October ASA Rulings Recap

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Our Compliance Manager, Amy Powell, takes a look at Advertising Standards Authority’s latest rulings, banning adverts from retail, alcohol and medical industries.

Everyone’s a Winner According to Zavvi

The online retailer ran a prize draw to enter everyone that made a purchase with their MasterCard into a prize draw to win a pair of tickets to the UEFA Champions League final. They got into hot water after contacting too many entrants to advise them that they were a winner, only to send them another email telling them it was an error.

The CAP Code states that “promoters must ensure that their promotions are conducted under proper supervision, make adequate resources available to administer them and they should not give consumers justifiable grounds for complaint”.

Fifty-seven people contacted the ASA who agreed that the poor management of the promotion “gave consumers justifiable grounds for complaint”, and they upheld the complaint/s.

How this could be avoided:
Winner management is just as important as the other elements of a promotion. If you are unsure or unable to conduct winner communications simply leave it up to us, the professionals, we’ll help you avoid that risk.

McQueen Gin Ad Banned

An advert showing people climbing and then drinking gin at the top of a mountain was investigated by the ASA after one complaint challenged whether it was irresponsible to link alcohol with mountain climbing.

The brand’s response that the people had finished their activities when they were seen drinking were refuted by the ASA who pointed that they had to still get back down the mountain.

How this could be avoided:
The Portman Code and ASA rules surrounding alcohol are explicit and must be strictly adhered to. Rulings are always going to be more likely when linked to restricted products so brands and their agencies really need to understand the rules and implications on their advertising, fully.

Dettol Receives Ruling on Environmental Claims

The ASA have upheld a ruling against Dettol for an advert which encouraged consumers to purchase a refill pouch ‘with 70% less plastic’ as opposed to purchasing another plastic bottle.

Two complainants challenged whether the ad was misleading as it implied that the refill pouch was more environmentally friendly considering most councils weren’t currently able to recycle the pouches.

How this could be avoided:
We’re always able to review your straplines and artwork. It’s a useful way to assist you with avoiding unsubstantiated claims and potential ASA rulings.

More Ads Claiming Medical Benefits Banned

The ASA has banned three adverts for cosmetic fillers from separate salons on Instagram plus influencer posts from Katie Price, Lauren Goodger and Georgia Harrison on the same platform for promoting weight loss gummies with doctored images – both for making unauthorised medical/health claims.

How this could be avoided:
Brands that are claiming medical benefits of a product must have substantiated evidence to prove them. Don’t imply association with a celebrity and doctored images are not going to go down well…

Sexual Ads Banned for Boohoo & Missguided

Missguided ads shown during Love Island this summer received a complaint that the adverts overly sexualised and objectified women and they challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible.

Likewise, Boohoo created a tongue in cheek campaign to reflect their collection of neutral coloured clothing with the strapline “Send Nudes” and a complainant challenged whether the reference was socially irresponsible.

The ASA upheld both complaints and banned the ads in their current form because they were irresponsible and, in the Missguided instance, likely to cause serious offence.

How this could be avoided:
It’s unlikely these decisions will immediately sway the advertising practices of fast fashion labels, but it is a step in the right direction and the tide is changing on what level of objectification and sexism is considered acceptable. Brands need to think carefully about how their ads will be perceived and who their audience is.

Avoid risking an ASA Ruling when it comes to your next campaign and contact PromoVeritas for help and support with all aspects of marketing compliance.

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