Countdown to our 50th anniversary: 1975 – 76
10 August 2012
The year was 1975 and as British society was both rocked and amused by the release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the launch of Fawlty Towers, advertising regulation was far from farcical.
The ASA was responding seriously to the call from the Rt Hon Shirley Williams MP at the Advertising Association’s 1974 conference to make itself more widely known to the public, and to be seen to be working in the public interest. For the first time, we embarked on our own ad campaign.
The ads featured a large tick as a promotional feature for the ASA. The tick eventually became the ASA logo and our current red tick logo is a refreshed version of the one featuring in this campaign.
The results of the campaign were a strong success by any measure, with letters of complaint from members of the public rising eightfold from 516 in 1974-75 to 4,086 in 1975-76. National research indicated that awareness of the ASA amongst the public rose from 17% prior to the campaign, to 28% in its aftermath.
The advertising campaign was also supported and followed up by a programme of talks and visits undertaken by ASA and CAP staff to trading standards offices, consumer advice centres and schools and polytechnic colleges, showing that then, as now, consumer protection was at the heart of our work.
Interestingly, the ASA’s 13th Annual Report provides a breakdown of the case reports which were published throughout the year, and the product categories that they related to. One of those is listed as “computer dating”.
In the days before the internet, or even widespread computer ownership, it is not clear what this complaint could relate to, and just how people may have been using computers to facilitate their dating opportunities.
View the 1975-1976 Annual Report here.