75 advertisements found to breach advertising standards in 2017

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

The ‘health and beauty’ sector attracted the most complaints, while ‘digital media’ gave rise to the highest number of complaints by media



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27 April 2018 | 0

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A total of 2,101 written complaints relating to 1,066 advertisements were received by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) last year, according to the organisation’s 2017 Annual Report. This represents a 58% increase in the number of complaints received in 2016. The number of complaints resolved at 1,802 represents a 31% increase on the previous year.

The ‘health and beauty’ sector attracted the most number of complaints, with 365 – a significant leap from 110 the previous year. Meanwhile ‘digital media’ gave rise to the highest number of complaints by media. In total, the ASAI found 75 advertisements were in breach of its Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications.

Consumer concerns

The ASAI Annual Report outlines that 61% of the complaints made in 2017 were on the basis that an advertisement was misleading, while 12% were made on the basis that an advertisement was offensive. There were also a wide range of other issues covered by the code that were raised by members of the public, including concerns about alcohol advertising, children, employment and business opportunities, financial services, food and non-alcoholic beverages, health and beauty claims.

Complaints within the ‘food and beverages’ sector declined to 115 in 2017 from 126 the previous year. However, there were still more complaints in 2017 compared with two years previously, when the authority received 72 complaints relating to food and drinks in 2015.

Surge in complaints

“Partly in tandem with awareness campaigns of our range of services, the ASAI experienced a 58% surge in complaints since last year, a trend we expect to continue going forward,” said Orla Twomey, CEO of the ASAI, speaking at the report’s launch.

“Despite a large increase in the number of complaints,” she added, “we’re delighted to see that compliance with the adjudications of the independent Complaints Committee has remained consistent demonstrating that advertisers in Ireland are completely on board with the ASAI in our bid to protect consumers and ensure the highest standards of advertising and marketing communications.”

The ASAI’s Copy Advice Service also remains an important part of its remit. Twomey said the authority “would encourage any advertiser who has a concern in relation to their proposed marketing communications in 2018 and beyond, to get in touch and avail of the confidential and free service”. In total, 135 copy advice requests were submitted to the ASAI in 2017.





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