Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

  • 5 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Misleading/Recognisability, Substantiation, Promotional Marketing Practices and Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Infant and Follow-on Formula

30th September 2020 – The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 6 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

5 of the advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to Misleading/Recognisability, Substantiation, Promotional Marketing Practices and Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Infant and Follow-on Formula. The advertisements complained of related to the Internet – and in particular, social media.

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 online platforms, in particular social media, and demonstrates how we ensure that ads in Ireland stick to the advertising rules. 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, through its adjudications, 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
  EJ Menswear     Misleading / Recognisability     The complainant considered that the posts were the result of a collaboration between the brand and the influencer and that they had not been disclosed as such in the story. They therefore considered there was insufficient transparency in the marketing communications.   In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 3.31 and 3.32 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-6/  
    JD Sports      Misleading / Recognisability     The complainant considered that the posts indicated a commercial relationship between the influencer and the brand which was not disclosed so therefore felt the posts were misleading.   In breach of section 4.1, 4.4, 3.31 and 3.32 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-7/  
  ASOS   Misleading / Substantiation   The complainant considered the posts to be misleading as they implied specific ASOS products had been used to create the looks featured. However, the original posts showed that the actual products used were not those tagged by the brand. The complainant therefore believed that customers may purchase products from ASOS expecting similar results to those featured in the posts.     In breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/beauty/  
  Healthwise Pharmacy Group   Misleading/Promotional Marketing Practices   Issue 1: The complainant said that the competition did not appear to have any terms and conditions attached to it other than the requirement to like, share and tag on every post between the relevant dates. He said that, furthermore, there had been no mention of a closing date for entry to the competition   Issue 2: The complainant said that all the social media platforms where the competition featured had not been mentioned.   Issue 3: The complainant queried whether the winners to the competition had met all the requirements of entry, that all posts had to be liked, shared and tagged. A random selection of posts by him had revealed that only three winners should have been eligible for their prize via Facebook. In addition to this he considered that there was only one eligible entrant on Instagram   Issue 4: The complainant also queried whether there had been an independent observer present when the draw was conducted   In breach of section 5.30(a) and 4.1, 4.4, and 4.5 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld in part.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/competition-5/  
  Boots Retail Ireland Limited   Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages / Infant and Follow-on Formula   Two complaints were received concerning the post. Both complainants objected to the advertising for Stage One Infant Formula as they considered it to be against regulations to do so.   In breach of section 8.31 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/food-non-alcoholic-beverages-4/  

The ASAI did not uphold one complaint made by Intra Industry / Interested Parties in the following case:

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Eir   Misleading /Substantiation /Promotions   Two complaints were received regarding the advertising. Vodafone referred to advertising being run by eir and “GoMo”, which they said were trading names of eircom Limited.   Issue 1: GoMo Offer They considered the ‘for life’ offer to be an absolute claim and not qualified in any respect. They said the claim said that the offer was available ‘for life’, which, to the average consumer, suggested that the service itself would always be available at a price point of €9.99 for the duration of either the consumer’s lifetime, or the brand’s lifetime.   Issue 2: eir offer They considered the offer advertised as available ‘for life’ and ‘forever’ to be an absolute claim made by eir. They considered the advertising to consumers claimed the offer was available ‘for life’, which to the average consumer, suggested that the service itself would always be available at the agreed price point for the duration of either the consumer’s lifetime, or the brand’s lifetime.   Complaint Not Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-80/  

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

Or follow the ASAI on Twitter @THE_ASAI

For further information, please contact:

Breda Brown / Clodagh Foley

Unique Media

Tel: 01 5225200 / 085 865 8019 (CF)

Editorial Notes:

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland is financed by the advertising industry and committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications that is advertising, promotional marketing and direct marketing. The objective is to ensure that all commercial marketing communications are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’.

Media are required to abide by the Code and not to publish an advertisement or conduct a promotion which contravenes Code rules. The Code covers commercial marketing communications and sales promotions in all media in Ireland including digital (online banners, websites and social platforms), print, outdoor, radio, TV, leaflets/brochures, and direct marketing.

Further information on advertising self-regulation, the ASAI and the operation

of the system is available at www.asai.ie

-Ends-