by Danny Meadows-Klue
The marketing and media industries have specialist bodies that are responsible for regulation and self regulation in different areas. If you're concerned about something you've seen, then this page helps you find the right organisation to talk to. Here's a simple overview...
The Code of Advertising Practice covers advertising techniques and claims. It is policed by the Advertising Standards Authority and has a well established mechanism for investigating complaints. If your concern is about advertising you have seen in the media (online or offline) rather than then direct marketing communication that has been sent to you personally, then the ASA is your first port of call.
Alcohol advertising and websites?
The Portman group here in the UK represents the leading alcohol beverages manufacturers. They have developed a detailed and strict self-regulatory code about the way alcohol is marketed both online and in classic media. If your concern relates to the advertising or the website of an alcohol brand then look at this website first.
Data protection and the use of your email address or phone number
This is one of the most common concerns people have and in the UK there’s a special government department in place to enforce data protection law. The Information Commissioner’s Office is responsible for applying data protection legislation.
If you're concerned about the content of personal communication (emails, phone calls or letters you’ve received from companies), then the Direct Marketing Commission is your port of call. This is the new UK self-regulatory authority for maintaining high standards in personal communication.
Illegal content on the internet?
Websites that are in the UK fall under the remit of the Internet Watch Foundation. The foundation was one of the first industry sponsored groups and if you are upset by content you suspect is illegal then you can take it further by following the links and instructions on their website.
Newspapers and magazinesIf you're concerned about the content of an article in a newspaper or magazine (whether you see it in their print or online editions), then the Press Complaints Commission is the place to contact. The PCC is the independent organisation monitoring British newspapers and magazines to ensure they adhere to ethical guidelines. They deals with issues such as inaccuracy and privacy.
As a team Digital Strategy Consulting has helped run several internet trade associations and support several of the self-regulatory frameworks. Back in 1998 our founder worked on the creation of the first code of practice in the UK for online advertising and most recently we were invited to help the Direct Marketing Commission raise the standards in digital communication. If you have views on self regulation, compliance or are part of an industry organisation outside the UK keen to learn more then email us and we'll connect you to the right people here in the UK.