The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has updated its procedures it follows in deciding whether an advertiser has breached the UK Advertising Codes. The procedures aim to ensure that any evidence a complainant has supplied is taken into account and relied on by Council when making a decision about an advertiser.
Where a complainant supplies evidence in support of their objection to an advertisement, they must now agree for it to be shared with the advertiser, so that advertisers have a fair opportunity to respond in full to the points being made. For these purposes, ‘evidence’ relates to documentary evidence supplied in addition to the point of complaint (and not the description of the complaint, expression of opinion or interpretation of a claim).
Once the advertiser has supplied their initial response (and provided that the complainant agrees to disclosure), the ASA will make an assessment during the investigation of whether this information is relevant and needs to be disclosed. If the complainant does not agree, the evidence will not form part of the ASA’s assessment.