Countdown to our 50th anniversary 1965
19 July 2012
Published on the 3 May 1966, our Annual Report 1965 – 1966 reveals that during a period of history that saw a significant escalation of the Vietnam war, the Beatles perform the world’s first ever stadium rock concert and NASA launch its first ever manned space flight, all was pretty quiet at the ASA.
We received 63 individual complaints tackling weighty matters such as ads for:
• a sleeping bag, the pillow for which was not included in the price
• an estate agent whose enthusiasm for descriptive copy “outran the bounds of accuracy”
• a foreign brand of cigarettes, where the use of our national flag without qualification gave a wrong impression
We received just two complaints on the grounds of offence. Our Annual Report explained, “Of the complaints arising from matters of taste, one concerned an advertisement for a proprietary medicine which referred to a much loved singer who was dead. The advertisement was withdrawn.”
The fledgling Authority was growing up though, and in early 1966 it moved into its own premises, 5 Clement's Inn, near Aldwych. The ASA also took steps to increase public awareness of its work, a wise decision given the low number of complaints.
But the lack of complaints didn’t deter the Authority from looking more widely into advertising practices and it busied itself tackling regulatory worries about inertia selling (the practice of sending someone a product in the post without their consent, closely followed by an invoice), guarantees and comparative pricing. Although inertia selling is entirely prohibited today, guarantees
and comparative pricing
feature prominently in the current Advertising Codes with rules to ensure fair competition and consumer protection.
And, finally, times were different back then, the report revealed that the ASA had ruled that advertisements for pregnancy testing should not be accepted in the general press.
Read the 1965 – 1966 Annual report here