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Is charitable competition possible?

19 March 2010

This week saw the announcement of several changes to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) codes for broadcast and non-broadcast media after a lengthy consultation with industry bodies, Government and advertising agencies.

One of the changes is proving rather controversial. This is the new Code that allows the charity sector to air comparative advertisements on television and radio that compare one charity with another.

Under the Code, charities will be able to compare the work they do with other charities as well compare the way donations are spent.

The change comes at a time when donations are in a major decline as consumers continue to cut back following the recession.

The Governments view is that the charities sector should not been be seen as a “special category” and should be able to launch comparative advertisements as long as they do not break the rules on comparative advertising.

The change brings charities evermore into the commercial arena as they fight to get consumers’ pounds from their pockets. It will be interesting to see whether charities pay careful regard to the Code and do not for example denigrate their competitors. Or, whether there will be an influx of complaints made that comparisons are being made that are misleading consumers.

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