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ASA issues first ever online marcoms ruling

28 April 2011

We have reported that the ASA, with effect from March 2011, would be extending its remit to regulate marketing communications made online. This now includes statements made on marketer’s own websites.

The first such adjudication was published yesterday. The ASA has held that a claim made on the Maperton Trust’s website – that its product repelled head lice – should not be made, since the Maperton Trust did not produce the necessary evidence to support that claim.

We have already had queries from businesses concerned about this extension. Our view is that this first decision reinforces the fundamental principle that a marketer should always be able to objectively substantiate every claim before it is made. What this decision does not address are any of the particular issues arising from online marketing, such as user-generated content, and the enforcement of codes on the use of social media. However we are confident that decisions touching on these issues will not be too far away – and we will keep you posted.

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