Countdown to our 50th anniversary: 1991
7 September 2012
Our 27th Annual Report looks back on the events of 1991 and we pay tribute to the achievements of British women, with Helen Sharman becoming the first British astronaut in history, and Stella Rimington taking on the position of first female Director-General of MI5.
1991 also marked the first year in office for the new ASA Chairman the Rt Hon Timothy Raison MP, who paid tribute to the on-going support of the ad industry in committing to comply with ASA rulings and the funding of the system. The ad campaigns we had undertaken in previous years to raise our profile amongst consumers meant our complaint numbers topped the 10,000 mark for the first time. As a point of comparison, our complaint numbers reached 31,000 in 2011.
We also announced the result of some compliance work we’d undertaken, using a snapshot of ads appearing in national newspapers (UK dailies and Sundays) across a two-week period to check standards weren’t slipping. From 31 publications, we counted 35,000 display and semi-display ads. After some close analysis, we found that between 0.2% and 9.6% of the total for each title were open to dispute on their compliance with the Code.
The particular problem areas included unacceptable health and slimming claims, important conditions of promotional offers which were either absent or unclear, and overemphasis on speed and power in car advertisements.
Following the survey, we met with newspaper publishers to alert them to some of the problems, and improve their understanding of the CAP Code, to avoid large numbers of breaches in the future.
The previous year’s Annual Report had considered the rise in environmental claims in advertising, with the bases for claims often unclear for consumers. A two-year monitoring survey published in 1991 revealed an improving responsibility amongst advertisers with respect to these claims, with the report suggesting that a more informed public had positively influenced the attitude of the advertising industry.
In 1991 we also put the spotlight on charity advertising, producing an editorial entitled “All in a Good Cause” which we published in a January case report. It warned that charities risked undermining the public’s goodwill by being overly reliant on shocking and distressing images. 21 years on, our most recent research also suggests that charities may be sailing too close to the wind.
View the 1991 Annual Report here.