Radiocentre CEO Siobhan Kenny and Special Projects Director, Judith Spilsbury, will today present their case in Brussels for improving the warnings on commercial radio advertisements to better protect consumers.
Having gained support from the Plain English Campaign and the UK advertising industry, and following questions being asked in the European Parliament, Radiocentre will seek to persuade the European Commission to reconsider Article 4 of the Consumer Credit Directive 2008 as part of their deregulation programme.
Radiocentre has been asking both the UK Government and European regulators to consider a growing body of evidence which shows that the warnings which apply to financial advertisements are not effective in an audio environment.
In a letter to Radiocentre in November 2015 Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey explained that he has asked DCMS officials to consider the rules on warning messages for different types of financial advertising and to work with Radiocentre on possible options.
Steve Jenner, media spokesman of the Plain English Campaign, said: “The Plain English Campaign applauds Radiocentre in taking this stand. This is a particularly annoying and intrusive form of gobbledygook. Good intentions aren’t enough when making policy to protect consumers. If terms and conditions are not clear and are not fit for purpose, they might as well not be there at all. They advise and protect no-one. We hope this initiative leads to real change in policy – and eventually, what commercial radio listeners hear.”
Radiocentre, as well as the Association of European Radio Operators (of which Radiocentre is a member), have met with the European Commission to discuss their concerns and made a submission to the Commission’s new REFIT platform which looks at ways to improve EU legislation.
The Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, Daniel Dalton, has raised concerns about the Consumer Credit Directive and radio advertising in a written question to the European Commission and is still awaiting a response.
Tim Lefroy, Chief Executive of the UK Advertising Association, said: “Better regulation suggests the rules should work best for the consumer. A mass of legal qualification – whether written or recited – isn’t doing that any more, and there’s a big opportunity for regulators to ask industry for a simple alternative.”
Ian Twinn, from the UK advertiser body, ISBA, said: “The present rules simply fail consumers and business. Getting the message across to consumers is made doubly difficult by mandating long legalese. Advertisers should be able to rotate short and impactful wording so that consumers are less likely to ignore the advice.”