PR industry slams ASA for 'ambiguity' in proposal to regulate online marketing

The PR industry has slammed the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for the 'ambiguity' in its proposal to regulate online marketing and advertising.

Ignored PR industry: ASA
Ignored PR industry: ASA
Industry insiders pointed to a lack of clear definition of online advertising and editorial in the proposal, blaming it on the lack of consultation with industry bodies the PRCA and CIPR.

Katy Howell, MD, Immediate Future said: 'The problem with the statement is in its ambiguity.

'The minute the ASA starts setting the code of conduct for other disciplines such as PR is when problems will arise.'

Stephen Waddington, MD, Speed added: 'The ASA is fighting on our turf. It is well intentioned but hasn't consulted the PR industry.

'The main problem is that the definitions between advertising and editorial in the social media space are not clear.'

The CIPR issued a statement this week explaining its 'concerns' over the way the proposal had been put together.

The statement read: 'Any definition of advertising should be scoped so as to avoid censoring the ability of citizens and consumers to enjoy the free online dialogue they have come to expect.'

It continued: 'Given the significance these proposed changes will have for public relations, marketing and social media professionals, the CIPR believes that the ASA should be working with the CIPR to develop fair
and workable regulations.'

Francis Ingham, director general, PRCA believes that the PR industry has been ignored but needs to develop a dialogue with the ASA.

He said: 'I don't think megaphone diplomacy works in these circumstances, it's more about speaking with people directly.

'The ASA has issues these intentions without consulting the PR industry. We feel the most sensible thing to do now is to sit down and explain why it is wrong.'

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