OPINION: A better self-regulation mechanism is now vital

Confusion abounds over Britain’s system of advertising self-regulation. So the news that its administrators are attempting to put some order back into it is greatly to be welcomed.

Confusion abounds over Britain’s system of advertising

self-regulation. So the news that its administrators are attempting to

put some order back into it is greatly to be welcomed.



It’s also timely. Some formidable challenges await and the industry will

be ill-equipped to face them unless it can show it is in proper control

of the self-regulation machine.



For one thing, there’s the Government’s pledge to incorporate the

European Convention of Human Rights into British law, making it easier

for advertisers to challenge rulings by the Advertising Standards

Authority.



For another, there’s the proposed Competition Bill, raising fears that

the ASA’s codes and copy clearance procedures could be rendered unlawful

and leading to damages claims for anti-competitive behaviour.



At present, the system is out of balance. A clear chain of command

established during the 60s put the Advertising Standards Board of

Finance firmly in charge. Beneath it were two bodies of equal status:

the rule-making Committee of Advertising Practice and the ASA, set up to

implement the CAP codes and defend consumers’ interests. But while

ASBOF’s profile is non-existent, the ASA is seen as the embodiment of

the entire judicial system.



The best protection for self-regulation lies in a return to the original

status quo. A beefed-up and high-profile ASBOF must not only be seen as

the true guardian of the system but also a body that aggrieved

advertisers can turn to with confidence.



Taking the scissors to ’Mad’ Frankie



Asked to assist Campaign with its inquiries into reports that ’Mad’

Frankie Fraser, one of the nastiest living legacies of London’s gang

wars, is to appear in its first TV commercial for Campari, Mellors Reay

& Partners behaves with circumspection.



’Has the BACC approved the script?’ ’Er ... yes.’ ’And Frankie will be

in character?’ ’Er ... no. He’s an ’extra’. We just wanted him for his

face. It’s so gnarled and interesting. In fact, he may end up on the

cutting-room floor.’ ’Not an ex-gangster showing that crime pays, then?’

’Heavens no.’



Frankie had a penchant for pulling out the teeth of anyone he didn’t

like with pliers. These days, he’s just a loveable old rogue. Still,

it’s nice to see the agency’s head of TV still has her kneecaps.



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