This issue extends our series on advertising regulation around the world with a focus on the British regulatory environment.
The British system, having been largely replicated in Europe, has become the model for the rest of the world much more so than the more limited system adopted by the Americans. Comparatively, the British system has a broader scope because it looks beyond issues of deception to include other social questions such as stereotyping and offensiveness. It is also much more attuned to consumer concerns and responds quite a lot more rapidly to the complaints of ordinary citizens. Its whole mode of operation is more public-facing, making liberal use of “name and shame” strategies.
The British and European systems have been quite proactive of late in setting constraints on digital communications. Both of the interviews here, with Angela Mills Wade of the European Publishers Council and Guy Parker of the UK Advertising Standards Authority, are focused to a great degree on the problems presented by the digital world and the steps currently being taken to protect the public, so should be of interest to readers for reasons beyond learning about different national regulatory systems.
The classic campaign, “You know when you’ve been Tango’d,” is one of the most famous in British popular culture, but is also significant because it was removed from the air out of public safety concerns, thus tying in to the theme for this issue.
We also include a review by Kimberly Sugden, of Charles R. Acland’s book Swift Advertising: The Popular Life of Subliminal Influence, a fascinating history of an ever-popular topic of public concern, subliminal advertising.