Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

  • 8 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Misleading Advertising, Recognisability, Principals, Substantiation/Health

22 June 2020 – The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 10 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

8 of the 10 advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to Misleading Advertising, Recognisability, Principals, and Substantiation/Health. The advertisements complained of related to National and Regional Press, Television, Online, Radio and Print advertising. One of those upheld related to intra industry / interested party complaints. The ASAI Complaints Committee chose not to uphold one consumer complaint and one interested party complaint.

The Complaints Committee is a completely independent arm of the ASAI and is responsible for considering and adjudicating on complaints submitted by the public, by an organisation, by a Government Department or any other person or body. The Committee is made up of a range of experts from the advertising, media, education, consumer and marketing sectors. See further details here – http://www.asai.ie/about-us/complaints-committee

Commenting on the latest ASAI rulings, Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the ASAI, stated:

“The latest complaints bulletin from the ASAI illustrates our ability to handle complaints across a large number of mediums. The main role of advertising self-regulatory organisations (SROs), such as the ASAI, is to ensure that ads and other marketing communications are legal, truthful, decent and honest, prepared with a sense of social responsibility to the consumer and society and with proper respect for the principles of fair competition.”

“The ASAI is committed to protecting society in relation to advertising across all mediums. Self-regulatory ad standards provide an additional layer of consumer protection which complements legislative controls and offers an easily accessible means of resolving disputes.”

“The ASAI provide a free and confidential copy advice service to the advertising industry to help them create responsible ads. If an advertiser, agency or medium has any concerns about a marketing communications’ compliance with the ASAI’s Code, they can contact us and avail of the free and confidential copy advice service.”

Professor Bairbre Redmond, Independent Head of the Complaints Committee of the ASAI, says:

“Over the past few years, the Complaints Committee, comprised of independent and industry members, has dealt with a broad range of complaints. The Complaints Committee has also spent considerable time highlighting awareness in relation to advertising best practice within the advertising industry, ensuring all relevant parties are equipped with the knowledge and resources to correctly identify commercial marketing content across their platforms.”

Below is a list of complaints that have been found to be in breach of the ASAI Code:

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Marian Nurseries     Misleading/ Substantiation/Health   The complainant, who considered that the advertisement was misleading, said there was no medical evidence to support the claims that the roses grown at the nursery were a cure for colds and flu or that they might be an effective protection from COVID-19. They considered that the advertisements could entice people with genuine concerns about COVID-19 into buying the product.   In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4 and 11.1 of the code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/20025/  
    Robin Hill Sanctuary     Substantiation/Health   Three complaints were received concerning the advertisement.   Issue 1: All three complainants considered the advertising to be misleading and queried how it could help to build resistance to the COVID-19 virus. One complainant said that there was no research provided in relation to the claims made.   Issue 2: One complainant also considered that the advertising had preyed on vulnerable and scared people.   In breach of section 11.1 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld in part.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-alternative-therapies/  
  Galway Advertiser   Recognisability   The ASAI executive challenged the articles’ compliance with the Code as they noted that the articles appeared to be marketing communications that had not been disclosed with appropriate disclaimers.   In breach of sections 3.31 and 3.32 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-50/  
  Renault Ireland   Principles   Thirteen complaints were received objecting to the advertisement on the following grounds:   Issue 1: Complainants considered that the image of the driver appearing to urinate in public was offensive.   Issue 2: Complainants considered that the advertisement was normalising urinating in public, particularly to children, and was subjecting children to unsuitable imagery.   In breach of section 3.3 and 3.20 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld in part.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/motoring-35/
  Musgraves   Misleading/ Substantiation   The complainant considered the advertisement to be in breach of the Code as he visited four stores looking for an item which had been advertised as part of the half-price sale, and none of the stores visited had the item in stock.   In breach of sections 4.1 and 4.10 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/household-18/  
  Viagogo   Misleading/ Substantiation   The complainant said that the capacity of the venue in question was 14,500 and that less than 1% of tickets would equate to less than 145 tickets, not 212 as stated. They therefore considered the advertisement to be misleading.   In breach of sections 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/leisure-24/  
  Maximum Media – Joe.ie    Recognisability   The complainant said that the advertisement had not been in keeping with the ASAI’s guidelines on the Recognisability of Marketing Communications as it had not been identified as advertising material.     In breach of sections 3.31 and 3.32 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/employment-opportunities-3/

The ASAI upheld one complaint made by Intra Industry / Interested Parties in the following case:

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Carrolls Irish Gifts   Misleading /Substantiation   A complaint was received from Donegal Socks, who felt it was untrue that the product was ‘Made in Co. Donegal, Ireland’ as claimed. They also queried whether the product was made in Ireland at all. The complainants said that they were the sole manufacturer of Donegal Socks and that the advertisement was therefore misleading and detrimental to their own business.   In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-5/  

The following complaint was investigated and following investigation, the ASAI Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaint.

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Paddy Power Betfair    Principals   Five complaints were received regarding the advertising. All complainants considered that the advertising was offensive on the grounds that it was racist against English people.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/betting-bookmakers-2/  

The following complaint, issued by an Intra Industry / Interested Party was investigated and following investigation, the ASAI Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaint.

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Four Star Pizza   Misleading   The Irish Heart Foundation objected to the post. They said that a teenager had received the targeted advertising on their phone which had created a sense of urgency by deliberately using products and language popular with young people to promote the consumption of pizza. They considered the post to be irresponsible given the problem surrounding childhood obesity.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/food-14/

The ASAI conducts ongoing monitoring of advertising across all media and since 2007, has examined over 27,000 advertisements, with an overall compliance rate of 98 per cent. The ASAI Monitoring Service monitors compliance with the Complaints Committee’s adjudications.

Media members are reminded that advertisements found to be in breach of the Code cannot be accepted for publication.

www.asai.ie

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