Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

  • 16 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to a range of issues including Principles / Misleading, Promotional Marketing Practices, Substantiation / Health & Beauty, Recognisability and Nutrition and Health Claims

19th August 2021 – The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 16 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

13 of the 16 advertisements were found to have been in full breach of the ASAI Code. One of the 16 advertisements was found to have been partly in breach, one was found to have been in breach on one of two issues, and an intra industry complaint was found to be in breach on one of two issues raised.

The 16 advertisements were found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to Principles / Misleading, Promotional Marketing Practices, Substantiation / Health & Beauty, Recognisability and Nutrition and Health Claims.

The advertisements complained of related to Social Media, Direct Mail, Online (Influencer’s social media account), Online (3rd party website), National Press, Social Media (advertiser’s own page), Online (company’s own website).

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 variety of platforms, 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.”

Brian O’Gorman, 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 advertisements that have been found to be in breach of the ASAI Code:

Company/OrganisationComplaint CategoryFurther Details
  Hertz Car Sales Blarney  Principles    The complainant considered the advertisement to be offensive as they did not consider it was appropriate for anyone to laugh at another person’s car just because it was older or less valuable than a new model   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of Sections 3.3 and 3.10 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/motoring-40/  
  Bluecrest Health Screening   Principles / Misleading  The complainant objected to the mailing on the following grounds:     Issue 1:   The complainant considered that the mailing was misleading as they initially thought that it was a government led initiative as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that was aimed at older people.   Issue 2:   The complainant considered that the mailing, being aimed at older people, was preying on their fear and vulnerability around their own health during a time of a public health concern around Covid-19.   Issue 3:   The complainant did not consider that it was ethical to encourage people who were classed as vulnerable to go outside during a time when there were being asked to stay indoors.     Complaint Upheld on issues 1 2 and 3.   In breach of Sections 3.10, 3.23, 3.24(a) 4.1, and 4.4 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-screening/  
  Inglot    Misleading  The complainant objected to the Instagram story because the influencer, who was a brand ambassador for the advertisers, had not stated on every part of the story that she was a brand ambassador. The complainant also noted that while the influencer had included the required hashtag on some of the parts of the story, the hashtag was not always clear as a white background had been used.   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of sections 3.31, 3.32, 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/27176/  
  Period Doors Property Ltd  Misleading  The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading. She considered that by omitting the requirement for an additional €150 surcharge for bills the advertisers were not advertising the full amount of the rent and that this was misleading to renters and a way to ask for more rent than that advertised.   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of sections 3.10, 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/property-11/  
  Waterford City and County Council  Misleading  The complainant noted that the cost of bringing waste in a car was €20, however, when the complainant arrived at the centre with their waste in their car, they were charged €40 rather €20. As the complainant was advised that they were being charged for each bag they had in their car rather than ‘per car’ charge, the complainant considered that the advertising was misleading.   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of section 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/waste-disposal-service/  
  Linenbundle   Misleading   The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as it gave the impression that the advertisers manufactured their products in Ireland and distributed them from Ireland when in fact the complainant’s order was shipped from the UK via Royal Mail and the products delivered were labelled as being made in Israel.   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of section 4.1, 4.4 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/household-21/  
  Pure Pharmacy  Misleading  The complainant queried whether the claim was valid due to the lack of information provided. She said that when she had checked further it appeared the savings only applied to one or two medications which she did not take, and that the pharmacy she frequented charged the same.   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of sections 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-58/  
  Brentwood Coffee    Misleading / Promotional Marketing Practices  The complainant considered the competition to be misleading as it was not stated that this was an Irish competition only. The complainant was declared a winner of the competition, however, as she was not resident in Ireland, she was advised they would not post the prize to her.   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of sections 5.15(e) and 5.16 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/leisure-27/
  Kiwi Country Clothing  Misleading / Promotional Marketing Practices  The complainant said that they could not find any evidence to support the claim that the socks could “actually heal chilblains” as indicated. They enquired whether there had been any tests conducted on the product to substantiate this claim.   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 11.1 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-footwear-8/
  Lidl  Misleading / Substantiation / Health & Beauty  Issue 1:   The complainant referred to the advertised benefits indicated for the product and challenged whether the advertisers held substantiation for the claims outlined.   Issue 2:   The complainant challenged whether the light source referenced was an “environmentally friendly light source”. He considered that as the light was said to warm the salt spheres, it could not be an LED source, which would minimise power consumption.   Complaint upheld on Issues 1 and 2   In breach of Sections, 4.9 and 11.1 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/retail-supermarket-8/
  Powerball  Misleading / Substantiation / Health & Beauty  The complainant objected to the statement “Massively speeds up recovery times” as they did not believe that it could be proven, as they believed that no studies had been carried out.   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 11.1 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-5/  
  X CaraDenise X  Recognisability / Misleading / Substantiation / Nutrition and Health Claims  Issue 1:   The complainant considered the influencer was promoting the products without declaring the posts were marketing communications.   Issue 2:   The complainant also considered that the influencer has been advertising untrue benefits that arise from one’s use of these products.   Complaint Upheld on Issue 2.   In breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 8.8. 8.9, 8.10, 8.11, 8.14(f), 8.26 and 8.27 of the Code. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-59/
  Kilogarm Vintage Clothing  Misleading / Substantiation / Promotions  The complainant said the competition was for a 100-euro gift card to spend on their online clothes shop. The complainant said for Black Friday the advertisers launched a half-price sale which meant their prize would stretch a little further. They finished picking out their items and messaged the advertisers letting them know they were ready to order. They said the advertisers stated that the items would be full price and they could not avail of the discount.   Complaint Upheld.   In breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 5.15(a), and 5.35 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-footwear-7/
  Tipperary Water  Recognisability / Misleading  Issue 1:   The complainant considered that the Instagram post was misleading because it was not clear that the influencer had taken part in a paid collaboration as the term “#AD” had not been used on the post which the complainant understood was a requirement of the Code.   Issue 2:   The complainant considered that the Instagram story was misleading because it was not clear that the influencer had taken part in a paid collaboration as the use of the term “AD” appeared to be hidden.   Issue 1 Statement:   The Complaints Committee decided to issue a statement rather than a formal Decision in this case, in accordance with options under the ASAI Complaints Procedures.   Issue 2 – Complaint Upheld:   The Committee did not consider that the advertising was in compliance with Code Section 3.31 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/food-and-non-alcoholic-beverages-2/  
  KALLEVIG  Misleading / Substantiation / Promotions  The complainant considered that the countdown clock was misleading as they said the time did not run out but rolled over infinitely.     The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the countdown clock had been removed from the website, however, they considered that the continual presence of the timer as it appeared had constituted a breach of the Code.   Complaint Upheld   In breach of Code sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 5.32.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/furniture/
  Lidl   Misleading  Issue 1:   Aldi challenged the number of price drops identified in the advertising. They said that while readers had been invited to  “See in-store for even more!” that having visited some Lidl stores around the country, they could not see evidence of any permanent price drops let alone 180 identified on 17th February.   Issue 2:   Aldi said that contrary to what was claimed in the advertisement i.e.to visit Lidl’s website “for full details and lots more” they could not find any information on the permanent price drops on the website. They considered, therefore, that the advertising was misleading.   Complaint Upheld on Issue 2.   In breach of sections 4.10 of the Code.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-alternative-therapies-6/    

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

www.asai.ie

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