The latest set of rulings from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reveal that three complaints were made against Cancer Research UK following one of their recent advertising campaigns.
For those not aware of their role, the ASA is the independent regulator for advertising across all media in the United Kingdom. They investigate complaints and then deliver a verdict which will either uphold the complaints in full/part or completely dismiss the complaint.
What was so deserving of reporting a charity to the ASA!? Well…quite a few things…
The first issue was that the letters were sent to members of the public in brown envelopes which did not contain an appropriate notice that this was marketing material. There was a small notice but the ASA decided that the wording of this was too small. The biggest gripe was that the envelopes were addressed to ”It Doesn’t Matter To Me WHO YOU ARE”. The ASA ruled that because it was not clear on the front of the envelope that the letter was from Cancer Research UK, this was likely to be received as a threatening message.
Quite rightly the ASA also said that the issue of cancer was a distressing subject for many people but it was important that they balanced any harm from this circular against the very purpose of this campaign which was to raise awareness of cancer.
The fact that the letter itself was written as to appear to be a direct message from cancer certainly did not help alleviate the possibility of any upset that the letter was likely to cause.
EVERYONE KNOWS ME … And they know the devastation I cause … I AM CANCER … I don’t care who I hurt … WHY AM I WRITING TO YOU? I used to have everything my own way … I’M STILL HERE…
The ultimate ruling from the ASA said that the campaign in its current form was likely to cause serious distress to some members of the public and particularly those who were vulnerable and this advertisement must not be used by Cancer Research UK again in its current form.
Were you are recipient of this particular campaign? Here at BitterWallet we quite like the work of the ASA so over the next few weeks we are going to be putting together some features which focus on specific decisions by the ASA and try to work out who is the most mischievous merchant in terms of how many complaints are made and whether they were upheld or dismissed.
Scottish parents aren’t happy that their children are eating Weetos, not because they’re not healthy or somesuch, but rather, there’s a character on the box called Big Baws.
Slang fans will know that ‘baws’ is a rather colourful word and now Weetos makers Weetabix have cottoned on, they’ve agreed to change it.
One parent said: “My six-year-old started chirping on about Big Baws the other morning. I nearly fell off my seat. When I found out it was this character on the breakfast cereal box, I was very surprised. It’s not appropriate for something which is so clearly aimed at children. But it is funny.”
Another parent added: “I was getting my boys’ breakfast ready this morning and I noticed it. I nearly choked on the cereal and my wife thought I was taking the mickey.”
A spokeswoman for Weetabix said that ‘baws’ was meant to be a play on ‘boss’ (which everyone knows, is spelled ‘bawse’) and grovelled: “We now understand that this phrase might also be interpreted in a different way in Scotland and are working on amending the pack. We are sorry if this has unintentionally caused offence in any way.”
Paula Scher from Pentagram has presumably been given a lot of money to designed a new brand identity for Weight Watchers, which is nice for him. Apparently, the new logo is “modern, open and energetic” and “the new identity conveys a narrative of positive transformation.”
Just one thing.
It clearly says ‘twat’ right in the middle of it.
Once you see the offending word, you can barely see anything else about it. It doesn’t matter that the gradient symbolises the transformation a WW customers goes through because, what it is really saying is that ‘at the centre of every weightwatcher, is a grey twat.
In a bid to lose every single reader we have, before you start reading the news, type ‘Banned American Apparel ads’ into Google Images and see what happens.
Yep. A lot of bums and boobs, all in the name of advertising socks, scads and stockings. American Apparel are well known for using risque images to flog their wares and, of course, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) aren’t happy, banning a bunch of images and in turn, giving American Apparel much more publicity than the original ads could ever hope for.
The ASA said that it was “offensive and irresponsible” to use some of the images as they sexualised a model that looked under-16 and that these could be viewed by minors. Elsewhere, some other ads for hosiery website were deemed “unnecessarily sexual and inappropriate”, “sexually suggestive and gratuitous” and “submissive and sexually suggestive.”
An ASA spokesman said: “We considered the model looked under the age of 16. We acknowledged that her poses were not overtly sexual but, because her breasts were visible through her shirt, we considered the images could be seen to sexualise a model who appeared to be a child. We concluded the images were inappropriate and irresponsible.”
Big companies are not known for sensitivity when trying to promote new products, but usually, they’re mindful of the fact that bad publicity is sometimes the absolute pits for their sales figures. And Microsoft may well be looking at getting a new marketing company after one of their Surface ads ended up being painted over some street art.
The Microsoft advert was painted over a large piece by Mr. Wany in London, which is really, really stupid. Most technology companies want to aim their products at the young and the achingly hip, so whacking their brand over a piece of existing art is PR suicide.
Global Street Art, who shared the offending image above, noted: “How is ruining art good for any brand?” It does seem remarkable that someone could look at the existing artwork and think ‘I know, we’ll just go over what is already here. No-one will mind, surely?’
It’s all going on in the crazy world of North East football today. In the black and white corner, Newcastle fans are said to be OUTRAGED after payday loan merchants Wonga were announced as the club’s new shirt sponsor.
The company, who offer short-term loans with an APR of up to 4,000% have sealed the deal with the Toon Army, after a few days of speculation and add the Geordie hit squad to Blackpool and Hearts on the list of teams that are sponsored by them.
Michael Martin, the editor of Newcastle fanzine True Faith said: “The people who run Newcastle, for the fans, have a social responsibility.I would love them to honestly answer one question: Would you, Mike Ashley, seriously recommend borrowing money from Wonga at those interest rates? If you can’t answer yes then they shouldn’t be our shirt sponsors.
“Newcastle is being used to normalise their product. It cheapens and tarnishes the Newcastle United brand. I wouldn’t want my logo next to them, so what do other sponsors think? This is close to breaking point for me, the one that breaks the camel’s back.”
Presumably that was BEFORE the subsequent announcement that Wonga have also snapped up the naming rights to the club’s ground, which has recently been known as the Sports Direct Arena. In a move that will have fans biting their knuckles, the ground will revert to its more well-known name of St. James’ Park. Very shrewd, Wonga, very shrewd indeed.
Meanwhile, 12 miles down the road in Sunderland, the landlord of a pub situated about half a mile from the Stadium Of Light (pictured left) has received a letter from the club, demanding that he take down SAFC flags that are hung in his window, insisting that “the use of SAFC products in your establishment implies a misleading affiliation between your establishment and SAFC.”
Landlord Alan Wallace’s pub, The Fort, hosts hundreds of Sunderland fans before each home match – we’re wondering if any of them believe that the pub is some kind of genuine SAFC-affiliated establishment. Doubtful.
Looks like another example of a football club forgetting that they’re actually a part of, and exist because of the local community, and behaving like a gang of blinkered dickheads instead. Not like up the road at Newcastle, eh? Where they’re keen to promote ball-squeezingly high APR loans to their customers.
Paddy Power are rather fond of guerilla marketing campaigns (remember Bendtner’s underpants in summer?), and this weekend, they may have peaked with sky-written tweets of support for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup. The tweets, visible from over 20 miles, were written in clouds of smoke by stunt pilots. Each individual character was 200ft taller than the Shard skyscraper.
‘Do It For Seve’, ‘Rory’s Gonna Getcha’ and ‘We Believe’ were written above the course. Paddy Power said: ”In previous years we have seen shocking scenes of American crowds heckling and barracking the European players. Rather than take a leaf out of the book of our noisy rivals on the course, we’ve elevated support for Team Europe to the heavens! Our ‘sky tweets’ have given European fans the chance to have their messages seen on a massive scale, hopefully giving Olazabal and the guys a boost from home.”
There’s a video of how the sky-tweets were done here, and a pretty smart 360 degree gallery of some of the messages of support, here. What makes the European Ryder Cup win all the more brilliant, aside from this fun little promo stunt, is the fact that the American sporting press were writing stories like this before Europe came back and won the whole thing.
The boffins at Nestle have been using all of their scientific know-how to come up with what seems like a modern day version of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. They’ve used state-of-the-art GPS technology for their ‘We Will Find You’ Kit-Kat, Aero and Yorkie bar campaign.
How does it work? The wrappers of four special bars will contain GPS devices which will give off a signal when they’re opened. Nestle agents will pick up the signal and track the location of the wrapper before finding it and presenting the owner with £10,000 within 24 hours. Wow.
Pretty exciting eh? Because everyone who eats a chocolate bar keeps the empty wrapper with them once they’re finished don’t they? As opposed to chucking them in a bin in a park or on a train or in a hedge. Yes, we’re certain that Nestle should have no problems finding the owners of the magic GPS-enabled cash cow bars and unburdening themselves of £40,000.
Mind you, that isn’t going to stop us from buying ALL the chocolate bars, just like Veruca Salt’s dad…
Good old PETA. The vegan activists are never afraid to try and turn a few heads in their attempt to get us all treating animals ethically, and to coincide with the start of London Fashion Week, they’ve upped the ante a bit.
Yesterday, PETA sent out some smart models into London’s fashionable, posh Bond Street, armed with what appeared to be some freshly-skinned fox corpses. Up and down the street they strode, holding signs that announce ‘Here’s the rest of your fur coat’.
Are you a fur coat owner? Does it make any difference to you what’s left over once your coat has been made? Do shock tactics like these help or hinder the PETA cause? And which one of the three PETA girls do you fancy the most?
Answer one or all of the questions, in any order and in any language. GO!
(more graphic pictures of the event can be seen at Global Grind)
We’ve long been the world’s leading bacon news source. We love all things pig. And so, we took great interest in the adverts that appeared recently, featuring the Red Tractor, which heralded high welfare standards around pork sold, featuring the quality mark.
Not that we especially care about the welfare of pigs. We just like it when people kill them for us and serve their delicious selves up to us, all salty and sizzling.
Either way, three of these Red Tractor have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after they found that the claims made weren’t exactly correct.
Some berk called Joyce D’Silva from campaign group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) oinked: “This is a victory for consumers, who deserve to be able to choose higher welfare meat without being misled! Claims of high welfare are clearly a lucrative marketing tool but in this case they were overblown and misleading to the consumer.”
“The ‘pork not porkies’ claim on the advert makes this a particularly embarrassing own-goal for Red Tractor pork. This is also a victory for those pig farmers in the UK who adhere to higher welfare standards like the Soil Association’s organic standard or the RSPCA’s Freedom Food.”
Of course, no-one paid attention because they were too busy mopping delicious pig grease from their chops and farting in unison about the glory of swine. Anyway, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board told ASA that the ads in question were intended to compare welfare standards between Britain and the pork imported from many EU countries where they still use sow stalls (despite looming ban) and castrate pigs. The ASA said that this comparison was unclear.
“We considered that the claim implied that there were no concerns about the welfare of pigs in the UK, whereas some areas were unlikely to be regarded as ‘high’ welfare,” it said in its adjudication.
Electric cars! They’re going to save the world aren’t they? Yeah. Course they are. Anyway, some people want in on the electric car revolution in their bid to feel a little better about being a lazy sloven with increasingly weak knees.
With that, the car industry is going mad to show you their electric wares. However, in the case of Vauxhall, when they tell you about their electric car that has a 360-mile range, it all seems a bit to good to be true.
That’s because it was. You see, the electric batteries in the Vauxhall Ampera actually only do 50 miles and if you want to do more, you’ll have to stick some petrol in it. Rather misleading to say that in an advert, right? Well, that’s precisely why the ASA have charged them £30,000 and banned the commercial that says that.
The Advertising Standards Authority said the car firm should have been more upfront about the use of the petrol engine which kicks in after your piddling battery has died, but Vauxhall claimed that the Ampera is a truly electric car because the petrol engine only acts as an on-board generator for the electric motor. BUT IT STILL USES PETROL.
The watchdog said: “We considered that throughout the ad the emphasis was on the fact that the car was being driven electrically, and that most viewers would not understand that the car was in some circumstances being powered by electricity generated with a petrol engine. Because it did not clearly explain how the vehicle worked in extended range mode, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”
According to the website for the small Street Coffee chain in London, you will ‘come happy leave edgy’. They use ‘organic, fair trade, directly sourced beans from Papua New Guinea’ and even went there to meet the farmers who produce the beans. As they say, ‘fairly paid farmers are happy farmers and we love happy farmers.’
In fact, Street Coffee are massive fans of the downtrodden – look, in their Bermondsey branch, they even sell affordable ‘Chav Coffee’! How thoughtful of them!