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CAP updates its remit to exclude ads appearing unlawfully in public places

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United Kingdom

An update to the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing ('CAP Code') clarifies that marketing which appears unlawfully in public places falls outside of the Committee of Advertising Practice's ('CAP') scope.

An update to the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing ('CAP Code') clarifies that marketing which appears unlawfully in public places falls outside of the Committee of Advertising Practice's ('CAP') scope.

What's changed?

Currently, the CAP Code applies to posters and other promotional media in public places, including moving images, but does not apply to flyposting. Flyposting is the act of distributing posters or flyers as a form of marketing, and is often done illegally (because it is placed on property without the consent of its owner).

Flyposting falls outside the remit of the CAP Code because advertising that appears unlawfully can never be responsible and it is therefore unnecessary to apply the code. When CAP receives complaints about flyposting, the appropriate action has been to refer the complaint to the relevant enforcement body, usually the local trading standards authority.

The updated CAP Code sees the reference to flyposting removed, with the code instead clarifying that it applies to:

"posters and other promotional media in public places, including moving images, except where they appear unlawfully".

Why was it changed?

As noted above, the motivation for flyposting falling outside of the scope of the CAP Code was that such activities are often illegal and so are more appropriately dealt with by other enforcement bodies, and because illegal activity would never be responsible under the Cap Code.

With advances in technology meaning there are now a host of other methods by which marketers could illegally advertise outside the traditional poster or flyer, it makes sense that CAP applies the same logic to such other illegal practices. By way of example, the new definition would include advertising projected with light onto a building without the building owner's permission.

The new wording therefore clarifies that complaints about any form of illegal advertising will not fall within the scope of the CAP Code and will instead be referred to the relevant enforcement body.

For more information on this topic, please contact Sonal Patel Oliva or your usual contact within Fieldfisher's Brand Development Team.

Co-authored by Alex Harbin.

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