Advertising responsibly during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Advertising responsibly during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Commercial analysis: Katrina Anderson, associate at Osborne Clarke, discusses what advertisers should do to ensure their promotional materials related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are not misleading, socially irresponsible or aggressive. She also considers what advertisers should take into account in respect of stock availability and how regulators such as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have responded to the situation.

Why is it important for advertisers to consider situational vulnerability in the context of their target audience?

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTR 2008), SI 2008/1277 say that we need to consider how the average consumer would respond to the advert. When the target audience of the advert has a known vulnerability, this needs to be taken into account. The ASA has said that consumers may be situationally vulnerable as a result of coronavirus, for example, because they are bored and lonely or anxious about their health. This ‘situational vulnerability’ needs to be taken into account when assessing if the advert complies with the CPUTR 2008, SI 2008/1277 and advertising codes (ie the CAP Code and

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