed in previous posts, the name of the game is still total transparency in order to keep the ASA standards happy. Legal issues aside, selling what you want a product to be rather than what is actually is could put your brand morally into question, which could result in a lack of brand trust and loyalty. Consumers now not only demand a personal experience, but also a personal connection – with a new kind of dialogue now forming between brand and customer, any little ‘slip’ can now put that all into jeopardy. No brands can now afford to be seen as ‘problematic’ in their ethos, products or overall business strategy, so compliance with advertising standards is now imperative on many different levels.
With investigations rising and BBC’s Watchdog constantly on the lookout, transparency has never been more crucial. To keep consumers engaged and problems at bay, stay up to date with ASA updates at: https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/legislation.html