Read the small print? Make sure you can…

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that small print on advertising posters should be clearly visible to a normally sighted person reading the marketing communication once from a reasonable distance and at a reasonable speed. The ASA ruling related to PlusNet, the broadband provider, advertising low cost broadband, with small print at the bottom of the poster limiting the qualifying criteria. Although PlusNet said that the print was in 132 point size, the ASA noted that the poster was on the back of a bus and unable to be read by the complainant. The ASA ruled that the poster should not appear again in its current form.

The CAP Code is a code of practice governing the content of adverts and marketing communications. It is administered by the ASA. Although the Code does not have legal force, it is best practice to comply with it, as failure to do so can result in bad publicity and ultimately an inability to obtain advertising space. The CAP Code does not specify a minimum size of font for the small print on such advertising posters, so this ruling is useful guidance to advertisers. Advertisers should err on the side of caution and ensure that the small print on poster is larger rather than smaller.