Guidance on ASA rulings for ad mail | DMA

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Guidance on ASA rulings for ad mail


Ads must be identifiable as ads. But what if the ad comes in an envelope? Recent ASA ruling have shown that the envelope is also part of the ad. The DMA clarifies.

DMA members are very familiar with the Advertising Codes which govern advertising in the UK.

Recently an ASA adjudication led to queries from companies to both the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the DMA.

The adjudication concerned CAP rule 2.1:

"Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such"

When on the TV this is obvious, as it is on the radio and a newspaper.

For ad mail this can be less obvious. Is the envelope containing the marketing material part of the ad?

According to recent adjudications, they do.

This ruling has suprised many and CAP has issued guidance to help marketers.

While rule 2.1 does not specify that there has to be wording to make it clear the mail contains marketing, they have produced a set of three rules to follow so marketers can be sure they comply with the advertising codes:

  1. The envelope IS part of the marketing, which means this fact should be made clear on it
  2. Company logos, branding, web address or company name may not be sufficient to identify an envelope as marketing
  3. Specific wording on an envelope, such as "This is a marketing communication" or if there is no logo or other identifier then also the company name may be necessary

If DMA members have any questions they can contact the legal team at

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