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Advice and Training FAQs

 

  • Question 

    About CAP

    Here are some of the most asked questions by consumers about CAP.

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  • Advice and Training Questions

    Frequently asked questions about the service we provide.

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Why do I need Copy Advice?
Which types of marketing communications can you advise me about?
Can you advise me about data protection and other statutory requirements?
My campaign includes TV or radio advertising – can you advise me about these ads too?
How quickly can you deal with my enquiry?
How much does it cost?
What if you tell me something I don’t want to hear?
How confidential is the information I give you?
Does seeking CAP Copy Advice prevent me from getting into trouble with the ASA?
What are the qualifications of the advisers?
What if I need advice out-of-hours?
How can I keep up to date?

 

Why do I need Copy Advice?

All ads in the UK, wherever they appear, must be legal, decent, honest and truthful in line with the Advertising Codes as set out by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP).

Copy Advice is a fast, free and confidential service provided by CAP to help advertisers, agencies and media owners to check that their non-broadcast ads comply with the rules before they are published. 

Getting your campaign checked by Copy Advice before it is launched will help avoid potentially costly mistakes such as ASA investigations (which take time and often involve costly legal advice), subsequent action (the change or withdrawal of an ad) and adverse publicity that can damage brand reputation.

The vast majority of our users come to us time after time because of the value of the service we provide.  However, under the Advertising Codes, CAP can also refer repeat or serious offenders to seek Copy Advice as a sanction for a period of time.

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Which types of marketing communications can you advise me about?  

Copy Advice can guide you on the content, tone and placement of any marketing communication that falls within the remit of the non-broadcast Advertising Code (CAP Code). This covers all ‘paid-for’ marketing communications, including advertorials, sales promotions, direct mail, online pop-up, banner ads, and marketing on UK based companies' own websites. See the ASA's remit page for more information. Please note that our advisers do not give legal advice.  

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Can you advise me about data protection and other statutory requirements?  

Yes, we advise on the use of personal data for direct marketing and sales promotion - mail, e-mail and SMS. We can also guide you on the delivery of mail order goods and refunds. And we can point you in the direction of other organisations that can help you further.

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My campaign includes TV or radio advertising – can you advise me about these ads too?  

Copy Advice is dedicated to providing advice on non-broadcast marketing communications that are subject to the CAP Code. Whilst our advisers can provide general guidance for multimedia campaigns, this advice is not binding and does not replace the requirement to pre-clear broadcast ads before going live. We would urge advertisers to contact the appropriate broadcast pre-clearance centre for advice and clearance: Clearcast for TV ads, and the RACC for radio ads. 

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How quickly can you deal with my enquiry?

For immediate advice you can call us on 020 7492 2100. Advisers are available Monday to Friday 9.00 am - 5.30 pm. 

If you want us to look at materials please log your enquiry via our online request form.  

We aim to respond within 24 hours and were able to deal with over 95% of enquiries in 2013 within this period, however, during busy periods it make take longer.  An express response (within four hours) is available (please see 'How much does it cost?' below for prices).

We suggest that you send us concepts early in your creative process to avoid time constraints and to spot potential pitfalls early on. We are more than happy to look at the same campaign several times as it evolves.

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How much does it cost?

Standard Copy Advice requests can be submitted free of charge via our Online enquiry form. We aim to respond within 24 hours.

Alternatively, an express 4 hour turnaround service is available at cost of £300 (£250 + VAT @20%) for advertisers, agencies and other intermediaries. This rate applies if you request an invoice. If you pay online when you submit your enquiry, you will receive a discount, reducing the cost to £204 (£170 + VAT @20%).

We also offer a website audit. A standard Audit costs £960 (£800 + VAT @20%) and takes up to 10 working days to complete. Non-standard requests that require more extensive use of our resources may be subject to an additional charge and/or additional time to complete.

We retain the discretion to charge for resource intensive enquiries. In line with Better Regulation principles, CAP's Copy Advice will take account of the needs and circumstances of smaller regulated bodies in need of help and support in agreeing an appropriate charge for non-such non-standard enquiries.

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What if you tell me something I don’t want to hear?  

You are not obliged to act upon the advice we give. But if the ASA receives complaints about your campaign and investigates, it will know if you sought advice from Copy Advice and chose not to act upon our recommendations.  Conversely if it investigates complaints about a campaign that has benefited from Copy Advice, the ASA will take this into consideration, often to positive effect.

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How confidential is the information I give you?

The information you supply is used by our advisers to ensure you are given the best advice and guidance.  A summary of your enquiry is recorded on our secure database to give a point of reference for any subsequent contacts and to be able to send you Code related updates such as new Help Notes or Advice Online entries relevant to your field of interest. It may also be accessed by the ASA if it is conducting an investigation as the result of a complaint and wants to see if the advertiser has taken steps to ensure compliance with the rules.  

Your enquiries are always kept confidential from your competitors. The only opportunity they will have to view information about your use of Copy Advice is if a complaint results in an ASA adjudication as these are published weekly on the ASA’s website.  

We operate strictly within the data protection law. If you need any further information please view our privacy policy.

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Does seeking CAP Copy Advice prevent me from getting into trouble with the ASA?  

It goes a long way towards doing just that and we know of no better way to prevent problems with the ASA.  But we cannot guarantee either that the ASA will see things exactly the same way as we do or that an ad will not provoke complaints that will be investigated by the ASA.

With more subjective issues such as taste and decency, public sensitivities change over time so the ASA might receive complaints about something that has not previously been a problem. As part of the investigation process, the ASA will check if CopyAdvice was consulted. The adviser who dealt with your enquiry will explain the potential problems that were identified and what the recommendations were for changes. If it sees that you tried to avoid provoking complaints, the ASA will bear that in mind when reaching its decision.

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What are the qualifications of the advisers?

Our advisers bring a wealth of experience ranging from law to advertising, finance, and media. They have been trained to fully understand the CAP Code and how it has been interpreted by the ASA in the past. They keep abreast of complaints made to the ASA as well as all ASA adjudications, whether or not the ASA Council upheld the complaint. It would be fair to say that no other service is better informed of the requirements and application of the non-broadcast Advertising Code than Copy Advice!

Please note: our advisers do not give legal advice.

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What if I need advice out-of-hours?

Our advisers are available 9am-6pm from Monday to Friday. If you need advice outside of these hours, this dedicated website can provide you access to a wealth of searchable information. You’ll find the most up to date versions of the CAP Code, newssubject-specific advice, and Help Notes on this website. 

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How can I keep up to date?

You can register for regular e-communications from Copy Advice, CAP and the ASA via the ‘Register’ form. We’ll keep you up to date with developments in both the broadcast and non-broadcast Advertising Codes, headline stories about key rulings, details of forthcoming training events and, importantly, any changes to the rules you need to be aware of as soon as they happen. 

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