You can complain about adverts appearing in other countries (eg on non-UK websites).
The UK's Advertising Standards Authority is a member of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) along with 23 other European countries. If an advert appears in another country you can report it to the ASA and they'll pass it on to the EASA while liaising with you, thanks to their cross-border complaints arrangement, or you can also complain directly through the EASA.
I discovered this by accident when complaining about an advert for a diabetes clinic that appeared on Facebook - even though it was based in another country I reported it as it was clearly targeting a UK audience (and making misleading claims). I wasn't sure if there was much that could be done, but there was. The ASA told me they were passing it on to the regulator in that country and they kept me informed throughout - and my complaint was upheld.
The 23 European countries other than the UK are:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
There are also 7 non-European countries that have regulatory links:
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, India, New Zealand and South Africa.
Some examples of adjudications appearing on the ASA's website where the trading address isn't in the UK.
- A brochure distributed at a timeshare meeting (2011, Spain)
- A diabetes clinic (this one isn't my complaint, though same organisation) (2011, Spain)
- A magnetic 'fuel saver' (2011, France)
- Airliner claiming ecofriendliness (2010, Finland)
Consumer code | Complaint form
If advertisers don't play fair then the ASASA will take out an ad-alert.