The Regulation Game
Cramp, Beverly, Marketing
As many advertisers complain they face too many rules and others outside the industry demand still more, Beverly Cramp takes a critical look at the maze of UK advertising regulation
Philip Circus, legal affairs director at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, speaks for many when he laments the growing body of legislation he claims has engulfed the advertising industry. "Twenty years ago there were hardly any laws. Now we're drowning in them," he says.
Advertisers are having to leap through countless regulatory hoops in the UK and face an even more bewildering array of laws in Europe. A maze of different rules on alcohol, pharmaceutical, cigarette and toy advertising from different EU member nations make cross-border campaigns a nightmare.
The EU is tackling this with a new Green Paper aimed at standardising pan-European regulations, but the situation in the UK does not look to be getting any easier for advertisers.
Particularly depressing is the sight of the British Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) squabbling with the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) over the sharing of experts to vet ads. If the regulatory bodies themselves cannot see eye to eye, what hope is there for the advertisers who have to use them?
"After having one of the most interventionist governments in the field of advertising and marketing, it's a hell of a job keeping track of all the legislation," says Circus. "One temporary minister is no match for half a million civil servants with a vested interest in regulation."
Circus was introduced to the frustrations of statutory law shortly after embarking on his career in the late 70s. A law was introduced to help car-buyers make more reliable decisions on a car's fuel consumption by requiring advertisers to include official government tests whenever manufacturers' claims were advertised.
Circus says the government failed to realise that to include the many sets of …
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Publication information: Article title: The Regulation Game. Contributors: Cramp, Beverly - Author. Magazine title: Marketing. Publication date: May 23, 1996. Page number: 20+. © 2003 Haymarket Business Publications Ltd. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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