Insights Committees of Advertising publish new guidance on racial and ethnic stereotypes in ads


CAP and BCAP have published new guidance advising marketers on how to avoid racial and ethnic stereotypes that are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence in advertising. It provides further clarity and detail on factors the ASA is likely to consider when assessing complaints, drawing on learnings from its own research.

In 2020, the ASA undertook further research to establish whether, and if so to what extent, racial and ethnic stereotypes featured in ads may contribute to real-world harms. The new guidance draws on the conclusions of that research to set out a more detailed framework of principles describing specific stereotypes identified as having the potential to cause harm, and which would therefore be likely to breach rules on social responsibility.

CAP and BCAP say that they recognise that ads rarely set out to include harmful racial or ethnic stereotypes or cause serious or widespread offence. The ASA will consider an ad’s likely impact when taken as a whole and in context to determine whether it portrays a racial or ethnic stereotype likely to breach the rules. To read the Committees’ press release in full and for a link to the new guidance, click here.