NEWS: CAP faces criticism over its inability to maintain influence

The body that lays down the rules for Britain’s self-regulatory system of advertising control is facing criticism that it is losing its power and status.

The body that lays down the rules for Britain’s self-regulatory system

of advertising control is facing criticism that it is losing its power

and status.



Andrew Brown, the Advertising Association’s director-general, is among

senior industry figures said to have privately expressed disquiet about

the failure of the Committee of Advertising Practice to sustain itself

as a powerful industry voice.



The CAP was set up 20 years ago as a panel of agency, client and media

representatives to determine self-regulation for print advertising.



Fears about the declining influence of the CAP comes at the end of a

turbulent summer in which the self-regulatory system has faced a period

of unprecedented criticism, much of it fuelled by the rows over

political advertising.



‘There are people who believe the power and influence of the CAP must be

restored,’ an industry source said. ‘That’s the key lesson which has

come out of the summer.’



Industry bodies point to the contrast in the CAP of today and the

original body of highly idealistic founder members.



The concern is that the CAP has become ‘just another advertising

committee’ whose members delegate responsibilities to deputies.



Some industry executives believe the result is that the CAP can no

longer match the power of the Advertising Standards Authority even

though the ASA is officially accountable to it.



Meanwhile, the Direct Marketing Association is understood to be

presenting a report on its concerns about the ASA to the next meeting of

CAP.



The DMA has been concerned about some of the ASA’s recent rulings on

direct marketing cases which, it claims, bear no relation to the

realities. It has also complained that there is insufficient direct

marketing expertise within the ASA.



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