Marketing, Social Responsibility and The Law in UK

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 2492 |

Pages: 5|

13 min read

Published: Oct 4, 2018

Words: 2492|Pages: 5|13 min read

Published: Oct 4, 2018

Table of contents

  1. Essay 2
  2. Introduction
  3. Anti-smoking campaign picture by NHS
  4. Dave the businessman twerking

Advertising is done by different businesses to publicize and make customers aware of the business for the purpose of maximizing the profits of the business. It is not done anyhow since some advertisements rather tarnish the reputation of the business. It is for this reason that regulation is done to enhance business protection from marketing regulations which could be misleading. Advertising regulation is done to also to ensure honesty, transparency, and accuracy which helps avoid misleading comparisons with business rivals like the use of logos or trademarks which belong to competitors or even comparison of products with that of a competitor which are not the same.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Marketing regulation is done differently in different parts of the world. This essay will deal with the regulation of marketing in the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, advertising and marketing are digital and are regulated in two ways. Firstly, advertising is regulated by legislation combination which is regulation based on the law. The second mode of regulation is termed as self-regulation which is used to complement the legislation regulation. Obviously, legislation by the law leaves some gaps since the law is not sufficiently broad to reach all requirements of marketing and advertising. It is for this reason that the UK has self-regulation to cover beyond what the law requires (Uribe, R. & Fuentes-García, 930, 2017).

Protection of Consumers from unjust trading regulations in the 2008 and the data protection act of 1999 are some of the main examples of legislation regulation of advertisements while United Kingdom Code of Non-broadcast advertisements together with Promotional and Direct marketing are the key forms of self-regulation. The self-regulatory advertising has industry levy which funds it on the cost of purchasing advertising space and it is collected by the Advertising Standards Board of Finance (ASBOF) (Walker& M.J, 28, 2017).

The self-regulation system and the legislation regulation system work very differently. The self-regulation system has a framework which is based majorly on the rules which are devised by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). This committee is solely reinforced by Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The CAP writes and maintains the CAP code which includes agencies, owners of media and advertisers among others. In the UK the digital advertising industry is represented in the CAP by IAB. The IAP has yet another role as a member of CAP which is to not only advise the CAP and ASA but also to provide practitioner input.

The ASA is an independent body that reinforces the code made by the CAP. It also deals with all the complaints about advertising that arise and ensures that advertising across the country is honest, decent and legal. The ASA was formed in the 1960s by the CAP and its remit was extended up to 2011 to cover digital marketing communications on the own websites of organizations and social media also. It is important to note that the code by CAP covers advertising in all media which is non-broadcast including digital advertising (Kang, et al, 20. 2017).

The CAP code ought to be adhered to by all media, agencies, and advertisers in the UK irrespective of the type. The actual rules require advertising mode to be a responsible one and should not threaten, exploit or even mislead a consumer (Noel, et al, 28, 2017). The CAP code does not cover advertising to adults only. There are very stern regulations concerning advertising to youth or children. The dynamic nature of the CAP code ensures its effectiveness. It is often put up to date to cover any new legislation, technology or even concerns.

Some basic rules contained here include the fact that one should be capable of identifying advertising as advertising and not ant another thing. This is essential and relevant especially for marketing which is content-based and native distributions formats. These are designed in such a way that they feel and look like surrounding content. The IAB of United Kingdom has produced guidelines for native and content marketing to assist marketers to comprehend and be well-versed with the CAP code rules and how to be compliant to them.

The CAP code rules are not just random in the way they are structured. The code contains advertising rules for particular types of services or products some of which may include tobacco, alcohol, and medicine (Just & M.R, 405, 2017). The ASA has a process on how it handles complaints from citizens. In the process, when a complaint is reported, the ad is gauged against the CAP code. The ASA must first try to amicably solve the complaint by either withdrawing or changing the ad in question. In case it is not possible to handle the complaint, the ASA carries out an investigation which is inclusive of giving the marketer or advertiser a chance to respond to the issue.

The sophisticated case is then presented to the ASA council who make a formal verdict. The council will in its ruling decide whether the ad in question has been breached once or more of CAP code regulations. The IAP could also be asked to discuss the case before the ASA council considers it. The ASA council is not just like any other council. It is the jury which decides on complaints that are referred to it as an investigation team in ASA. It is a structured council whose head is a chairman and has thirteen members. Five of these members have a current knowledge of advertising sectors as well as media sectors. In every Wednesday, the council’s adjudications are reported on ASA website (Lee et al, 15, 2017).

There is a self-regulation which is put in place specifically for digital advertising. In 2011 for instance, media trade bodies and EU advertising published principles of good practice through EDAA for EAA and EU markets purposely to ensure transparency and control of OBA. EDAA stands for European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance. The Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) principles of good practice have been incorporated in the CAP code. Other self-regulatory initiatives are also available for online advertising and are overseen by UK’s JICWEBS. This is the body which not only ensures good practice for digital ad trading around brand safety but also defines the principles of good practice.

Essay 2


Advertisements are done in the UK by various companies, firms, health institutions and other firms. These advertisements are either acceptable or controversial. The popular adverts are widespread over the country while the controversial adverts have been criticized and reported to the UK regulatory systems like the ASA and CAP. These regulatory systems assess the controversial advertisement and take the necessary action on the body that does such advertisements. The type of advertisement may either be dismissed by the regulatory system or may be advised to change its mode of advertising (Perelló-Oliver, S. & Muela-Molina, 17, 2017).

Some of the most recognized controversial adverts in the UK are adverts from NHS and BHF (British Heart Foundation), adverts from Money Supermarket, adverts from the Protein World poster campaign and These adverts are among the controversial adverts that received many complaints. In fact, Money advert was the most complained advert of the year.

Anti-smoking campaign picture by NHS

The first advertisement in the year 2015 that received many complaints was an advert from the British Heart Foundation and NHS. The advert entailed that fifteen cigarettes result in a mutation which causes cancer to individuals. There was a poster in which a picture to campaign against smoking cigarette was inserted. The picture was of a cigarette which was fitted with human flesh on the side of the cigarette (Schudson, 24, 2017)

The cigarette was being smoked by an elderly man and he seemed not to care about the human flesh that was notoriously out attached to the cigarette. The picture is extremely scary due to the presence of human flesh. Who on Earth is not scared of naked human flesh? Probably cannibals but who is sure that they exist? The British Heart Foundation advert is therefore regarded as controversial. There were approximately 180 complaints and concerns about the controversial advertisement.

There were claims that most health organizations used very distressing adverts to shock the public instead of just advertising their campaigns in a comfortable way. Some bodies tried to defend the department of health by claiming that the advertisement was not controversial and in fact, the ASA denied the complaints claiming that the advert was not very gruesome since it contained a very important message which was concerned about health. The ASA in the UK regulatory system has a hand in ensuring that the advert is up to standard and that it is not viewed as controversial by the members of the public (Onuorah & J.E,20, 2017).

The second advertisement that received many complaints was a MoneySuperMarket advertisement in 2016. It received about 530 complaints making it position four in a list of ten most controversial advertisements. The list was prepared by Advertising Standards Authority while ranking the most controversial advertisements in the year 2016. The advert showed a video of Dave a businessman having a dance-off with Parker, the builder of the advert. The complaints were attracted by the pole dancing of Dave the business and builder Colin. They were in women attire and high heels as well as men suits as their tops (Griffith, et al, 25, 2017).

Dave the businessman twerking

The insurance company was a very naughty bunch in 2016 because of the dance-off between Dave in high heel and the gang of ‘lockin’ and ‘poppin’. The dance might have seemed very attractive because of the humorous nature of the dress and the actual dance but most viewers with different perspectives would view the advert very differently. The advert was controversial because of the clad of Dave and the ‘poppin’ gang of Colin. The dressing revealed gay character. It is only a small percentage of people who are gay in the world and therefore, many people will view the advert as a controversial one rather than humorous as Dave the businessman thought it would be.

Since the advert was centered on a gay or lesbian couple, it received 896 more complaints and was therefore ranked third once again. The other adverts linked to MoneySuperMarket were advert, Maltesers advert, Gary the bodyguard and the football advert among others. The chief executive of the ASA who is guy Parker observed that the adverts that attract the most number of complaints, not the ones that require banning. The amendment is one of the key solutions according to Parker the chief executive (Schmalensee, & Genesove, 33, 2008).

The other reaction of ASA which is the main UK advert regulatory body to this MoneySuperMarket advert was stating vividly that this advert was meant to advertise its product in a positive way but most people had opposite perception about it (Noel, et al 58, 2017). Parker further added that any advert whether controversial or not will get people talking. He, however, urges that advertisers must also be keen in ensuring that they do not cause serious offenses in their adverts. He claims that this is because the ASA does not play a number game.

Parker also claimed that it was obvious that matters concerning offenses in advertisements dominate the headlines and that they have an uphill task of tackling the misleading information on advertisements. The ASA was thus looking for the best approach to address the issue affecting consumers. This is to prevent the complaints from being made. Parker and ASA at large were a bit successful in this since they were able to counter some of the complaints by urging advertisers to amend an advertisement before complaints started being made (Hackley, C & Hackley, 56, 25,2017).

The other controversial advertisement was The advertisement was about the campaign for a travel website. The advert was screened in cinemas and on television showing people arriving at their respective destinations after leaving for holidays. In the same ad, a voice uttered: “This holiday has been a year in the planning and here you are standing, nay staring at your dreams …” These words from the speaker for the advert turn out to be very boring when the word booking is repeated constantly. The ASA received about 2400 complaints about the repeat of the word booking claiming that it could be substituted with a swear word. The complaints had a similar claim that the repetition of the word was not only provocative but also offensive (Cavusoglu, & Dakhli, et al, 2, 2017).

Some complainants of the advert stated that the advert would encourage swearing among children while others reported the advertisement due to the seeing the ad as television programmes like Harry Potter are on. More complainants claimed that they saw the ad at Paddington cinema screenings as well as Night at the museum. At these places, children were not restricted and thus the complainants questioned whether children audience was appropriate for the advert.

According to the use of the work booking was not ambiguous at all and its repetition throughout the advert was to actually reinforce recognition of the brand. They also stated that the word was all times used in a polite tone which conveyed joy, delight, and enthusiasm. This was in contrary with the complainant’s claim that the use of ‘booking’ was in a derogatory tone which was associated with swearwords. also claimed that the ad did not feature any swear words. They also said that the ad hardly encouraged swearing in children.

The CAA said that they had not only borne in mind the adverts potential to cause offense but also the long history of entendre and a substitute of the word in British humor (Esteban et al, 10,2017). CAA which is the Cinema Advertising Association showed it's believed that young children did not have the capability to conceive that the word ‘booking’ would be synonymous with an expletive. The ASA claimed to comprehend the intention of repeating the word ‘booking’ which was to reinforce the awareness of the brand among its customers. It further observed many viewers of the advert misunderstood the use of the word as word-play of a heavy word which was not the real intention of advert.

However, the artist of the voiceover enunciated the word vividly and it was distinct so as not be confused with the ‘dirty’ word which many people thought. The ASA was very keen to consider this and therefore acknowledged that the word was free of the expletives which means that the advert did not directly use any explicit language. ASA boss added that the viewers of the advert might have found the word distasteful but the impact of the use of the word ‘booking’ repeatedly was not likely to cause serious offense.

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The ASA considered the fact that some complainants had heard their own childrenswear immediately after seeing the advert but denounced the fact that it was the advert’s expletives that led to the rising of certain behaviors. (Crawford et al, 203, 2017) Probably, it could have raised as a result of the current trend of behavioral change due to media influence.

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This essay was reviewed by
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Cite this Essay

Marketing, Social Responsibility and the Law in UK. (2018, October 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
“Marketing, Social Responsibility and the Law in UK.” GradesFixer, 02 Oct. 2018,
Marketing, Social Responsibility and the Law in UK. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2023].
Marketing, Social Responsibility and the Law in UK [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 02 [cited 2023 Dec 5]. Available from:
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