Too close for comfort – A look into the Advertising Standards Authority and the case for more controls on advertising.

Front cover of the ASA report: Too close for comfort - A look into the Advertising Standards Authority and the case for more controls on advertising

This hard-hitting report by Adfree Cities analyses data on complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), revealing that only 22% of complained-about adverts are investigated and only 2% upheld. The ASA’s rules are set by ad industry insiders.

We make the case for an independent regulator that is transparent, involves the public in decision making, and can enforce stronger rules – e.g. on the environmental impact of adverts.

Watch the 60-second video

Watch the Webinar

Watch the webinar: ‘Junk food, fossil fuels and consumerism – how can we stop manipulative advertising?’
Recorded from a live session on 14th April 2021.

00:00 mins – Why the advertising regulator is failing to regulate. (Speaker: Carla Denyer, Policy & Press Coordinator at Adfree Cities)
10:01 mins – How new advertising codes against gender stereotyping were implemented following huge public outcry about body-shaming adverts in 2016 (Speaker: Robbie Gillett, Director at Adfree Cities)
15:56 mins – Fossil fuel company advertising: why the ASA is missing the big picture on fossil fuel adverts. (Speaker: Clemens Kaupa, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
28:10 mins – Plus: why some campaigners are bypassing the ASA to tackle misleading advertising by major polluters like BP and Shell.
36:00 mins – Junk food advertising: is the ASA doing enough? (Speaker: Fran Bernhardt, Childrens Food Campaign)

Read more

Read the article: ‘New report exposes failures of advertising regulator

See our working

Statistics in the report are calculated based on information in the ASA’s annual reports 2009 to 2019, available here.

For more details about our working see the spreadsheet here.