Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

  • 6 advertisements across online, out of home, social media and radio were found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to a range of issues including Misleading, Substantiation, Promotional Marketing Practices and Alcoholic Drinks


The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 6 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.


3 of the 6 cases were upheld in full and 3 of the 6 cases were upheld in part. Advertisements across online, out of home, social media and radio were found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to Misleading, Substantiation, Promotional Marketing Practices and Alcoholic Drinks.


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 range and nature of advertisements in the latest complaints bulletin from the ASAI demonstrates the importance of our role to the Irish advertising industry, ensuring that advertisements are legal, truthful, decent and honest for all consumers. Ad complaints are assessed against the comprehensive Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications, and where appropriate, investigated.  A portion of complaints are brought to the Independent Complaints Committee to decide whether a breach of the Code has occurred.  High levels of compliance with these decisions, together with ASAI requests for ad amendments, demonstrates the industry’s commitment to high standards and responsible advertising. 


“The ASAI also provides a free and confidential copy advice service to the advertising industry to help them create responsible ads that adhere to the advertising code. 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.”



Below is a list of 6 advertisements that have been found to be in breach of the ASAI Code:


Advertiser Medium Complaint Category Description Complaint Status Section Breached Link
An Post Online (Company’s own website)  

Misleading / Substantiation



A webpage on the advertiser’s website outlined the costs and delivery timeframes

for four postage options.


One option listed a price of €4.50 with a delivery timeframe of 2-3 working days for worldwide delivery.


The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading as they posted 100 letters to the Netherlands via the advertised postal option but stated that 20 days later, the letters had not been delivered. The complainant said that upon contacting An Post, they were advised

that the delivery times on the website were only an indication of the postage timeframe and that this was outlined in the terms and conditions on the website.


The complaint stated that these terms and conditions were also not mentioned on the website.


Upheld 4.1 and 4.4
Emerald Park  

Online (Social media influencers)


Misleading / Promotional Marketing Practices


An advertisement appeared across social media featuring a promotional code: ‘TREASURE24’ which entitled the bearer to a 24% discount on admissions to Emerald Park over a period of several weeks. Terms and conditions were not referenced.


Four complaints were received regarding the promotion. The four complainants tried to avail of the discount but were told it was no longer available. One

complainant was told by a staff member of Emerald Park that the promotion had

ceased approximately halfway through the advertised campaign.


Upheld 4.1, 4.4, 5.4, 5.5, 5.11, and 5.12

Free Now


Transport (Buses exterior) and Instagram


Misleading / Substantiation


The advertisement which appeared on bus exteriors featured an image of a man leaning

out of a car door.


The text accompanying the image read “EARN UP TO €1,300 a WEEK. FREENOW

The Mobility Super APP”


The advertisement on Instagram featured similar text: “EARN UP TO €1,300 a WEEK. FREENOW

Take full control of your time and your earnings. Drive your way to €1,300 a week”.


33 complaints were received in relation to the advertisement.


Issue 1:

The majority of complaints were from taxi drivers. The complainants believed the earning potential referenced in the advertisement was misleading. The complainants said the figure mentioned was not achievable and gave a false impression that those working in the taxi industry were earning more than their actual income. They claimed it would not be possible to make this amount of money per week without working additional hours.


Issue 2:

Some complainants considered that the amount referenced in the advertisement was

misleading as it wasn’t stated whether the amount referenced was net or gross. They

said it also appeared that additional deductions such as commission to the

advertisers and additional costs such as fuel, licence fees etc., may not have been taken into consideration when referencing earning potential.


The ASAI Executive undertook a basic analysis of the information provided which showed that 93% was split nearly equally between €0 – €499 and €500 – €1,0000, with

10% having earned between €1,000 and €1,299. The remainder, 7%, earned more than




Issue 1:


Issue 2:

Upheld in Part

The committee noted that those who signed up for the platform were categorised as ‘sole traders’ and would therefore be responsible for their own tax affairs and costs such as fuel etc. However, the advertisement did not make it clear that the ‘up to’ figure would have to take account of the app commission that was deducted from driver earnings.


4.1, 4.5, 4.9 and 4.10
Phonewatch Radio Misleading / Substantiation / Promotional Marketing Practices  

A radio advertisement for Phonewatch claimed that installing a Phonewatch alarm for €49 makes your home “four times less likely to be burgled”, “four times more secure” and makes your loved ones “four times safer”. The advertisement also stated, “Hurry, offer ends soon.”


Issue 1:

The complainants considered that the claim “four times safer” was misleading as no

information had been provided as to what it was four times safer than. One complainant

considered it was incorrect to say that if your risk of being burgled was reduced by four times, this would result in you would be four times safer.


Issue 2:

The complainants considered that the reference to an offer ending “soon” was ambiguous and could cause a consumer to rush to purchase the



Issue 3:

One complainant considered that the advertisement was unclear as to what the price of €49 quoted was for.



Issue 1:


Issues 2 and 3:

Not Upheld


4.1 and 4.4
Castleblaney Credit Union Limited Online (Company Own Website) Misleading / Substantiation  

The advertisement which featured a rear and side view of a white car referred to the


“Members only car draw”


The advertisement featured a number of statements including:

“The draw is open to all members of Castleblayney Credit Union aged 18 years and over, subject to payment of the relevant draw fee” and “All our participating members stand a chance to win this amazing prize. All you have to do is complete a Car Draw form and return it to us in the office.”


Issue 1:

The complainant said that it was misleading to advertise the draw as a “Car draw” as there

was no car available to those who won the draw.


Issue 2:

The complainant said that the advertisement did not appear to state how many draws

would take place or the cost of entry to the draw.



Issue 1:


Issue 2:

Not Upheld

4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 5.16
Intrepid Spirits – Little & Green Online (social media) Alcoholic Drinks  

Posts on the advertiser’s social media account featured a woman in various scenarios.


Posts 1 and 2 featured a woman being asked if she had bought a house yet and if she was still single. In one post the woman is shown opening a can and taking a drink. The advertisements suggested Little and Green couldn’t save you from awkward questions / moments over Christmas but could “soften the blow” and “help”.


Posts 3 – 7 featured various images of alcoholic products and a variety of hashtags including “#cannedcocktails”,#poitin,” and “#cocktail”.


One post featured an image of several young people laughing together while at a formal ball.


Issue 1: Posts 1 and 2:

A complainant considered that the two video posts featuring the woman drinking were portraying alcohol as a tool for coping with interpersonal difficulties.


They considered that it was both dangerous and inappropriate to

portray alcohol as a tool for social anxiety.


Issue 2: Posts 1 – 7:

The ASAI Executive did not consider that the content on the advertiser’s Instagram

account conformed with the alcohol rules of the Code. They referred the

advertisers to Posts 3 – 7 as a sample of content from the page and asked for their comments on the overall compliance of the content from the page and details of procedures in place to ensure compliance of content.


Issues 1 and 2:



3.3, 9.1, 9.4, 9.5a, 9.7(a) and 9.8(b), (g), (h) and (i)



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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