The ASA’s 35th anniversary, which will be celebrated this week,
provides a great opportunity for us all to stop and think about the role
voluntary regulation plays in keeping the advertising industry largely
free of restrictive legislation.
Two weeks ago, members of the Incorporated Society of British
Advertisers heard Nigel Griffiths spell out his commitment to voluntary
controls - but we should be under no illusions that a Labour government
would fail to act if public pressure reached a sufficient level. Our
problem, and the problem for every creative team and every client in the
country, is knowing where the boundary lies. A glance at our anniversary
feature on page 16 demonstrates how far the goal posts have moved in
And on page 5, Citroen chiefs freely admit that they misjudged the
offence which might be caused by the Saxo ads featuring Bryan Brown
morphing into the Devil.
It is because it’s so difficult to know where the line is that the work
of the copy clearance bodies is so important. For posters and press, the
ASA continues to do a fine job, despite the criticisms levelled at it
some months ago. We hope that we’ll be able to celebrate the ASA’s 70th
birthday in the same style.