There is no time to mince our words: The Advertising Standards Association will be liquidated by the end of April 2017 unless the advertising industry decides to bail it out. This was the message of the ASASA’s business rescue practitioner at a meeting held last week.
What do advertisers stand to lose? Over the last 50 years the ASASA has been keeping irresponsible and unethical marketers in check by hearing consumer complaints, but more significantly, complaints between competitors. If the ASASA shuts down the industry will lose a very nuanced body of law and the ability to challenge unscrupulous advertisers without going to court. Advertising claims are usually urgent, because as soon as an advert is published the harm is already done. This makes the courts exceptionally poorly placed to intervene. By the time the attorneys have suited up, the advertising is often already over.
It is also by no means certain what will happen to consumer complaints if the ASASA is gone. Will the CGSO adjudicate consumer complaints relating to marketing? I think so, but the uncertainty alone won’t be good for the industry.
What can you do? The ASASA and its members have started a Save the ASASA campaign which will culminate in a fundraising drive on 25 April 2017. If you want to help, please contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.