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Self-regulation means that the ad industry has voluntarily established and paid for its own regulation. Co-regulation sees the ASA given responsibility on a day-to-day basis for regulating the content of broadcast (TV and radio) ads under contract from Ofcom.

Advertising self-regulation provides an effective consumer focused complaints system.  It is actively supported and paid for by advertisers. ISBA is the advertiser’s representative on the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and BCAP (Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice) committees. On behalf of our members, we act to ensure the system and the codes are effective for all concerned, including detailed work in the drafting of the rules. We are also a board member of the funding bodies (ASBOF and BASBOF) that receive the levy payments and hold the ASA to account financially.

The self-regulation system works because it is powered and driven by a sense of corporate social responsibility amongst the advertising industry. Advertisers have an interest in maintaining the system because:

  • Making sure that consumers are not misled, harmed or offended by ads helps to maintain consumer confidence in advertising. Advertising that is welcomed by consumers is good for business.
  • It maintains a level playing field amongst businesses. It is important for fair competition that all advertisers play by the same rules.
  • Maintaining self-regulation is much more cost-effective for advertisers than paying the legal costs of a court case.

Globally ISBA is a founder member of the ICC Advertising and Marketing Code. In the EU the appeal of self regulation is growing as a flexible way of achieving common standards.

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