The Regulation Game

By Cramp, Beverly | Marketing, May 23, 1996 | Go to article overview

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 official data in a television or radio ad was unrealistic. That meant car manufacturers simply ceased to refer to fuel consumption at all.

"The consumer is denied information about fuel consumption as a consequence of a statutory provision designed to give him information about fuel consumption," Circus says.

This demonstrates the growing belief that regulation is required to deal with fraudulent traders, but that too much of it is bad for consumers. To paraphrase an old saying, the end result of trying to shield people from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.

Circus claims the argument about consumer protection is a political one based on personal values. He says there are those who wish for less regulation, and an associated freer society, and those who do not.

Other industry watchdogs insist advertising should be more regulated to banish its harmful effects. Critics argue that self-regulation has not gone far enough and that the industry is abusing its power to influence consumers. This is the view of Geoffrey Cannon, chairman of the National Food Alliance (NFA), a consumer group concerned with food issues in the UK and one of many pressure groups that advertisers have to contend with.

"We recognise that advertising is a part of the fabric of our society and we have nothing against it in principle. But its attitude towards cigarette advertising, for example, is socially irresponsible and outrageous. Not all ad agencies advocate cigarette advertising and we appreciate the stance of those, like Abbott Mead Vickers, that refuse to handle such accounts," says Cannon.

Food for thought

As a representative of the NFA, Cannon sat on the government's Nutrition Task Force, whose goal was to examine ways to improve the health of the nation. He is convinced there should be more regulation governing food advertising, particularly in view of what he sees as a failure in self-regulation. "Our position has hardened and if the voluntary path is rejected the only route open is the statutory route. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Regulation Game
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.