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Legal, decent, honest, truthful over 35 years, the principles of the advertising industry's watchdog have meant different things to different sections of society. In the tug of war between tile advertiser and the consumer, the moral and the meaningful message, can the Advertising Standards Authority continue to keep its grip?
The Advertising Standards Authority celebrates its 35th anniversary this week. As it enters middle age, the watchdog is under attack as never before - accused by some of being an aggressive beast that savages business freedoms while others, the Consumer's Association in particular, view it as the toothless pet of commercial interests.
Director-general Matti Alderson rejects talk of a mid-life crisis at the ASA. "We are in no doubt about what we are, what our role is and where we are going," she says. "The fact that we are getting so much flak from both sides …