- 4 advertisements were found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to a range of issues including Misleading / Substantiation, Recognisability and Pricing.
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 9 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.
3 of the 9 advertisements were found to have been in full breach of the ASAI Code. 1 of the 9 advertisements was found to have been partly in breach. The 4 advertisements were found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to Misleading / Substantiation, Recognisability and Pricing.
The advertisements complained of related to Radio, Online (Influencer’s social media account), Social Media (Advertiser’s own page), Internet (company own website), Online (3rd party website), and Television. The ASAI Complaints Committee chose not to uphold five 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 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 provides 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 Chairperson 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/Organisation||Complaint Category||Further Details|
|Tridike Limited (trading as Gifted from Ireland)||Misleading / Substantiation||The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as it was stating that the products available to buy were Irish made when many of them were not. Complaint Upheld. In breach of Sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/retail-8/|
|Pretty Little Thing||Recognisability / Misleading||The complainant considered the influencer to be posting new outfits on her stories and page with discounts and links without declaring whether these were advertisements, whether she was paid, or being in a partnership with the brand. They noted that after some time, these posts were edited to include Paid Partnership or #ad. Complaint Upheld. In breach of Sections 3.31, 3.32, 4.1, and 4.4. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-footwear-9/|
|Vavavoom||Recognisability / Misleading||The complainant considered the influencer to be posting new outfits on her stories and page with discounts and links without declaring whether these were advertisements, whether she was paid, or being in a partnership with the brand. They noted that after some time, these posts were edited to include Paid Partnership or #ad. Complaint Upheld. In breach of Sections 3.31, 3.32, 4.1, and 4.4. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-footwear-10/|
|Electrifying Ventures LTD||Misleading / Substantiation / Pricing||Issue 1: The complainant considered that the advertisement was misleading as it had stated that a mains lead was included which the complainant considered was stating that it was included in the purchase price of the charger, however, when they clicked “add to basket” a pop-up box showed a higher price than that advertised. Issue 2: The complainant considered that the use of a pre-selected drop-down menu for the mains lead could induce a consumer to spend more than they expected to. Issue 3: The complainant noted that the advertisement had stated that ‘Next Day Delivery’ was included, however, at the checkout stage of their purchase, they were presented with three delivery options, an express option that appeared to be on offer, a standard 2–5-day delivery option and a named courier express Europe option, with the cost of the first two options provided, while the courier express Europe option did not include the cost. The complainant noted that when they initially viewed the website to place an order, the delivery option preselected for that order was the express option on offer which was the cheapest option. When they viewed the website some days later, the same option was pre-selected, however, it was no longer the cheapest delivery option. The complainant therefore objected to the use of a pre-selected delivery option that they considered could be a more expensive option to consumers as the price appeared to vary. Issue 4: The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as they did not consider that it was clear that the products being advertised were generic products. The complainant considered that the headline of the advertisement had led them to believe that the charger was a [named brand] branded charger. Complaint Upheld In Part on Issues 1, 2, and 4. In breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.22, and 4.24 of the Code. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/computers-computer-accessories-2/|
The following advertisements were investigated and the ASAI Complaints Committee found that they did not breach the Code on the grounds raised in the complaints.
|Fitbit||Misleading / Substantiation / Promotions||The complainant considered the marketing description for the product to be misleading as there was no warning that not all mobile phones were compatible with the product. Complaint Not Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/leisure-28/|
|Sherry Fitzgerald Galway||Misleading / Substantiation||The complainant considered estate agents have been using photo stretching software in the advertising of rental properties and now few are actually genuine. They said the software was used exclusively to manipulate the photographs to make rooms appear more spacious to the customer using their site or a third party’s site. They said this amounted to intentional false representation of the product to make it appear better than it actually was. Complaint Not Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/property-accommodation-agencies/|
|Ladbrokes||Principles / Gambling||Issue 1: A complainant considered that the advertisement was both harmful and misleading to viewers as to the likely outcome of gambling on football matches, and in turn, was encouraging further gambling without any consideration of the negative outcomes of gambling. Issue 2: A complainant considered that the advertisement promoted the ‘highs’ associated with gambling which they considered could trigger anyone struggling with a gambling problem and was glamorising the thrills of gambling. Complaints Not Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/leisure-gambling-2/|
|Toyota Ireland||Misleading / Substantiation||Issue 1: The complainant considered that the claim to be “ahead of your time” was misleading as they believed that the advertisers were behind other car manufacturers in electric cars. Issue 2: The complainant considered that the claim to have ‘double the patents on battery technology than the next car manufacturer’ was misleading as the advertisers would need to prove that they had twice of patents than a named electric car producer or any other motoring manufacturer. Complaints Not Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/motoring-41/|
|Volkswagen||Misleading / Substantiation / Environmental||Issue 1: The complainant said that the purchase of petrol and diesel cars, even if they were more efficient than older models, could not be considered to be ‘climate action’. The complainant said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated explicitly that the world must dramatically cut fossil fuel use, including oil, by 2030, if there was to be any hope of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5C. In this context, the complainant considered that encouraging the purchase of fossil fuel cars, which could remain on Irish roads for another 10-15 years could not be considered climate action as it would lock Irish car users into carbon-intensive infrastructure, which would continue to emit emissions for years to come. Issue 2: The complainant said that the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) operated an electric vehicle grant scheme which supported genuine climate action in the form of encouraging the purchase of hybrid cards (i.e., cars that use fossil fuels but also use electricity) or fully electric cars. The use of the word ‘grant’ in the advertisement, specifically implied that the Volkswagen promotion was a government-backed scheme when this was not the case. Complaints Not Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/motoring-42/|
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 percent. 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.
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