The below notes were taken at the
conference by Paul Cope of the IPM and do not necessarily represent the views
of the IPM, their employees, the IPM board or IPM members.
Welcome and Opening Remarks:
Lord Currie, ASA Chairman
- Lord Currie emphasised the importance of the
UK-wide nature of the ASA, hence this event coming from Manchester, and this
theme ran throughout the conference.
- He introduced the predominantly online nature of
the challenges for regulation over the next 5 years.
- He introduced a video as a preamble to the
session ahead. Watch it here.
- The ASA’s ‘Regulation of Online Advertising’
from 27th July 2018 can be read here.
Protecting Children Online: Panel
Discussion and Q&A
Panellists (L to R):
- Reg Bailey, Author of the Bailey Review
- Karim Palant, UK Public Policy Manager, Facebook
- Tina Daheley, BBC broadcaster and journalist
- Prof Tanya Byron, Author of the Byron Review
- Shahriar Coupal, Director, Committees of Advertising
Practice (behind the lectern)
- The ASA receives approx.
30,000 complaints per year, of which approx. 7,000 are banned, 88% of which are
- All media should
abide by – and be judged against – the same consistent, rigorous standards.
- It is important
that the ASA is proactive through application of tech tools (e.g. machine
learning) where possible as well as responding to complaints.
- The ASA also has a
role in providing proactive training and advice to advertisers – ‘prevention’
is always better than ‘cure’.
- But, there are still
huge challenges and baseline statutory regulation is important – many of the
most serious issues are society-wide, not just in advertising.
- As opportunity and
risk online are aligned, this is an exercise in ensuring public trust in
advertising and, therefore, responsibility by advertisers and media
owners/online platforms is essential.
Part of this
responsibility is to recognise the importance of collaboration and transparency
by advertisers with the ASA, as in the offline world.
- “99%” of
problematic social media content is removed by algorithmic tools, but further clarity
is required to ensure complete compliance of the remaining 1%.
misunderstanding of the guidance often leads to consumer perception of the
online space being a ‘wild west’.
- The ASA’s guidance
on ‘interest-based targeting’ in 2018 (https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/children-targeting.html)
sought to address this, and further reviews are planned with Facebook and
- A question was
asked regarding the issue of sign-ups to certain platforms by children (e.g.
WhatsApp), especially given that some teachers are recommending that entire
classes create WhatsApp groups (which can often descend into bullying and other
- Current technology
limitations and GDPR rules make this challenging to police (especially around multi-stage
age verification tools), and the panel recognised the important role of parents
in this process.
- Ultimately, the
responsibility for driving awareness, education and (self-) regulation rests
with all parties that have power to effect change – advertisers, agencies,
media owners, social media platforms, regulators and responsible adults.
Regulating Newer Forms of Advertising
Online: Panel Discussion and Q&A
Panellists (L to R):
- Simon Jones,
Managing Partner, Wavemaker & IPA North West City Head
- Kat Molesworth,
Co-founder and Director of Blogtacular
editor of Marketing Week (Chair)
Lilian Betty, Head
of Strategic Partnerships, TI Media
Guy Parker, Chief
Executive, ASA (behind the lectern)
- The key means to
ensure the responsibility and effectiveness of the ASA is ‘future-proofed’ is
to keep up with the budget and influence growth of online advertising.
- Trust and
transparency issues tend to be occurring towards the end of the ‘long tail’ –
most big advertisers are doing a decent job – which is another reason that the
‘wild west’ perception persists.
challenges around influencer marketing continue, especially around fake volume
numbers, supply of performance data, and authenticity of influencers;
- How will the ASA scale its service/education to
respond to new, quickly emerging areas e.g. e-sports, VR.
- Platforms are now the key barrier to success –
they’re bigger and more powerful than the ASA – so how do the ASA keep pace and
encourage collaboration and transparency?
- How will the ASA be able to effectively police
long-form content, especially when much of it is so similar to editorial?
- How can the ASA preempt and educate
advertisers, and help them understand the potential damage poor practice does
to everyone involved?
Launch of the ASA’s 5-year Corporate
Strategy (2019-2023): Guy Parker, Chief Executive, ASA
- Guy Parker presented the 6 strands of the ASA’s
5-year corporate strategy – the presentation can be found here.
Gender Stereotypes in
Advertising: Ella Smillie, Gender Stereotyping Lead, CAP
- Ella Smillie presented the background on the
research and development of the CAP guidance on gender stereotyping – the
consultation from 17th May 2018 can be found here.
- It covers many areas, including;
- Addressing limiting behaviour or damaging
perceptions as a result of advertising communication (e.g. attributing outmoded
gender roles to children).
- Establishing whether communication causes offence or causes harm, and the role of context in this (e.g. a mildly offensive message
– which might be mitigated by a message/media/audience context – versus
something that causes genuine mental harm).
- How advertising creates pressure to conform to unhealthy stereotypes (e.g. young men not feeling able to admit to certain mental health issues, such as anxiety).