Advertising and sponsorship policy

This policy is intended to provide guidance on any form of advertising or sponsorship channelled through Devon County Council publications, promotional materials, events, council property or the website.

The Authority requires all advertisers to comply with the spirit of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which seek to protect consumers from unfair, misleading or aggressive marketing practices, and with the rules and guidelines laid out by the Advertising Standards Authority and uphold the rules laid out in the British Codes of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing.

Should any queries or conflicts arise they must be referred to the Marketing Manager in the first instance.

General approach

a. Devon County Council would like to attract revenue from advertising and sponsorship, wherever possible, subject to the terms defined below.

b. The Authority will work on the basic assumption is that advertising is permitted unless it falls into a number of prohibited categories, as defined in this policy.

c. This document refers to advertising on Devon County Council’s ‘properties’ as defined above.

d. Devon County Council reserve the right to refuse or withdraw advertising or sponsorship if it conflicts with current County Council policy, priorities, brand values or key messages.

Prohibited products, services and advertisers

a.The basic approach taken by the Authority is to maximise the number of advertisements and advertisers which are permitted and encouraged to advertise on Devon County Councils ‘properties’ and minimise the number that are prevented from doing so by any policy controls or restrictions.

b. Although there are some specific categories of products and services which may not be promoted on our properties, as defined below, most products and services may be promoted.

c. Private sector ‘competitors’ with services provided by Devon County Council or other public sector organisations may advertise. This policy toward ‘competitor advertising’ will however be reviewed on a quarterly basis or as required.

d. Political organisations may not advertise.

e. Gambling organisations are not considered appropriate. Advertising from those organisations which could be considered as local tourism attractions may be permitted. The only current exception would be the Race Courses at Exeter and Newton Abbott.

f. Organisations simply offering entry into a competition following completion of a form containing any personal information.

g. Advertisements where benefit is precluded from UK citizens.

h. Devon County Council will not run advertising that could be considered socially or politically contentious. Decisions on this will be at the County Council’s sole discretion.

i. In addition to the categories listed immediately below, there may also be some specific controls and policies associated with individual placements.

The specific categories of organisations, products or services which may not sponsor or advertise with the Devon County Council are as follows:

a. Types of organisations:

  • Political parties
  • Political organisations
  • Organisations that promote racism or discrimination
  • Any organisation associated with ‘adult industries’ or pornography

b. Types or products and services:

  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Gambling
  • Weaponry
  • Unhealthy foods such as sweets or junk food
  • Pornography
  • Adult content
  • Devon County Council wishes to ensure that there can be no questions as to content suitability. Therefore, any content or advertising which has an overtly sexual ‘tone’ will also be excluded

c. We will also not accept advertising or sponsorship from any organisation that is in financial or legal dispute with the council, and we will also show caution when accepting advertising or sponsorship where:

  • an organisation is in the process of a planning application;
  • an organisation who is in the process of a tender application;
  • an organisation is in conflict with local residents over a planned development in the County; and association with an organisation may conflict with the work of the council and our partners

‘Style’ and content of advertising

a. Devon County Council wishes to take an equally open approach to styles of advertising.

b. In designing and placing the advertising the advertisers must ensure that their brands do not compete with or detract from the effectiveness and integrity of the County Council’s brand.

c. Advertisers must however recognise that public sector organisations cannot permit advertising which is sexual in nature, which features partial or complete nudity, or which appears to promote or give undue publicity to illegal or even just ‘inappropriate’ behaviour or lifestyles.

d. Humour in advertising is also to be approached with caution since much humour can often mock specific groups of citizens or poke fun at particular types of behaviour or situations.

e. The Authority does not wish to take an unnecessarily strict approach and will allow ‘innocent humour’, providing there is no innuendo or subtext which might cause offence.

Behavioural targeting, cookies and privacy [internet advertising]

a. Devon County Council does not make use of cookies or any other devices which collect, store and analyse user behaviour on the Devon web site or on any other web sites in order to tailor commercial advertising on the Devon web site, even if such data could not be linked to an individual.

b. Cookies are used to gather data on a totally anonymous basis in order to monitor web site traffic (as with Google Analytics and other, ‘cookie based’ traffic monitoring tools) and to build an understanding of the possible interests of site visitors. On occasions, this information may used to provide site visitors with information about relevant services.

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