Native Advertising in UK Newspapers: Departmental Spending

Part of Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 25th March 2021.

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Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution)

In relation to these native adverts regarding the so-called benefits of Brexit, the Advertising Standards Authority says that

“Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such” and that marketers—in this case, the UK Government

“must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications”.

Some newspapers do say “Ad features sponsored by the UK Government.” Others say, “in conjunction” or “in association”, which is less clear. Many simply say “sponsored” but not who by, and at least one newspaper describes the UK Government—the marketer—as a “contributor”. Why have the Government, as the marketer, chosen to flout the ASA code in this way?