David Currie takes over Chairmanship of Advertising Standards Authority

Laura Rutkowski

Lord David Currie of Marylebone is the new Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Currie takes the reigns of the 55 year-old regulator as it continues to pursue its strategy of proactively tackling irresponsible advertising. In the first half of 2017, 3,034 ads were changed or withdrawn (up 88% compared to the same period in 2016).

An accomplished regulator, Currie acted as the inaugural Chairman of both Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority. He sits in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher. 

As Chairman, he will lead the 13-member ASA Council, Board of the ASA and the body that rules on whether to uphold complaints about ads.  Over the first six months of 2017, the ASA processed 13,131 complaints about 9,487 ads, with 11% more cases resolved compared to the same period in 2016.

The ASA Council also oversees much of the regulator’s proactive work, with recent initiatives including: tougher standards on broadband prices in ads to ensure consumers aren’t misled; research into how consumers understand “was” and “now” prices to establish whether more needs to be done to avoid them feeling misled; and a commitment in 2018 to new standards that will remove harmful gender stereotypes in ads.

David Currie takes over the Chairmanship of the Regulator following the decade-long leadership of former Cabinet Minister Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury. During that period, the ASA handled 294,000 complaints from consumers about 167,000 ads; secured the amendment or withdrawal of 35,000 ads; and delivered over 1,273,000 pieces of training to advertisers on the ad rules.

Over that same period, the ASA extended its remit to cover ads on companies’ own websites and social media platforms.  In the five years since that change, regulation of those ads has come to account for nearly half of the ASA’s regulation and one in three of all cases resolved.

David Currie commented on the role of the ASA and his new position: “The vast majority of ads in the UK are responsible, but where an ad is misleading, harmful or offensive, the ASA is here to put it right.  As I take up the Chairmanship of the ASA, newer forms of online advertising continue to gain ground, including native and influencer ads and those that target consumers’ preferences. 

“Across all of these spheres, as well as in the traditional media, the ASA’s mission remains the same – to make every UK ad a responsible ad”, he continued.

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