13 adverts found to breach ASAI code

Orla Twomey, ASAI chief executive
Orla Twomey, ASAI chief executive, expects the trend for an increasing number of complaints to continue

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22 March 2016

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The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin which contains 15 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the ASAI.

In total, 13 advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI code on grounds such as misleading advertising and health and beauty claims. The advertisements complained of related to the internet, social media, press, radio, in-store and television.

The Complaints Committee is a completely independent arm of the ASAI and is responsible for considering and dealing with complaints submitted by the public, by a member of the ASAI, by a government department or any other person or body of persons. The committee is made up of a range of experts from the advertising, media, education, consumer and marketing sectors.

Commenting on the latest ASAI rulings, Orla Twomey, CEO of the ASAI said the authority is “passionate about good advertising because responsible advertisements are good for consumers, society and advertisers and ensure trust in brands.” She also reminded brands that the ASAI provides a free and confidential copy advice service to advertisers, agencies and media members to help them create responsible ads.

Kerry Group advertisement

FMCG ads which were found to be in breach of the ASAI Code, included a television advertisement by Kerry Group plc which opened with the following on-screen text: “We helped Kieran and Laura come home from Australia. Bringing their new baby to Ireland for the first time.”

A complainant objected to the depiction of the grandfather in the commercial taking his eyes off the road to look at his grandchild in the back of the car. He considered this action to be hazardous to both the occupants of the car and to oncoming traffic, and that it didn’t comply with the Road Safety Authority’s (RSA) television campaign which contains the message; “Don’t lose a lifetime looking back”.

The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint, the advertisers’ response and the observations of the RSA. The committee accepted that while it had not been the intention of the advertisers to condone unsafe driving practices, the behaviour portrayed in the advertisement depicted unsafe practices. In the circumstances they considered the advertisement to be in breach of Sections 2.2 and 2.29 of the code. As a result, the committee ruled that the advertising should not be used in the same format again.

Wholefoods Wholesale

Another advertisement investigated by the ASAI was one by Wholefoods Wholesale for Higher Nature, which stated: “If you suffer from asthma, hay fever or chronic snoring then the salt pipe from Higher Nature may be the solution. The salt pipe is an easy to use respiratory aid which offers the benefits of portable salt therapy, clinically proven to cleanse the lungs and thin mucus significantly.”

However a complainant considered that the advertisement had made unproven medical claims and their complaint was upheld in part. The committee said it did not consider sufficient evidence had been provided for the claim regarding chronic snoring or hay fever and therefore considered this aspect of the advertisement to be in breach of Section 8.1 of the code. Subsequently, in regards to the claims regarding chronic snoring and hay fever, the committee told the advertiser not to repeat the claims in the absence of evidence to substantiate them.





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