International edition
September 28, 2021

Advertisers and media owners will have nearly six months to adjust to the new rules

UK unveils new advertising codes

(UK).- Following a comprehensive review and a full public consultation last year, the UK’s Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) have launched new Advertising Codes to come into force next September 1st.


he code includes a dedicated lottery advertising section governing ads by the National Lottery and lotteries licensed under the UK Gambling Act.

In the first ever concurrent review of all Advertising Codes in nearly fifty years, more than 400 pieces of legislation and 30,000 consultation responses from consumers, industry, government, charities and other interest groups have been assesed.

The new Codes, which will replace the existing Codes on September 1st 2010, continue to be based on the enduring principles that all ads should be “legal, decent, honest and truthful.”

According to CAP and BCAP, the present Advertising Codes continue to work well and are in general “effective, well-understood and strike the right balance between the freedom of expression and necessary restrictions”. CAP and BCAP opted to maintain the protections those Codes provided.

Key changes to the Advertising Codes include the creation of a single Broadcast Code for TV and radio in place of the existing four, making it easier for advertisers, and the introduction of an over-arching social responsibility rule for TV and radio that will afford greater protection to consumers and children.

A dedicated ‘lottery advertising’ section has also been included to cover the National Lottery and lotteries licensed under the Gambling Act. CAP and BCAP now consider that all lottery ads should be subject to the same social responsibility rules, regardless of their different regulatory status.

The new Codes should also help UK gambling operators such as Tombola and William Hill who have both recently had ads banned by the ASA, with new consumer protection rules including the clarification on the use of ‘free’ in marketing communications. Sales promotion rules have also been added to oblige marketers to be clear about the number and nature of prizes, including about those that are ‘available’ to win and those that are ‘guaranteed’ to be won, ensuring that recipients of instant wins are able to access their prize quickly and easily.

The new rules will also allow betting tipsters who are currently allowed to advertise on TV Text services to also advertise on TV and radio for the first time, subject to a dedicated and comprehensive set of rules that ensure they do not mislead the audience.

“The new Advertising Codes show self-regulation at its best,” said Andrew Brown, Chairman of CAP and BCAP. “Time and again industry has underlined its commitment to socially responsible advertising, ensuring the Codes reflect societal concerns and changes in the media landscape.

“The Code consultation has been thoroughly inclusive and we are grateful for the outstanding response from all stakeholders. We now look ahead, confident that the new rules are effective in protecting consumers and maintaining their trust in advertising while providing a robust but proportionate framework for industry.”

Advertisers and media owners will have nearly six months to adjust to the new rules before they are applied to all advertisements from September 1st 2010. CAP and BCAP will be embarking on a training and awareness programme to bring the industry up to speed with any significant changes that may impact them. Details will be announced in the coming weeks. 

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