There are lots of reasons why viral marketing campaigns do not pass go when it comes to legal. It could be
copyright and trade mark infringement, passing off, defamation or any number of other reasons why the campaign would not get legal sign off.
From March there will be even more reasons for UK legal teams to say no to viral campaigns with the application of the CAP code to online space controlled by a brand including social media communities. At the cornerstone of the code is the requirement that the advertising must be legal, decent and honest. It also states that an advertisement must not mislead or offend.
Can anyone say that some of the more "edgy" viral marketing campaigns would comply with the code?
Obviously every campaign has to be looked at on a case by case basis and if the legal answer is "no" or "don't do it" then this is likely to be technically correct, but is it the commercial answer?
I am not advocating ignoring sound legal advice or breaking laws but there is a bigger commercial picture when it comes to viral and what is needed is participation, understanding and communication between legal and creative from concept on. This will help guide the creative process but also allow the account teams to manage the client's expectations.
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