UK Ad Body Cheers Ruling, Marketers Refuse Levy Payment

26 July 2004

The recent decision by media regulator Ofcom not to ban junk food advertising on children's TV [WAMN 23-Jul-04] has been applauded by the Advertising Association's Food Advertising Unit.

Praising Ofcom's report for its "considered and wide-ranging" approach, the FAU's director Jeremy Preston argues that an overhaul of adult and children's lifestyles is needed to combat childhood obesity.

The FAU also supports the regulator's finding that "obesity is a multi-faceted problem and needs a broad-based, holistic approach". It calls for the British government and advertising industry to work together in addressing the issue.

• Separately, sources close to the Incorporated Society for British Advertisers report that between 20%-30% of its membership is withholding payment for broadcast ad self-regulation.

The new policing system was approved in May this year [WAMN-18-May-04], yet many ISBA members are still refusing to pay the 0.1% voluntary TV adspend levy intended to fund the self-regulation regime scheduled to start in November.

The levy is payable to the newly created BASBOF (Broadcast Advertising Standards Board of Finance) which will fund the start-up of guidance and adjudication body the Advertising Standards Authority (Broadcast).

However, there are objections that the levy is already operational despite the fact that ASAB will not assume responsibility until November. Some marketers fear that companies running TV campaigns August through October will shoulder most the new system's set-up costs.

Among the dissidents is COI Communications, the administrative interface between the British government and its roster of advertising and marketing agencies. Although insisting it has no problem with the levy in principle, COIC calls for better communication over costs and assurance of value-for-money.

Data sourced from: and Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff