HomeInsightsSupplier pathway of irresponsible online ads: UK Advertising Standards Authority launches investigations


The Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) has launched two projects aimed at better understanding where responsibility lies for inappropriately targeted and irresponsible online ads that breach the CAP Code.

One project uses technology to monitor the presence of ads for age-restricted products, including alcohol, gambling and foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS), on sites of particular interest to under-18s. There are rules in place that prevent these ads from being directed at children (those aged 15 and under) and young people (those aged 16 and 17) through the selection of media or the context in which the ads appear. Another project will use the same approach to monitor the presence of seriously offensive and potentially harmful ads, which the ASA knows to have appeared in mobile quiz and game apps.  This is the first time the ASA has undertaken tech-assisted monitoring in that media.

Using the findings, the ASA will undertake a number of in-depth case studies seeking to identify the parties involved in the supplier pathway of these non-compliant ads, assessing the part played by the advertiser, the publisher, and the intermediary companies that sit between them. The ASA will seek their input to better understand how the ads came to appear, and will publish its findings and assessments later in 2024 to support the delivery of its strategic commitments.

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