Advertising is an important part of the marketing mix for business and provides a chance for you to be in control of the brand message.  As part of our IP and brand protection team I work with our clients to help protect their brand and make sure that their adverts are compliant.

All advertising in the UK must be done in a way that is decent, legal, truthful and socially responsible.

Advertising and the law

There are regulations which restrict what advertisers can and cannot do; the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPUTR) and Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations (BPMMR) being two of importance. As well as being accurate and honest, businesses must not make misleading comparisons with competitors or harass consumers. In addition UK businesses have to comply with the Advertising Codes put in place by the Committee of Advertising Standards Practice (CAP).

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Committee of Advertising Standards Practice (CAP) work together to ensure that the regulations are adhered to by businesses.

There are specific regulations which apply to the advertisement of certain products such as food, alcohol, beauty products and tobacco products.

The CPUTR sets out that businesses cannot mislead or harass consumers. For example leaving out important information and using aggressive sales techniques or including false or deceptive messages in advertisements would amount to a breach of the regulations.

The BPMMR states that as well as being accurate and honest businesses must not make misleading comparisons with competitors that include using a competitor’s logo or trade mark, or comparing a product with a competitor’s product that is not the same.

Further, businesses must accurately describe products. This means that businesses must be able to prove that any claims made about a specific product are indeed  true.

When considering advertising businesses need  to make informed decisions and factor in the relevant regulations to ensure that they are not in breach of advertising regulations.

The ASA regularly receives complaints from consumers about advertisements s and deals with them in the manner they see fit, regardless of the number of complaints received.