Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

  • 5 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Principals/Decency & Propriety, Misleading/Substantiation/Presentation and Alcohol

29 July 2020 – The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 7 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

5 of the 7 advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to Principles/Decency & Propriety, Misleading/Substantiation/Presentation and Alcohol. The advertisements complained of related to Regional Press, Television, Online and Outdoor 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 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 –

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), 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 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
  Procter & Gamble     Principles/Decency & Propriety    84 complaints were received in relation to the “Tampons & Tea” advert.   Issue 1 – General Offence Some complainants considered it to be offensive and inappropriate to talk about such a sensitive topic in the manner portrayed and that the content had been over-descriptive, inappropriately expressed and with excessive detail.   In breach of section 3:16 of the Code   Complaints Upheld.   Issue 2 – Demeaning to Women Some complainants considered the advertising to be demeaning to women and belittled them.   Complaints Not Upheld.   Issue 3 – Sexual Innuendo Some complainants considered the phrase “get ‘em up there, girls” to have sexual connotations.   Complaints Not Upheld.   Issue 4 – Suitability for Children Some complainants considered the advertising to be unsuitable for daytime television while children may be watching and said it should not have aired before 9pm.   Complaints Not Upheld.   Link:
  System 10    Principles/Health& Beauty/Slimming    The complainant objected to the advertising on the following grounds:   Issue 1: The complainant said while there were studies that had found metabolism problems in ME or CFS, there were also studies showing brain inflammation and defects with red blood.   In breach of section 11.1 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Issue 2: The complainant objected to paragraph four of the article on the grounds that it could cause harm to an ME patient.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Issue 3: The ASAI Executive requested comments from the advertisers on the weight loss claims contained within the advertisement that featured beside the advertising article.   In breach of section 11.1 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link:  
  Three Ireland (Hutchinson)   Misleading/Substantiation/Availability of Products   The complainant viewed the advertisement and, as an existing customer, wanted to upgrade their phone and avail of the offer. The complainant was advised that the offer was not available to existing customers.    In breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link:    
  Dunnes Stores   Misleading/Substantiation/Presentation   Three complaints were received regarding the advertising. The complainants considered that the statements “€10 off every €50” and “Get €10 off your next grocery shop with every €50 you spend” were misleading because customers who spent €50 received a €10 voucher off a subsequent shop of €50.   In breach of section 4.1 and 4.4 and 5.5 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link:
  LeCoq Cocktails   Alcohol   Issue 1 The complainant said that the influencer featured in the advertisement was under 25 and therefore should not have appeared in an advertisement promoting alcohol as a prize to a competition.   Issue 2 The complainant also considered that the post had used suggestive sexual content.   Issue 3 The complainant considered that the audience for the advertisement had not been vetted to ensure that it was over 18 years of age and that some of the influencer’s followers may be under 18.   In breach of section 9.7 (a) of the Code.   Complaint Upheld. Link:  

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

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Hidden Hearing     Decency & Propriety   Three complaints were received regarding the advertising.   Issue 1 The advertising was offensive to young people who use hearing aids as it implied that only older people used hearing aids.   Issue 2 One complainant referred to the statement “Are you deaf or something?” being said in a joking manner.   Issue 3 Two of the complainants considered that the advertisement was offensive to deaf people as it equated the ability to hear with being ‘normal’, therefore, implying that deaf people were not normal.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link:    
  Circle K   Promotions   The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading in relation to the claim that the fuel card was 100% free, as the terms and conditions stated that there was a fee of €25 for all new account applications.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link:  

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. Advertisements found to be in breach of the Code cannot be accepted for publication.

Or follow the ASAI on Twitter @THE_ASAI

wo thirds of people in Ireland have trialled at least one Video On Demand service since March – Core Research

  • 56% scored Netflix as their number one paid subscription service, followed by Amazon Prime and Disney+
  • RTÉ Player has had the largest increase in use during the pandemic, higher than the paid for service – Netflix
  • Almost half say they watched comedy to help them cope with Pandemic stresses

Two thirds (66%) of people in Ireland have tried at least one Video on demand (VOD) service since March, according to new research from Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company. The research looks at the most popular video streaming services in Ireland – Netflix, RTÉ Player, Virgin Media Player, Amazon Prime and Disney+ – their offering, and how these services can convince customers to stay loyal when faced with so much choice. The survey results are based on the views of 1,000 participants, interviewed online and representative of the adult population.

The research revealed the trialling of digital streaming increased significantly during the Stay at Home restrictions, with one in four now using more than one paid video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime or Disney+. In addition, the increased focus on news and information has provided indigenous players (e.g. RTÉ and Virgin Media) with an opportunity to initially present local relevant content to VOD users, followed up with more light-hearted content to encourage repeat usage.

When asked to choose their preferred paid streaming service, 56% scored Netflix as their number one paid subscription service while Amazon Prime came second, closely followed by Disney+. Comedy, news and fiction were the main strands of content that people watched, with almost half saying they watched comedy to cope with Pandemic stresses. The same number said they watched documentaries – factual storytelling – while the third most watched area of content was news, with 37% using digital video streaming to stay up to date with the headlines.

The report showed that one of the major challenges to streaming services are not other paid for services, but websites and apps offering illegal streaming to people. Over a third of 30 year olds said they used illegal sites to watch content and this increases to 52% for people in their twenties. This generation will therefore need to be convinced that there is value in using an easy to use and trusted service that is good value for money.

Craig Farrell, Head of Media Planning at Core said: “This research reinforces how online viewing is transforming consumer expectations of what it means to watch TV. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in all platforms experiencing different levels of new users –  when viewers learn how to use one digital player, they are more confident to try another. In order to retain users and instil habits formed during Covid, the key for streaming providers will be to invest in culturally relevant content.”

Core employs a team of 310 people and consists of nine practices – Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy. Core has been voted Agency Network of the Year for the last six years at the Media Awards and the company was also recently voted one of the top workplaces in Ireland by the Great Place to Work Institute for the tenth year running.

To view the full findings of the Core Research report please click here:


News Ireland unveils new nationwide marketing campaign for The Irish Sun

Combination of radio and OOH formats to be utilised in bid to create awareness for the newspaper and attract new readers

News Ireland, one of Ireland’s leading media groups, has unveiled a new nationwide marketing campaign for The Irish Sun, Ireland’s bestselling daily tabloid newspaper. The campaign features a range of out-of-home (OOH) formats, as well as a comprehensive radio schedule and will run across IRS, Media Central and Urban Media.

By communicating the range of great content contained in The Irish Sun on a daily basis – such as Irish and world news, sport, showbiz and celebrity gossip, the campaign aims to widen the appeal of the newspaper to a larger audience, while also maintaining its popularity with existing readers.

OOH formats will feature at key convenience stores and forecourt POS sites across the country, running from 8am to 10pm daily, while two separate radio spots have been developed.

One execution features a wedding ceremony in which the priest has to tell the bride to put down her copy of The Irish Sun during the nuptials. When she tells him that she can’t, as she needs to catch up on the latest sensational news, the priest stops the ceremony as he is so eager to find out the latest celebrity gossip. The second radio spot depicts a customer who goes to a shop to buy milk but is tempted by a seductive voice to pick up a copy of The Irish Sun.

The spots will rotate on radio stations such as iRadio, Spin 1038, Dublin’s 98 FM and FM104. The ads will also feature on Spotify, online ‘listen back’ radio and podcasts. The campaign was created by Pulse, while the media buying was conducted by Mindshare.

Richard Bogie, Managing Director at News Ireland, says: “We focused on developing a comprehensive mix of campaign activity that would help us to communicate our message to as many people as possible. From hard politics to showbiz exclusives and light relief to in-depth investigations, The Irish Sun offers its readers something to start a conversation on every page. This campaign aims to capture the cheeky sense of humour The Irish Sun offers, because everyone needs something to smile about in these uncertain times.”

Check out or follow us on @IrishSunOnline

Low-interest loans not the only option on the table when it comes to SME financing says Bibby Financial Services Ireland

Range of supports for businesses planned for July Stimulus welcome but SMEs should be aware of

other options that allow them to remain debt-free as they deal with fallout of Covid-19

Bibby Financial Services Ireland, a leading provider of financial support and funding solutions to Irish SMEs, has welcomed planned efforts by the Government to support SMEs as part of the forthcoming July Stimulus package of economic measures.

However, it has also stressed that SMEs need to be aware of the wider range of financial options available to them as they deal with the ongoing fallout of Covid-19, and that taking on additional debt will be unsuitable for many businesses at this time.

Bibby Financial Services Ireland has instead highlighted the fact that there are many options available to businesses that don’t want to take on additional debt, such as Invoice Finance.

Mark O’Rourke, Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services, says: “SMEs have been severely impacted by the effects of Covid-19, and we welcome the fact that the proposed July Stimulus will include a range of measures to kickstart the economy and the SME sector in particular.

“However, many SMEs will be wary of accruing further debts in the face of mounting overheads. For this reason, businesses should strongly consider the benefits of Invoice Finance, a reliable, tried and tested alternative to taking on long-term debt.

“Invoice Finance can provide SMEs with the fast access to cash they require, but without taking on debt. Instead, businesses can utilise their sales ledger to free up cash from unpaid invoices, and this is then repaid by their customers. With many businesses in the same boat and facing difficulties, average debtor days are creeping up, making Invoice Finance more attractive than ever. Above all it’s vital that SMEs are made aware of all of their finance options at this difficult time.”

75,000 fewer English language students will visit Ireland this year as a result of quarantine measures – Progressive College Network

  • Dramatic drop in students will result in millions of Euro lost across Irish tourism, retail, food and drink and accommodation sectors
  • 9,000 seasonal jobs now under threat with annual revenues for the English language education sector expected to fall up to 90%

Progressive College Network, the representative body for a number of English language schools across Ireland, has warned that up to 75,000 fewer English language students will visit the country this year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and mandatory quarantine measures. The dramatic drop in student numbers is set to have significant knock-on effects for the economy in the tourism, retail, food and drink and accommodation sectors.

The English language sector is worth an estimated €1.2bn to the Irish economy each year, with thousands of students arriving from countries such as Italy, Spain, Brazil, South Korea and Mexico. However, over 55% of the revenues earned by the sector come through short-term student courses of fewer than three weeks.

The sector supports 5,000 full-time jobs, and 9,000 part-time or seasonal jobs – the majority during the summer months. With mandatory quarantine of two weeks set to remain in place for the foreseeable future, Progressive College Network anticipates a significant fall in student numbers and resulting job losses.

In this changed environment it has also emphasised the importance of schools providing quality online classes for students already in the country.

David Russell, Chairman of the Progressive College Network said: “The measures currently in place will have a devastating impact on the English language sector, as the majority of students will choose not to travel to Ireland rather than spend their first two weeks here in quarantine.

“This in turn will have huge knock-on effects for the tourism sector as host families, travel operators and small businesses up and down the country rely to a great extent on foreign students visiting the country. The worst of the Covid-19 pandemic may be behind us, but with thousands of students unlikely to visit, there is a significant risk of school closures and job losses in the sector.

“It’s important that schools continue to offer high-quality online learning options for students already here, especially as this will allow them to renew their visa for the coming academic year.”

The Progressive College Network was formed in 2015, to meet the demand for an alternate representative body for the private college community in Ireland. Currently it represents over 300 staff members and is responsible for teaching in excess of 3,500 international students annually.

All Progressive College Network institutions are ILEP (Interim List of Eligible Programmes) listed, are fully compliant with any and all regulations and operate to the very highest of standards. Progressive College Network has a bespoke Protection of Enrolled Learners insurance policy that protects students and staff within each of its institutions.

Tragic killing of Detective Garda Colm Horkan was the most important news story of June 2020 – Core Cultural Index

  • Re-opening of pubs, hairdressers and hotels, the formation of the Government and the Black Lives Matter protests among stories that generated greatest public awareness
  • Stories that received less interest include Liverpool winning the league

The tragic killing of Detective Garda Colm Horkan in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon was the most important news story in Ireland in June 2020 according to the latest Cultural Index research compiled by Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company.

The research, which asked interviewees which news stories they were aware of, and of them, which they deemed most important, shows there was greater diversity and interest in the news stories which received coverage in the month of June. Based on the views of 1,000 participants, the Culture Index shows that as Ireland began to re-open, there were also significant political, economic and social issues which people were engaging with.

Covid-19 related stories ranked high in awareness with the re-opening of pubs, hairdressers and hotels the second highest story to resonate with people. Unsurprisingly 96% of people were aware of these re-openings, and 66% of people said it was a significant moment.

Similarly, the same number of people believed the formation of a Government coalition was an important event in June. However, the Government formation was not viewed positively by all. Sentiment analysis shows that the majority of those aged over 40 years old feel positive towards the Government formation, while the majority of those aged under 40 feel negative towards the coalition. Despite strong Government approval throughout COVID-19, a young generation will need convincing that this Government will address their concerns.

The fourth most significant news story for people living in Ireland were the Black Lives Matter demonstrations with 92% aware of these events with young adults (aged under 30) in particular, believing this activism was an important moment. 71% said this was an important news story to them, and 70% said they were positive about the demonstrations demanding societal change.

Speaking about this month’s update, Naomi Staff, Managing Director of Core Research said:

As people slowly return to a life beyond their homes, they are also engaging with news beyond COVID-19. The Cultural Index provides us with important insight into what matters to people. As we approach over 1,000 news stories analysed since 2015, this latest month reveals further political, economic and societal stories which will shape Irish culture in the months and years to come.”

Stories that received less interest included Ireland securing a UN Security Council seat, the RTÉ Comic Relief, GAA finals taking place later in the year, and Liverpool winning the league.

Core employs a team of 310 people and consists of nine practices – Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy. Core has been voted Agency Network of the Year for the last six years at the Media Awards and the company was also recently voted one of the top workplaces in Ireland by the Great Place to Work Institute for the tenth year running.

People can gain access to the report by subscribing to Core Connect at


AirSpeed Telecom provides connectivity to 14 McMahons Builders Provider sites

AirSpeed Telecom, a leading provider of high-performance telecommunications products and services to enterprise, public sector and small to medium sized businesses, has provided connectivity to McMahons Builders Providers.

McMahons Builders Providers have been providing quality building supplies and DIY materials to the trade and public for over 190 years and have grown to become one of the largest independent builder’s providers on the island of Ireland, with a network of 14 retail and trade branches and a Roof Truss manufacturing plant, all ensuring a nationwide offering. McMahons is headquartered in Limerick and employs a staff of over 200 people and has trading locations in Limerick, Tralee, Cork, Fermoy, Dunmanway, Waterford, Galway, Portarlington, Omagh, Coleraine and Derry. There are also two branches located in Dublin, one in Kylemore and another in Cherry Orchard.  Due to the nature of McMahons business, it is critical to have reliable and fault tolerant IT infrastructure to ensure all services are available in all shops with reliable resilient communication links between all those sites, head office and the internet.

Brian O’Gorman, Group IT Manager, McMahons Builders Providers, says:

“AirSpeed Telecom’s customer focused approach was a massive benefit when looking for the correct provider. They listened to what was required, and we liked their flexible proactive approach to meeting our business requirements. They gave us options for each site in terms of connectivity, circuit size, circuit type and path diversity. In addition, AirSpeed Telecom provided a Project Manager throughout the whole process from design to delivery, hosting weekly meetings for our IT team and Account Manager. This greatly helped ensure a smooth on time delivery of services. All the connectivity was delivered as per our schedule and as per our agreed IP design and configuration per site. The overall experience of the implementation and after service has been very positive and end users have also seen the benefit with improved performance and reliability of IT services.

AirSpeed Telecom, Managing Director, Charles O’Reilly, says:

“We’re delighted to provide connectivity to all 14 premises for McMahons Builders Providers. Our connectivity has allowed McMahons to connect its stores and their head office seamlessly, creating efficiencies for the business.”

Delivering bespoke solutions over fibre, wireless and copper infrastructure, AirSpeed Telecom works with businesses on the island of Ireland across a range of sectors, including financial services, construction, food and beverage and hospitality. Among the clients that AirSpeed Telecom is proud to work with are Chill, Keelings, Manor Farm and Kilsaran.

For further information, please contact:

Gillian Kavanagh / Breda Brown

Unique Media

Tel: (01) 522 5200 or 086 8286139 (GK)

About AirSpeed Telecom:

AirSpeed Telecom is a leading provider of high-performance telecommunications products and bandwidth services to enterprise, medium to large sized businesses and public sector clients.

Founded in 2003, AirSpeed Telecom provides customers with fast, uncontended and symmetrical connectivity which allows businesses perform to their full potential. To reinforce this vision of always-on connectivity, AirSpeed Telecom offers premium level Service Level Agreements (SLAs) as standard.

The full-suite of communication solutions includes dedicated connectivity, voice and security as well as cloud services. Delivering bespoke solutions over fibre, wireless and copper infrastructure, AirSpeed Telecom works with businesses on the island of Ireland and internationally across a range of sectors, including financial services, construction, food and beverage and hospitality. Among the clients that AirSpeed Telecom is proud to work with are Chill, Keelings, Manor Farm and Kilsaran, among others.

All customers have access to first line technical support from the company’s Network Operation Centre. All network elements are monitored proactively with service support provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

AirSpeed Telecom is 100% owned by the Irish Infrastructure Fund (IIF), which controls over €500 million of investments across energy, telecoms, tourism and healthcare in Ireland.

Association of Advertisers in Ireland appoints Derek Liddy as President

The Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI), the national advocacy group for promoting the interests of advertisers, has appointed Derek Liddy as its new President. He has over 20 years’ experience in developing digital strategies and marketing, as well as TV and video communications.

Derek is currently Head of Digital Marketing at Aer Lingus, with global responsibility for the airline’s online acquisition strategy and sales. Prior to this he was Head of Digital Strategy with digital services agency Continuum, and has also held senior roles with Anglo Irish Bank and Animo Communications.

In addition to serving on the board of the AAI, Derek is also a current board member of the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland.

He holds a BA in Economics and Italian from UCD and a Higher Diploma in Marketing Practice from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Welcoming Derek’s appointment as President of the AAI, Barry Dooley, Chief Executive of the AAI said: “We’re delighted to welcome Derek to his new role with the AAI. Derek has an extensive track record in all areas of advertising, with a particular focus on developing impactful digital campaigns and strategies.

“Like so many other industries, advertisers have had to adapt in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, and a number of challenges remain ahead. We’re looking forward to having Derek help spearhead our efforts to support advertisers and ensure continued high standards in the industry.”

Commenting on his appointment, Derek Liddy, President of the AAI, said: “Having previously served on the board of the AAI, I’m very aware of the important work the association does to maintain and develop a vibrant advertising industry here in Ireland. I’m looking forward to working with all my colleagues at the AAI to champion Irish advertisers and brand marketers.”

The Association of Advertisers in Ireland was established in 1951, to advance the commercial interests of advertisers by advocating for the right to responsible self-regulation and fair competition.

The AAI provides its members with a forum for intelligent exchange, access to a network of industry leaders and opportunities to shape policies that impact commercial communication.