ASA launches tongue-in-cheek ad campaign

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched its first consumer ad campaign in five years to raise public awareness of its regulatory role.

Created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, the ads appear in press, outdoor, radio, online, TV and cinema, and run until the end of April, with cinema ads running until August.

Media agency OMD UK has co-ordinated planning to help secure donated media space and airtime for the ads. 

The animated TV ad, "wow", features a character that morphs into different shapes, relevant to what the voiceover is saying.

It begins by saying: "Introducing all new improved wow – at last a product guaranteed to make you happier, richer, taller, more attractive and much funnier".

The ad finishes with: "The Advertising Standards Authority makes sure all ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful. If you think an ad isn't, we're here to put it right."

The copywriters on the ad included Phil Martin, Tim Riley and Dave Buchanan, while the art directors were Brian Campbell and Mike Hannett. The production company behind the cinema and TV ads were Dept A @ HIS, and Spitfire produced the online film. Erika Akerlund directed the cinema and TV ads.

The ads also inform the consumers that the ASA's remit now covers marketing communications on companies' own websites.

In January, the ASA launched a business-to-business campaign to alert advertisers and website owners to the regulator's extended online remit.

Esra Erkal-Paler, director of communications, policy and marketing ASA, said: "We want the public to know that the ASA ensures marketing communications, wherever they appear, are legal, decent, honest and truthful.

"We are hugely grateful for the invaluable support of AMV BBDO and OMD UK, as well as the generosity of all media owners who’ve donated free space and airtime. We’re confident this new campaign will reassure consumers about the fact that they can trust the ads they see."

Farah Ramzan Golant CBE, executive chairman of AMV BBDO, said: "Having communicated the landmark extension of the ASA's remit widely to industry, it is equally important that we inform the public of this significant enhancement for consumer protection online.

"Not only will this help drive consumer confidence and trust, it is also more likely to work, and deliver value to business."