Do you understand the implications of the act for the communications industry, and more so, for your clients?
What you need to know is as follows, from an overview by Rosalind Lake, attorney at Deneys Reitz:
There is also a distinct focus throughout the act on clear and understandable language and ensuring that the consumer is not misled by suppliers.
While the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) code may already cover many of these areas, the consumer now has a big stick: “the consumer may hold at their whim any or all persons in the supply chain liable for damages...”, as described by experts at Hahn & Hahn Law. (And by the way, a consumer doesn't actually have to buy your product: they can complain even if it's on shelf and it offends them.)
Thus, marketers now are exposed to substantial legal and financial risk, over and above being rapped on the knuckles by the ASA for breach of the code.
From what I can see, the professional marketing community is on top of this legislation and its consequences.
Communication agencies, whether advertising, packaging design, PR, digital - whatever - need to be working closely with their clients on their brand claims and promises, their advertising messaging, the copy on their packaging.
They should also be chatting to a friendly attorney who understands this stuff (I'm just the messenger) and buttoning down their role in this act. The Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) says it has sent out quite a bit of information to its members and is running a workshop on the Act. Professor Delport is also available to members for one-on-one queries through the ACA's advisory services.
The communication agency is a key part of the supply chain of information from manufacturer to consumer, so this knowledge is critical, for all disciplines in the agency, from management and account management, to strategy and, very importantly, creative, in developing claims and ad campaigns that may keep your client out of trouble.
If it can mislead, you could be putting yourself and your client, at risk.
Read a copy of the act at Consumer Protection Act.