Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

15 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to

Misleading Advertising, Promotion and Recognisability

 

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 20 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

15 of the 20 advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Misleading Advertising, Recognisability, Promotion, Portrayal of Person, Decency & Propriety and Health & Beauty. The advertisements complained of related to Internet, Social Media, Online, SMS and Radio advertising. Neither of the two complaints relating to intra-industry / interested parties were upheld. The ASAI Complaints Committee chose not to uphold a further three consumer complaints.

The Complaints Committee is a completely independent arm of the ASAI and is responsible for considering and dealing with complaints submitted by the public, by a member of the ASAI, by a Government Department or any other person or body of persons. 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 last complaints bulletin of 2018 once again highlights our ability to handle complaints across a large number of mediums.  In particular, the ASAI has seen significant growth in the area of influencer marketing in recent years. Bloggers and those who carry significant influence on social media are becoming increasingly more prevalent within the world of advertising. However, it is essential that bloggers observe the ASAI Code and recognise their responsibilities both to their audiences, to consumers and to society.  

In 2019, alongside our counterparts throughout Europe, the ASAI will engage in further proactive monitoring of online and digital activity, as we strive to look to protect consumers and their needs. 

The ASAI is committed to protecting consumers in relation to advertising – across all mediums – and our approach is to work with all advertisers to ultimately ensure that all marketing communications are legal, truthful, decent and honest.” 

To facilitate this, it is worth highlighting that the ASAI also provide a free and confidential copy advice service to advertisers, including influencers, agencies and media members to help them create responsible ads, and we would encourage all to use this 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
 

Lar Corbett’s & Coppingers

 

Principles/Misleading

The complainant had two issues with the poster. She felt it was promoting alcohol in a way that could be harmful and as a Catholic, she was highly offended by the picture depicting Jesus Christ

holding a pint.

 

In breach of section 2.4(c), 3.3, 3.10, 3.16, 3.17and 9.4 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/alcohol-22/

 

 

Leadworld

 

Principles/Misleading

The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading as the advertisements claimed she had won the voucher. She went on the website to claim her voucher but had to fill in a questionnaire and agree to be contacted by other advertisers in order to be entered into the draw.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/leisure-15/

 

 

Centurion Stone

 

Principles/Misleading

The complainant considered the pricing in the advertisement to be misleading. It stated that a variety of items were advertised at prices such as €8 and €12. He said he was interested in buying several of them and rang the advertisers to confirm the items were still in stock. The complainant then drove 100km to collect the items and was advised they would cost him €20 each.

 

In breach of section 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.27 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/building-materials/

 

Anne Darcy Clinic

 

Principles/Misleading

The complainant queried whether naturopathy could help with all the diseases listed in the advertising and whether there was substantiation available for the claims made. He considered, for example, that there was no treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome and also considered that naturopathy had no scientific basis.

In breach of sections 2.4(c), 11.1 and 11.5 of the code

Complaint Upheld

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-30/

 

 

Dealz

 

Decency and Propriety

The complainant considered that the ‘Harry the Hunk’ advertisements objectified man’s body in an unnecessary way which had no connection to the products that were being sold. He felt this type of advertisement would not be allowed if it featured a woman in her underwear advertising the same products. He said the advertisements for cleaning products could have been viewed by anyone on the advertiser’s website, including children.

 

In breach of sections 3.18 and 3.20 of the code

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/cleaning-products/

 

Dominique Nugent

 

Recognisability

The complainant said that the posts in question had not been identified as advertising material. The two ‘swipe up’ links provided brought the viewer through to the ‘reward style platform’ where the clothes in the advertisement were available to purchase. The complainant said the advertising should have been has tagged with affiliate links i.e #AF to ensure consumers were aware that the material which they were viewing was in fact advertising material.

 

In breach of section 3.31 and 3.32 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-footwear/

 

Faces By Grace

 

Recognisability

The complainant said that the posts in question had not been identified as advertising material. She said that some of the posts should have been identified as having reward style affiliate links and this had not been the case in this instance.

 

In breach of sections 3.31 and 3.32 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-adult/

 

Midnight Limo

 

Portrayal of Person

The complainant said that the advertiser did not have permission to use his name and his business name in his advertisement.

 

In breach of sections 3.27 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/travel-7/

 

DNG Doyle

 

Misleading

The complainant said the advertisement was misleading because it claimed the property being advertised was 35 minutes from Dublin City Centre. He said this was clearly not the case as a search on Google Maps revealed that at peak times the travel the time from the property to Dublin City Centre typically ranged from 45 minutes to one hour and five minutes. He said he believed anecdotal evidence supported the fact that travel times leaned more heavily towards the one-hour mark and he based his assumption that anyone travelling to Dublin from the address would have considered the commute time to Dublin during peak house. He said he believed this would have been an essential factor for prospective buyers when considering whether to purchase such a property.

 

In breach of section 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/property-8/

 

 

Drop Dead Twice

 

Misleading

The complainant considered the advertising to be misleading. She said that while the offer had referred to ‘bottomless bubbly’, which in her opinion the majority of people would consider to be sparkling wine, she was provided with fermented pear juice. She said that the dictionary had confirmed her interpretation of the word.

 

In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/leisure-restaurant/

 

Aer Lingus

 

Misleading

The complainant wished to avail of the advertised fare to Frankfurt and noted that the travel dates were listed as between the 1st April and 30th September. The complainant said he was a weekly commuter to Frankfurt and had tried to avail of the advertised fare for travel from the 1st May, however, he could only find seats available at the ‘from’ price of €39.99 for travel in April. He said that as he was a weekly commuter, he was aware that an earlier promotion had already offered seats at the same price for travel in April which he had purchased. He therefore considered that the advertising was misleading as there were no seats available at the advertised ‘from’ price in the months May to September.

 

In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, and 4.28 (a) and (b) of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/travel-holidays/

 

Independent News and Media

 

Misleading

The complainant stated that the league tables did not show ‘the best schools’ as the advertisement said. He added that the tables showed the schools with the highest percentage progression rates to third level colleges which was not a definition of ‘best school’. He claimed it was highly biased by the ability of parents to pay for third level fees. He also stated that the publication failed to take into account of progression to UK or international Third Level colleges. To finish, he stated that the reference to ‘best schools’ exploited those who may not fully understand how the statistics provided in a school leagues table guide worked.

 

Issue 1 in breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.33 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld in Part

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/education-8/

 

 

The HealWell Clinic

 

Misleading/Health & Beauty

The complainant objected to the reference to a ‘Vega’ machine in the leaflet advertisements as she did not believe there was any evidence to show that such a machine could diagnose food intolerances. She said that many people who use the machine could have real health problems which could be incorrectly attributed to a food intolerance while those who are well may be advised to cut out foods from their diet on foot of this test, thereby putting their health at risk. The complainant also objected the both advertisements which referred to the benefits of homeopathy as she did not consider that there was any evidence to support the claims made.

 

In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 11.1 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-31/

 

Sasta Carrick-on-Shannon

 

Misleading/Promotion

The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading. He queried how the six-week challenge could be ‘free’ as advertised if participants had to pay €399 to participate.

 

In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4 and 5.22 of the Code.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-32/

 

Glanbia

 

Promotion

Five complaints were received regarding the promotion and the complainants raised various issues.

1. That the promotional material was misleading as it had not stated that only on application could be submitted per household.

2. The mechanics of the promotion made it very difficult to avail of the free flight offer. Complainants considered that the wording on the packaging implied that once an applicant had received their code and had registered online, they could redeem their flight however, in reality there were many more steps to go through before receiving the flight.

3. One complainant considered that the advertising gave the impression that a consumer could have their choice of the six destinations, however, applicants had to select three options in three different months, therefore, there was no guarantee that they would receive the destination of their choice.

4. One complainant objected to the face that entrants had a time limit of 10 minutes to complete their application.

5. Several complainants experiences services issues with the promotion and in view of those, they considered that the promotion had not been administered properly and that it was purposely difficult to avail of the offer.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/food-non-alcoholic-beverages-milk-2/

 

 

The following complaints were investigated and following investigation, the ASAI Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaints. The complaints were made by a consumer party:

 

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
 

Muller

 

Decency and Propriety

The complainant noted that the advertisements all featured man who were semi-dressed and considered that they were sexist. He considered that had the advertisements featured women in the same way, they would be deemed tasteless and exploitative of women and that the same standards should be applied for men when they were being exploited to sell yoghurts to women. Finally, he questioned the relevance of using naked men to sell yoghurts.

Complaint not Upheld

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/food-non-alcoholic-beverages/

 

 

Woodies DIY

 

Portrayal of Persons or Property

The ASAI received two complaints about the advertisement. The complainants objected to their houses being filmed, or appearing in any TV advertisement campaign, without their permission.

 

Complaint not Upheld

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/household-8/

 

 

VHI Healthcare

 

Misleading

The complainant said her complaint was in relation to the VHI slogan “when you need us, we’re there”. She said, her family, who are paid members of VHI, found out that an eye procedure which her daughter had to undergo called Cross-Linking was not covered by VHI. She said that contrary to the advertisement VHI are not there when you need them.

 

Complaint not Upheld

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-insurance-4/

 

 

 

The following complaints were investigated and following investigation, the ASAI Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaints. The complaints were made by Intra Industry / Interested Parties in the following cases:

 

 

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
 

Danone

 

Misleading

A medical doctor objected to the statement in the advertisement that “as they grow, we believe that giving them different experiences helps build their resilience” as he believed that it heavily implied that switching a baby from breastmilk to follow-on bottle milk could improve a baby’s health. He considered that this was untrue and said that the WHO recommended breastfeeding up to 24 months old. The complainant said that breastfeeding was important in developing a baby’s immune system and switching them to follow-on milk would cause harm and he believed that it would certainly not improve their resilience

 

 

Complaint Not Upheld

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/food-beverages-13/

 

 

eir

 

Misleading

Vodafone objected to the advertisement on the grounds that they were the official sponsors of the Irish Rugby team. They considered that the claim “Home of Rugby in Ireland” in the advertising was misleading and deceptive and they considered that eir were running their campaign in contravention of the Code, particularly as they had not qualified what they meant by the words “Home of Rugby in Ireland”. They considered that eir were taking unfair advantage of Vodafone’s sponsorship agreement with the IRFU.

Vodafone also referred to the fact that the campaign had stated that eir Sport were broadcasting the Guinness Pro 14 matches, when they were also available on Vodafone’s and others’ TV platforms.

 

Complaint not Upheld

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-71/

 

 

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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