Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

  • 11 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Misleading Advertising, Health & Beauty, Safety and Children 

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 13 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

11 of the 13 advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Misleading Advertising, Health & Beauty, Safety and Children. The advertisements complained of related to Email, Social Media, Online, Television and Print advertising. The ASAI Complaints Committee chose not to uphold two 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 latest complaints bulletin from the ASAI illustrates our ability to handle complaints across a large number of mediums. 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.”

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
  123.ie   Safety / Driving   Six complaints were received regarding the advertisement. All complaints felt that the advertisement was irresponsible as it appeared to condone potentially dangerous behaviour on the part of the mother by representing her persistent and deliberate distraction of the driver in a humorous manner. They expressed concern that an insurance provider would use such an advertisement as it did not promote safe driving practices.   In breach of sections 3.3 and 3.24(a) of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/car-insurance/
  Body Shape Performance   Misleading   The complainant stated that the gym was strictly a personal training gym and that only people who were there for personal training were allowed access. The description of the ‘1-week FREE gym trial’ prize however stated it did not include ‘any 1-to-1 time with our coaches’. After enquiring, the complainant was advised that the winner of the gym trial would need to agree to attend personal training sessions for the trial week. As this was not stated in the sponsored post, the complainant considered the advertising was misleading.   In breach of section 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.9 and 4.10 of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-fitness/
  Joyce’s Supermarket   Misleading   The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading as Deinhard Secco is a sparkling wine, not prosecco   In breach of section 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, and 4.10 of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/retail-supermarket-3/
  Lidl   Misleading   Two complaints were received regarding two of Lidl’s advertisements. The first complaint was in relation to the email advertisement. The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading as it had stated ‘50% off’ however, some of the prices after the discount were not ‘50% off’. The second complaint was in relation to the leaflet advertisement. The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading as the price of wine was also not ‘50% off’. In breach of section 4.1 of the code. Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/food-beverages-14/
  Aer Lingus   Misleading   The complainant said she had booked tickets for a European flight with the intention of bringing an animal with her. She considered that the advertising was misleading on the following grounds. Issue one: The complainant said that information on aerlingus.com indicated that pet travel on flights on Aer Lingus regional flights cost €40 and on transatlantic flights cost €160. She said that this created a range for the consumer that costs for pet travel within Europe would be between these two figures. However, on contacting a number of freight forwarders (a requirement for pet travel within Europe), she was quoted prices of circa €1000 per flight.   Issue two: The complainant said that the advertisement linked to a named cargo company who advised the complainant that they only carried pets from London. No such information was available on the Aer Lingus website.   Issue three: The complainant said the four freight forwarders she contacted advised her that Aer Lingus does not carry pets on weekends and Aer Lingus does not fly pets to the complainant’s destination   In breach of section 4.1 of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/travel-holidays-2/
  Mick’s Garage   Misleading     The complainant tried to avail of the 20% off offer but noted that it was limited to certain products only and when seeking the terms and conditions, noted that they were not immediately obvious as they were in a blog post from 14 months pervious. After telephoning the advertiser, the complainant was advised that the offer had excluded items that were already discounted. In breach of section 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.28(a) of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/motoring-27/
  Curry’s PC World   Misleading   The complainant said that the advertisement was misleading. When she selected the cordless vacuum cleaner depicted, the price in the checkout was not discounted   In breach of sections 4.1 of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/household-9/
  Lycamobile   Misleading   The complainant, who had been a Lycamobile customer since late 2017, signed up to the offer. He said that he did not receive the advertised two free months and, on enquiry, was informed that the offer was for new customers only as outlined in the terms and conditions on the advertisers’ website. In breach of section 4.1, 4.4, and 5.15(e) of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-73/
  Vape Business Ireland   Misleading / Health and Beauty   The complainants said that the advertiser’s twitter account had a tweet which referred to using a vape to quit smoking in Ireland. The complainants stated that no e-cigarettes are licensed by the HPRA for smoking cessation and quoted the HPRA ‘Guide to the definition of a human medicine’. The complainants stated that smoking cessation was a medicinal claim and therefore the claim on Twitter was in breach of the code.   In breach of sections 17.5 of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/e-cigarettes-2/
  Largo Foods     Food / Children   The complainant considered that the posts were in breach of the Code on the following grounds:   Complaint 1: That the posts were being viewed by children under 16 and were therefore targeting children.   Complaint 2: That each post encouraged excessive and irresponsible consumption of the product.   Complaint Upheld in Part.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/food-non-alcoholic-beverages-2/

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

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Mondalez Ireland (Cadbury)   Food / Children   The complainant said that she considered Easter time to be of particular appeal to children and the possibility was, that children alongside adults, would view the posts. She said that she considered the posts to be irresponsible in content.   Complaint – Post 1 The complainant said she considered that the post was encouraging people to take part in the #CremeEggHuntingSeason as a matter of urgency, to avail of the promotional offer on the Creme Eggs. She considered that the promotion was encouraging people to consume an unhealthy amount of the product.   Complaint – Post 2 The complainant said that she considered the advertisement to be condoning poor nutritional habits and an unhealthy lifestyle to children. She said to encourage the eating of Creme Eggs for breakfast for either adults or children was in her opinion unhealthy advice.   Complaint Not Upheld   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/confectionary/
  Applegreen   Misleading The complainant considered the slogan ‘Low fuel prices, always’ to be misleading and untrue. He considered that the fuel prices were not low and that they were on the rise. He also considered the advertisers prices were not low in comparison to other fuel providers.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/motoring-26/

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.

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