ASA attacks poster mavericks through pre-vetting scheme

Britain’s poster industry is clamping down on maverick advertisers that use shock tactics to make the most of tiny budgets.

Britain’s poster industry is clamping down on maverick advertisers

that use shock tactics to make the most of tiny budgets.



From 1 June any company found by the Advertising Standards Authority to

have produced offensive or irresponsible poster advertising will be

forced to submit its poster work for pre-vetting for the next two

years.



The action has been taken by the Committee of Advertising Practice in

co-operation with the Outdoor Advertising Association and the Council of

Outdoor Specialists. It is aimed mainly at advertisers intent on

maximising a minimal spend by creating a controversial poster and

getting it banned in a blaze of publicity.



The ASA insists that such incidents remain rare and that 98 per cent of

poster advertisers comply with its rules. But Matti Alderson, the ASA’s

director-general, said: ’The very small numbers of advertisers who

produce posters that ignore public sensitivities cannot act with

impunity. They will be forced to think again before creating a one-shock

wonder.’



The initiative comes in the wake of a number of high-profile

controversies, including the banning in 1995 of Saatchi & Saatchi’s

’Beaver Espana’ ads for Club 18-30 and the furore over a Benetton poster

showing three human hearts.



The rows prompted one poster company, Maiden Outdoor, to act

unilaterally and introduce pre-vetting two years ago against advertisers

falling foul of the ASA.



Matthew Carrington, the chairman of the Outdoor Advertising Association,

said the initiative would reassure consumers, the ad industry and the

Government that the poster industry ’will not permit a handful of

offenders discrediting our medium’.



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