ASA bans Home Office advert
Even the government is not free from reprisals for misleading advertising. Our Compliance Manager, Amy Powell, takes a look at the ASA’s recent ruling against the UK Home Office.
The Home Office aired a radio advert back in April that promoted the EU settlement scheme to EU citizens seeking permanent residency in the UK after Brexit. The ad claimed that applicants only required a photo ID or passport to register online however the ASA received a complaint because some applicants required five years worth of proof address – a significantly more complicated process. The ASA found that advert was misleading because it didn’t state fully what was required of applicants and made it sound simpler than it was.
The ruling stated “We considered that the actual proportion who were asked to submit further documents was likely to go beyond what the audience was likely to understand from the claim. In that context, we considered that the ad did not make sufficiently clear that, in some cases, applicants would need to supply documents beyond their passport or ID card.”
Although the Home Office disagreed with the ruling, claiming that the the ad had complied with all the required clearing processes, and was fully factual, it’s a good example of how every advert must state clearly and accurately all significant conditions and requirements, even when the advert isn’t featuring a promotion, but simply promoting a service. The need for clear call to actions cannot be underestimated in order to avoid claims of misleading your target audience.