From 1st March 2011 all marketing communications on businesses’ own websites and in other non-paid-for web spaces under their control (e.g. Twitter and Facebook) will have to comply with the Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing rules as set out in the Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) Code. These rules focus particularly on misleading advertising, social responsibility and the protection of children. As a result, all marketing communications on business websites will need to be legal, decent, honest and truthful in line with the CAP code.
The Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) will ensure compliance with the CAP Code by introducing new sanctions in addition to those already at its disposal. These include the removal of search engine advertising (e.g. Google sponsored links) and also the placement of warning advertisements by the ASA to highlight non-compliance by an offending business.
The ASA is encouraging effected businesses to sign up to CAP Services via its website (http://www.cap.org.uk/Account/Register.aspx) in order to help ensure their websites and other non-paid-for web spaces under their control comply with the CAP Code before 1st March 2011.