Cracking the CAP code

On Wednesday, we blogged about the new ASA regulations and some of the questions that it raised in relation to communications in the online space.

It caused a bit of a stir.

Whilst marketing, PR and social media professionals all seem to concur that ensuring vulnerable people can trust marketing communications in the online space is important and that guidelines are helpful for professionals operating in this area, there are some grey areas requiring resolution and some questions that need to be addressed.

Like whether hosting a conversation through a live social media feed on an advertisers’ website is promotion. Or what the implications are for re-Tweets.

As we continue exploring the implications of this measure, we were pleased to see that Copy Advice is beginning to address some of these questions and wanted to mention the piece as it nearly slipped under our radar.

You can read the full article for yourself here and, whilst it’s reassuring that some of the questions we touched on are being addressed, the article also highlights the complexity of the debate. For example, whilst Copy Advice offers reassurance that each breach will be examined on a case-by-case basis , we are already starting to get a sense of just how many subtleties will come into play – think context, tone, solicitation – and how hard interpreting the regulations may become.

Similarly, the attempts to define ‘marketing communications’ and a reminder of the exemptions are helpful, but fail to clarify some of the haziness around the increasingly blurry definition of editorial content.

With such rich and varied content being created by both users and companies, gaining clarity is of paramount importance – both in relation to protecting consumers and also keeping social media exciting and fresh.

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