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In what way should the UK CAP Codes (CAP/BCAP Codes) be reformed?

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  1. Introduction
  2. Commercial advertisers
  3. Understanding of the regulatory context is important
  4. Advertisements marketing children products
  5. CAP/BCAP Codes
  6. Conclusion

Advertising is present in all market economies and plays an essential role in our society. It is a tool for growth, innovation and competition which tries to persuade and convince the consumers.

Commercial advertisers' goal is to generate purchases and consumption of their products or services. It is a form of marketing communications used to persuade a specific well-defined, target audience (for instance teenagers, children, men or women). They try to get their messages out via either traditional media such as television, newspaper, magazines, radio or new media such as websites, text messages, social media and blogs.

In the United Kingdom, advertisements must not mislead, cause harm or offend in any way. More specifically, they must respect the CAP/BCAP codes.
Be that as it may, if consumers are misled or offended, they will not logically buy the product anymore. Incorrect advertising will cut into consumer confidence. It is in the best interest of all concerned that a good regulation is set up.
I would like to focus on a sensitive and particular subject: children. They have a specific place on the CAP/BCAP codes.

The situation varies from one country to another. In Sweden, for instance, according to Sweden's Radio and Television Act (1996), advertisement aimed at children are regarded unacceptable and is banned below the age of 12. Germany bans advertisements making a ?direct offer' to children with any links to children's programme. As far as Greece is concerned, there is a ban for toys between 7am and 10pm (Sherwin, 2011).
Some scholars consider that a ban would be a constraint for the Freedom of speech. In Spain, it is a question of democracy. In France, advertisements prepare children for future life in consumer society. It educates them about the commercial intentions of companies.

In the United Kingdom, industry expenses on targeting them have increased exponentially over the past two decades. £105 billion a year is spent on advertising aimed at children (Jilian Pitt, 2010:7). The advertisers are increasingly considering children as a huge market for product or services with the idea to create brand name preference from the early childhood. There are also considerable differences between the adult-oriented and children-oriented advertisements.

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