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the summary of slimming survey

A week of overindulgence at Christmas spurs many people into resolving to lose weight in the new year. With that in mind, the Compliance team surveyed a sample of advertising in January to discover the compliance rate of slimming advertising with the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code).

All slimming advertisements that appeared in a sample of women’s magazines and the regional press during January 2005 were assessed under the CAP Code’s specific rules about the advertising of slimming products and services. Excluding duplicates, 24 of 48 advertisements were found to breach the CAP Code, giving a compliance rate of 50% . The Compliance team was concerned by the result.

Where a breach was found, the Compliance team told the advertiser to ensure all future advertisements complied fully with the CAP Code and recommended it use the CAP Copy Advice team in future. None of the advertisements found to breach the Code were the subject of complaints to the ASA.

Most advertisements that breached the Code appeared in the regional press (88% of breaches). Of those advertisements that appeared in the regional press 21 of 36 (excluding duplicates) breached the Code, a breach rate of 58%. Of those advertisements that appeared in magazines 3 of 12 (excluding duplicates) breached the Code, a breach rate of 25%.

The Compliance team was concerned at the high breach rate and will continue to monitor the slimming sector to ensure an improvement in the compliance rate. The team urges publishers to ensure that advertisements for slimming products comply with the Code.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the independent body that endorses and administers the CAP Code, which applies to the content of non-broadcast marketing communications. It is responsible for ensuring that the self-regulatory system works in the public interest and achieves that by nvestigating complaints, identifying and resolving problems by research and by promoting and enforcing high standards by ensuring that everyone who commissions, prepares and publishes marketing communications observes the
CAP Code. On 1 November 2004, the ASA assumed powers for regulating TV and radio advertisements under contract from the communications regulator, Ofcom. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is the body that created and evises the CAP Code.

It represents advertisers, promoters and direct marketers, their agencies, the media and trade and professional organisations the advertising, sales promotion and direct marketing industries. CAP provides a pre-publication copy advice service and co-ordinates the activities of members to achieve the highest degree of compliance with the CAP Code. The Compliance team works to ensure that marketing communications comply with the CAP Code and with ASA decisions. The team follows-up ASA adjudications, monitors marketing communications and takes immediate action ensure marketing communications that breach the Code are removed from he media. One of the team’s objectives is to create a level-playing field for marketers and it ensures that by communicating decisions that have sector wide ramifications. The Compliance team conducts surveys to assess compliance rates in certain industries, sectors or media; those surveys help to dentify marketing trends and to anticipate subjects of concern that need to be
addressed by the ASA and CAP.

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