Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

  • 12 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Misleading Advertising, Responsibility, Safety, Promotions/Alcohol
  • – The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 14 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

12 of the 14 advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to Misleading Advertising, Responsibility, Safety, and Promotions/Alcohol. The advertisements complained of related to Television, Online, Radio and Print advertising. Two of those upheld related to intra industry / interested party complaints. 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 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) is to ensure that ads and other marketing communications are legal, truthful, decent and honest and the ASAI is committed to protecting society in relation to advertising across all mediums. The continuing efficacy of the Code facilitates the prevalence of high standards in advertising.”

“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
  Suzuki     Safety   Two complaints were received concerning the advertising. The issues raised by the complaints were as follows:   Issue 1: Both complainants objected to the way the car was driven at high speed, performing turns and leaving donut shape tracks. They both considered the use of the tagline “time to play” in conjunction with a vehicle being driven at speed as inappropriate.   Issue 2: One of the complainants also objected to the use of a child’s voiceover in the advertisement.   In breach of sections 3.3 and 3.24 of the code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/motoring-33/    
      Optilase       Misleading   The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading and unfair to the consumer. He said that the requirements for getting €500 off the price of the procedure was to remove the ‘Lifetime Guarantee’ from the offer.   In breach of sections 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 5.16 of the code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-45/
  Therapie Clinic   Misleading   The complainant raised two issues in relation to the advertisements.   Issue 1:   The complainant considered the 1 cent sale offer to be misleading. She queried how she could be making a saving on the full leg and any bikini and underarm for 1 cent at €145 if the normal cost of this treatment was €144.   Issue 2:   The complainant said that while the full price cost for a full leg, any bikini and underarm (course of 6) was indicated as being €144 (course of 6) the actual cost of the treatment was €144 X 6.   In breach of sections 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.22 of the code.   Complaints Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-48/
      Therapie Clinic       Misleading   The complainant raised two issues in relation to the advertisement.   Issue 1: The complainant challenged the statements “complete hair removal” and “guaranteed successful results in fewer sessions.”   The complainant said that having completed her six-week sessions, she had not achieved complete hair removal. She was informed that the reason for this was because her hair was too light in colour. She was also informed that she would need further sessions despite the advertisement indicating that ‘fewer sessions’ would be required.   Issue 2 The complainant also challenged whether the sale prices were cheaper than the standard prices.   In breach of section 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-49/
  Lifeline 24   Misleading   The complainant considered the claims regarding the delivery within two working days to be misleading and incorrect. They said that having ordered the product, it was not delivered within two days. In breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/household-15/
        Bet Index Ltd          Responsibility     The complainant considered the advertisement to be in breach of the ASAI Code as it did not direct listeners to a source of information about gambling and gambling responsibly.  In breach of section 10.10 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/leisure-22/
        Bow Lane Social         Promotions / Alcohol    Issue 1:   The complainant viewed the offer on the advertisers’ website for their A la Carte menu. On visiting the premises to avail of the offer, they were advised that the offer of two courses for €20 or three courses for €25 was only available in conjunction with a €30 ‘bottomless’ drinks deal. As this information had not been included in the advertising, the complainant considered it to be misleading.   Issue 2: The ASAI challenged whether the use of “bottomless” in connection with alcohol was compliant with the Code. In breach of sections 3.10, 9.8 (a) and (b) of the code. Complaint Upheld In Part. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/leisure-23/
  Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter     Misleading    The complainant considered the posts to be misleading because they created the impression that both individuals featured had used a Cocoa Brown tanning product in order to achieve their tan, despite neither individual stating this in their own original posts. The complainant said that one of the individuals in question had, in fact, stated that she had used a different tanning brand in her original post. In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/fake-tan-beauty/  
  Hidden Hearing   Misleading   The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading as it stated the service was available at several clinics. When he attempted to make an appointment in one of the clinics listed, he was advised the service was available in the Cork City clinic only. In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, and 4.10 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-46/
    Woodies DIY     Misleading     The complainant said that the advertised offer was for all Dulux interior paints but had an asterisk pointing out that some paints by the brand were not included which was written in small text. In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.28(a) of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/household-14/

The ASAI upheld two complaints made by Intra Industry / Interested Parties in the following cases:

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  The Debs Co    Misleading   The complainants, Debsireland.com, considered the advertisements to be deliberately misleading young people into thinking that the advertised event was the established event that TY students go to every year. They said that they, Debsireland.com, had run this event since its inception 15 years previously.   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-21/  
  Essential Oils Ireland   Misleading   The complainants, Unicorn Aromatherapy, considered the claim “Best essential oils in Ireland for health, wellness & beauty” to be misleading to the public. They did not consider that it could be substantiated in any way.   In breach of sections 4.9, 4.10 and 4.33 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-47/  

The following two complaints were investigated and following investigation, the ASAI Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaints.

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Stafford Fuels Limited    Misleading   The complainant challenged the reference to the smokeless coal having “75% less smoke and micro-emissions.”   Issue 1: They said there was no substantiation provided as to how the ‘75% less’ figure was arrived at or what the product was being compared to.     Issue 2: They considered this reference could be interpreted by the public as being the safe amounts required.   Complaint Not Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/home-heating-smokeless-coal/  
    Dacia Ireland      Responsibility    The complainant considered the advertisement discouraged the use of a different mode of transport, i.e. jogging, and concluded that sitting in traffic in a Dacia was better by comparison. They said that we are in an age where more sustainable and healthy travel options must be encouraged, e.g. public transport, walking, cycling and jogging. They therefore believed the advertisement was irresponsible both to consumers and to society as it actively discouraged healthier modes of transport.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/cars/  

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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