I’ve written before about the importance of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the weight they carry (i.e. they come down on you hard) when you don’t adhere to the British Codes of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and The UK Code of Non-Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) guidelines.
These codes cover pretty much anything – digital or printed – that you use to promote your business.
There are strict guidelines in place for you to follow so that you check out what you’re intending to do, before you do it.
“Ah?but I’m only a one man (woman) business, not forgetting the cat, and I don’t do any advertising. It’s just me and my little website?”
Nope, sorry – that won’t do.
One of the things I’ve said in previous articles is that the ASA don’t differentiate between you as a micro business / small business, or a big corporate. As far as it is concerned, you are promoting a product or service to the public, and they treat everyone the same.
So it’s a shame that this particular poor lady doesn’t read this blog because she might have avoided being named and shamed on the ASA’s website, and she probably would have been fined (a lot) too.
I don’t know whether she was aware of the BCAP and CAP guidelines, but she certainly fell foul of them by making claims that can’t be substantiated. She’s a reflexologist, and whilst I’m personally a great believer in complementary health, as far as the law is concerned, treatments can’t be proven medically, and so you can’t say that they help with various ailments, which is what she did.
The principals of the Codes are that all advertising and promotion has to be legal, decent, honest and truthful. This applies in the spirit as well as the letter of the code.
So, before you write anything, tweet anything, publish anything on your website, produce anything for radio, or create an advert, you need to make sure that it adheres to this ethos, and to the Codes themselves.
The good news is that you can easily access these Codes for free yourself by going here.
You can also buy them (not expensive) so you have a hard copy sitting in your desk (this is my preferred option?maybe I’m a sad marketer, but I’m well aware of the power of the ASA).
And the ASA offer a free copy checking service anyway – so there can be no excuse.
Please don’t think that “it won’t happen to me” – because it just might. And that could seriously damage your business (could you take being named and shamed on a very public website, AND be fined thousands??)
Enjoy your marketing (it is fun, honest!), but please keep it legal, decent, honest and truthful.
Have a great week,
Dedicated to your success,