The Royal rules: CAP reminds marketers of the code following the Royal baby announcement

By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

December 5, 2012 | 2 min read

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has today issued guidelines reminding advertisers what they can and cannot do in adverts, following the announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant.

The guidelines begin: “It’s never too early to start planning, so here is a reminder of the rules which apply when wanting to tie-in ads to happy tidings of the Royal kind.”

The CAP reminds advertisers that members of the Royal Family should not be shown or mentioned in marketing communications without their prior permission, and it is also against the rules to imply that a particular product is endorsed by the Royal Family, under rules 6.1 and 6.2.

“The CAP Code urges marketers to obtain written permission before implying any personal approval of the advertised product and reminds marketers that those who don’t want to be associated with the product could have a legal claim,” the guidelines advise.

It continued: “The Lord Chamberlain’s office has issued guidelines regarding the sale of souvenir products. Advertisements for souvenir products are not, in and of themselves, likely to be considered to imply a Royal endorsement, although care should be taken in the copy to ensure that the ad doesn’t imply that a souvenir product is official memorabilia. In light of rule 6.2, we would advise against using images which have been provided for souvenirs or other specific uses in marketing communications for unrelated products.

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“As always, advertisers must ensure that advertising for such products is not misleading. In October 2012 the ASA upheld a complaint against an ad for a Prince William Royal Bridegroom Porcelain Doll because the image in the ad was found not to be an accurate representation of the product and therefore breached the Code. There is no minimum number of complaints required to spark an investigation, however it’s worth noting that the popularity of such products can result in a higher level of complaints if something goes wrong as this August 2012 adjudication regarding a Royal Jubilee DVD offer shows.

“The ASA has in the past upheld complaints about advertising that implied Royal endorsement. However, the Code states that an incidental reference unconnected with the advertised product, or references to material such as a book, article or film about a member of the Royal Family, may be acceptable.”

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