1. Advertising self-regulation means the strict adherence by the advertising industry to standards drawn up by and on behalf of all advertising interests. It involves the enforcement of those standards through the commitment and cooperation of advertisers, agencies and media.
2. The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) is the independent self-regulatory body set up and financed by the advertising industry and committed to promoting and enforcing the highest standards of marketing communications, that is, advertising, promotional marketing and direct marketing, in the public interest.
3. Commercial marketing communications in the media and sales promotions should be legal, decent, honest and truthful. The rules to ensure this are set out in the Code of Standards for Advertising, Promotional and Direct Marketing in Ireland (6th Edition), (the Code), drawn up by the Board of the ASAI following detailed consultation with all relevant interests, including advertisers, agencies and media, the public, consumer representatives and Government Departments.
4. Primary responsibility for observing the Code rests with advertisers, promoters and direct marketers. Others involved in the preparation and publication of marketing communications and in the design and execution of mail order operations and sales promotions also have an obligation to adhere to the Code. It is a condition of membership of the ASAI that a Member will not knowingly or recklessly publish a marketing communication or undertake a promotion that does not comply with Code requirements.
5. The role of the media is of particular importance in checking and deciding on the acceptability of marketing communications under the Code. The fact that a marketing communication conforms to the Code is not, however, a guarantee that it will be accepted.While the media will refuse to publish a marketing communication which contravenes the Code, they are under no obligation to publish every marketing communication offered.
6. All relevant parties are encouraged and recommended to include in their contracts, other agreements and arrangements, and in their standard and/or published terms and conditions pertaining to advertising and other marketing communications, a statement, term or condition indicating that the provisions of the Code and, in particular (but without limitation), any decisions, adjudications or rulings made by the Authority, the Board, the Complaints Committee, the Secretariat or any officer of the Authority, will be adhered to.
7. The ASAI is concerned with the content of commercial marketing communications in the media and with the design and execution of sales promotions. The Code is not concerned with whether a marketing communication or promotion is otherwise good or effective. Outside of the matters dealt with in the Code, the ASAI does not concern itself with, nor does it presume to judge, for example, whether something ought to be bought or is good value at the price, nor is it involved in the regulation of terms of business.
8. The ASAI has no mandate to act as a censor or an arbiter of public morals. In assessing complaints involving considerations of decency and propriety, it is guided by the standards that are observed generally throughout Irish society.
9. The Code is administered primarily in the interests of consumers.
Copy Advice Service
10. Advertisers, agencies, media and promoters can obtain copy advice from the ASAI on whether a proposed marketing communication or sales promotion conforms to the Code. This advice is communicated confidentially, is non-binding and is also given free of charge. It is not definitive advice as to whether or not a proposed marketing communication or sales promotion would, if complained about, lead to a finding by the Complaints Committee that it did not conform to the Code. Rather, it is an authoritative opinion, given by the Secretariat, which does not bind the ASAI Complaints Committee.
11. The ASAI will be in no way liable for any consequences which flow from a decision to heed or ignore copy advice provided by the Secretariat.
12. There may be occasions when a media owner is concerned that a proposed marketing communication which is not subject to the Code may cause offence. The Secretariat will, on request, give informal advice in such cases.