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Published on March 24th, 2007 | by Simon Wakeman


Playing by the rules in marketing and public relations

I was talking with one of my team last week about what rules and regulations apply to marketing and public relations.

What struck me during the conversation was that, while marketing and public relations aren’t regulated in the sense that financial services is regulated, there are a fair few laws, codes and standards that we have to keep the right side of.

So I’ve created a list of the ones that apply to me in my current roles – bear in mind I’m a marketing and public relations practitioner based in the UK, so I’ve tried to identify those relevant to me:

Professional bodies
These codes are binding if you choose to be a member of these organisations, which I do. Other professional organisations such as IABC, DMA or IDM have similar codes for members.

Industry codes
The most important ones for me here are run by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), which is the advertising industry’s self-regulation body.

While ASA has several different codes, the three that I have to pay most attention to are:

I’m sure there are many laws of the land that I comply with daily without realising it. However the two pieces of legislation that I most often have to refer to and advise on are:

My main employer, Medway Council, also has a strict code for communicators to adhere to. It’s pretty typical of the restrictions that many public sector communicators work under,

On reflection there are more regulations and standards that I’m meant to stick to than I’d realised. I’m sure that nothing I do contravenes any of these standards, but can I honestly say I know the content of all the above rules inside out?

The answer is a very definite no. However ignorance is no defence so I’m going to take some time to read through all these rules again.

Thankfully marketing and public relations aren’t professions that are tightly controlled by rules. If they were I don’t think working in this area would be half as much fun.

Good professional training, career experience and a bit of common sense are usually all that is needed to keep things legal.

This article originally appeared on Simon Wakeman’s communications, marketing and public relations blog at


About the Author

I write on my blog about all kinds of things. Mostly it's focussed on communications, marketing and digital stuff - as that's what I spend my days doing and evenings thinking about. But sometimes I'll cover running, mountain biking, road biking or geeky gadgets too.

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  • About Simon

    Simon WakemanSimon is Agency Director at digital agency Deeson and writes for the agency blog on all things digital.

    He’s a CIPR and CIM qualified digital, communications and marketing professional with experience working across the full communications mix in the public and private sectors.

    Outside work he enjoys running, road cycling, mountain biking, caravanning and generally being outdoors. Simon is married with two children, has two energetic dogs and lives near Canterbury, Kent.

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