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
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
‘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
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.