Posts Tagged ‘asa’
Wonga is in hot water again, this time for an ad that claimed that their flabberghastingly high APR of 5853% wasn’t really that important and you should just forget about it – la la la.
The rubbery puppets of doom are shown ‘simplifying’ the terms of Wonga loans, thus: ‘Right, we’re going to explain the costs of a Wonga short-term loan. Some people think they will pay thousands of per cent of interest. They won’t of course – that’s just the way annual rates are calculated. Say you borrowed £150 for 18 days, it would cost you £33.49.’
BUT, 31 people complained to the ASA, saying that they were misleading customers with a confusing message which encouraged them to disregard their insane interest rates.
Wonga said that they were only trying to give a transparent example of a typical Wonga loan but they regretted confusing customers.
However, the ASA said they understood that APR did not apply for the time period for a short term loan, but banned it anyway, because it irresponsibly encouraged people to take out loans without considering the APR. They said:
‘We considered that, though it attempted to clarify the costs associated with a Wonga loan, the ad created confusion as to the rates that would apply. On that basis, we concluded that the ad was misleading.’
Maybe if Wonga are looking for an example of a representative loan, they could show the puppets struggling to make ends meet and turning to rubbery prostitution to pay it back?
It might be made from 4 legged chickens from hell, but the Advertising Standards Authority have rejected complaints that last year’s KFC Christmas advert ‘mocked elements of Christian worship.’
The snarky musical ad encourages people of all faiths to set aside their differences at Christmas and chow down on a grease-ridden bucket of genetically modified poultry.
The 30 Christian complainants got cross at the scene which features a group of carol singers, who trill the lines: ‘We turned up at your house again, singing all our stupid songs.’ In reply, the homeowner sings: ‘Normally I’d hose you down but now it just seems wrong.’
(STUPID CHRISTIAN SONGS! Songs about angels and the Baby Jesus – stupid?? Surely not!)
While it was a bit tongue-in-cheek, KFC maintained that they didn’t intend to mock any faith or religion, and that the homeowner was meant to be like Scrooge. As anyone with even a sliver of a sense of humour could interpret. But 30 outraged people didn’t see it that way.
Even so, it’s a triumph for common sense as the ASA found it ‘unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.’
You know what’s actually offensive? The new KFC Triple X-tra meal, aimed at REAL MEN, and containing a whopping, artery-rupturing 1130 calories.
Another day, another dodgy advert that treats women like sex dolls, this time for VIP e-cigarettes. E-cig advertising is controversial anyway, without making an ad featuring a quite angry looking and aroused woman saying ‘I want to see it. Feel it, hold it. Put it in my mouth.’ HAHA, she’s talking about e-cigarettes, but it’s hilarious because you – yes, you, the saddo on the sofa with the joggies that smell of rotten vegetables – you think she’s talking about your knob!
The classy folks at VIP did a male version (for, you know, balance) with him very helpfully asking: ‘Do you want to see it? I can get it out if you’d like. You can feel it hold it, put it in your mouth and see how great it tastes.’
THEN, the piece de resistance of awfulness was the tagline – ‘if you wanna vape, then vape with VIP’. Geddit? We’re assuming ‘vape’ refers to ‘vapours’ but hey, ‘Vape’ also rhymes with RAPE. HAHA, clever, eh? Someone find that copywriter and give him (let’s hope it’s a him) a huge congratulatory kick in the balls for that one.
Anyway, there have been 1,159 completely justified complaints to the ASA due to the overtly sexualized nature of the ad, which was broadcast in the ad breaks between ‘I’m A Celebrity’ last year.
Clearcast originally cleared the ad to appear after the 9pm watershed, and said that they didn’t think it was demeaning or sexist, it was just suggestive. While the ASA haven’t banned it outright, it can only be broadcast after 11pm.
How about just throwing it in a landfill with all the e-cigarettes?
While nobody would have particularly high hopes for a strip club called ‘Beavers’, there have to be some standards, or society will just fall apart in an avalanche of G-strings, Monster energy drinks and legal highs.
So it’s lucky for the morals of our nation that the Advertising Standards Authority has stepped in to ban an advert that Beavers ran in that most prestigious of er, organs, The Watford Observer.
The ad featured a standard stripper bum with the strapline: ‘Sorry baby, the car broke down.’ Thus hinting that men were stopping off there for a dirty lapdance while the old ball and chain sat fuming at home over a baking tray full of burnt chicken dippers.
The ASA ruled that the text was ‘demeaning to women’ and was likely to cause serious and widespread offence.
The decision to make a stripper’s bum take up a third of the ad was also deemed to be ‘irreponsible’ and Beavers was warned not to use filthy pics and hideous Jim Davidson style sexist headlines in a family newspaper.
Ah, if only the ASA had to the power to tell that to The Sun…
Don’t get caught by copycat websites- especially when filing your Self Assessment return by 31 JanuaryJanuary 13th, 2014 • 5 Comments
If there’s one thing the new year hasn’t seen the back of, it’s scams, and the most recent scam-a-la-mode is the copycat website scam.
Scam sites can cover anything, but their weapon of choice tends to be governmental type document completion, ideally where there is a fee to be paid. Recent scam sites found included provisional driving licence, European health cards and passports as well as congestion charge and even self-assessment tax return sites.
Last week, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against paylondoncongestion.co.uk, which charges drivers a premium for paying the London Congestion Charge- costing £16 instead of £10 for driving into London, or £20 instead of £12 to pay the next day. However, paylondoncongestion.co.uk has declined to take any notice whatsoever of the ASA ruling.
The ASA told This is Money: “In 99 per cent of cases, advertisers comply immediately. But in this instance, Paylondoncongestion has not. We are disappointed. The website still does not make it clear that it is unofficial”. Unfortunately, many of the other tools at the ASA’s disposal do not hit scurrilous companies where it hurts- in the bottom line- with ‘naming and shaming’ the firm or paying for ASA adverts to appear in internet searches alongside those of the scam website to warn potential users away, not likely to be as effective as a fine. The ASA do have redress to the Trading Standards Institute who can take statutory action and issue fines, but by that time, the tricksters are likely to have disappeared back into the woodwork.
But some claim that much of the problem could be easily solved by search engines. If scam websites didn’t appear above the official site, far fewer people would be tricked into spending more than they need to, or even losing money altogether- and some think the likes of Google should act.
Mike Walker googled “hmrc” to file his tax return. He clicked on the top result, taxreturngateway.com, and realised too late that it was not the official government site. He told The Guardian: ”It looked very similar, but it was only once I’d gone through the process of filing my return and made a payment of £400 that I realised it wasn’t the same.”
However, while the site has clearly paid for its premium position above the organic results, is it, or Google, breaking any laws? Taxreturngateway.com clearly states on its home page that “We are not connected to or affiliated with HMRC, DWP or any other official government body. We offer a bespoke, value for money, tax return assistance service for which we levy a charge.” They highlight that HMRC filing is free and even have a link back to the HMRC site. They claim they are providing a tax return completion service, for a fee, and it’s not their fault if people can’t read properly. Caveat emptor and all that jazz.
Google reportedly removed taxreturngateway.com from its advertising spots last month, but reinstated the site after investigating complaints.
So what do you think? Are people caught by these scams just victims of an online version of survival of the fittest or should someone somewhere take some action to stop them? Preferably with a few more teeth than the ASA.
Oh, and don’t forget to file your tax return online with HMRC by 31 January 2014.
Sports drinks – and the people who drink them – are extremely annoying. All that streamlined, blue liquidy nonsense: it’s enough to put you off your pork pie. But the recent Lucozade Sport ad, claiming that it ‘hydrates and fuels you better than water’ made everyone’s eyes roll. Even, it seems, the Advertising Standards Authority, who have banned it.
The ban follows 63 complaints, one from the National Hydration Council – which say that Lucozade have breached the advertising code. Why? Because they used the word ‘fuel’. The EU code states that in order to advertise a product’s health benefit, the claim must be specific. What the copywriter SHOULD have said was:
‘Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise’
So in the future, health companies like GSK will have to say their products contribute to the ‘maintenance of performance’ instead.
Also, on another slightly more pressing note, the Lucozade claim is kind of b******s, unless you’re Usain Bolt. The National Hydration Council said:
‘For the majority of people participating in exercise and sporting activities, water is all that is needed for effective hydration. The majority of sports drinks contain calories and may only have a positive contribution to make to professional athletes and those participating in high intensity, endurance activity.’
And that ain’t you, January fat man in the gym with a lycra wedgie.
The Advertising Standards Authority have decided to start testing whether alcohol adverts are breaking the rules when it comes to exposing minors to the delights – I mean, dangers – of booze.
It’s in response to a report by Ofcom earlier this year that suggested that children may still be exposed to alcohol adverts – for example on plus one channels, or when gawping at Saturday night telly.
As a result of the report, the ASA has already been investigating 1009 possible breaches in the TV schedules. And from next year, it’s also going to assess the impact that changing viewing habits have on children’s exposure to alcohol advertising. As part of the clamp down, broadcasters will be given strict rules about what ads to run on time-shifted channels and shows that go on for bloody ever, like the X-Factor.
Maybe the ASA should also try to work out whether watching a lovely long glug of Baileys going over an ice cube makes kids mad for the booze in later life. Because I doubt it.
The advert said: “There’s no end of things around the home that can disrupt your wireless internet”, before showing images of mobile phones and radios. However, someone (probably overweight and with adenoids) complained that mobiles and radios don’t generally cause significant Wi-Fi interference.
Therefore, the advert must be misleading.
The ASA ruled: “We were concerned that the ad prominently featured a ringing mobile phone, when using such a device for telephone calls would not cause interference of the kind described.
We further noted that the ad also featured images of radios, which Ofcom had also advised did not pose a particular problem in terms of interference.”
“Whilst we acknowledged that the evidence supplied by BT showed that some non-Wi-Fi household devices could potentially affect the performance of Wi-Fi devices, we considered that the inclusion of images of mobile phones and radios implied that consumers who had those items in their homes may experience problems due to interference when we had not seen any evidence to that effect. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.”
If the ASA could promptly ban all BT television adverts with those affluent 42-year-old students, that’d be great too. Ironically, the main protagonist in the commercials is exactly the kind of berk who would complain about an advert in the manner above.
The Advertising Standards Authority is looking at banning a bus thanks to a load of wimps complaining about an advert on the side for being too scary. The complaints relate to Tulleys Farm Shocktober Fest, which is currently on over one hundred buses.
Stuart Beare, organiser of the Tulleys Farm Shocktober Fest event, said: ”The image of the zombie girl on our advertising is no worse than many images you’ll see at this time of year in newspapers and magazines, on the Halloween costumes in the supermarket aisles and even on kids’ TV programmes.”
“We have been running our Halloween events for over 15 years, and they are extremely popular, with up to 5,000 people a night going through the six haunted houses and rides.”
“We are waiting for the Advertising Standards Authority to come back to us with their judgment to see if we have to take the ads off the buses.”
An Advertising Standards Authority spokeswoman said: “We have received three complaints about the Tulleys Farm Halloween bus ads so far. We had complaints about the same ad last year, and we did not find that there were grounds for an investigation. While it’s possible the outcome will be the same this time, we will thoroughly assess each complaint we receive at this point until a decision has been made.”
Some people deserve to be frightened to a very literal death for being too wimpish, so we can only hope the ASA ignore this pointless bluster.
Fairy Liquid’s age old claim that it lasts twice a long as other brands has been contested by its closest rival, Persil, who say that the latest ads for Fairy are false and their claims are unsubstantiated. But the ASA has overruled Persil, after they found that Fairy really DOES last twice as long.
Persil got in a lather over its new campaign, featuring the slogan ‘Fairyconomy’, and a picture of bottle of Fairy with an equals sign – followed by a photo of two bottles of the ‘next best-selling brand.’ According to Nielsen data, that brand is Persil.
Persil challenged the ads, saying that it was an unfair comparison, and no mention was made of the actual size of the bottle of Fairy.
But the ASA threw out the complaint, saying that Procter and Gamble could prove it: ‘We sought expert advice on the robustness of the evidence provided by Procter & Gamble. The expert considered the test reflected the practices of consumers and demonstrated that Fairy lasted at least twice as long as Persil. On that basis, we considered the claims that Fairy lasted twice as long as the next best-selling brand had been substantiated.’
Is this the beginning of washing up liquid war? Will there be a Persil Challenge? Either way, things are going to get nasty, and er…bubbly.
Ofcom releases speed reports every six months, with its last two out in March 2013 and November 2012, however, BT were using Ofcom data from 2012 when hyping up their speed claim.
The ASA said: “Because the claims were not based on the most up-to-date data available at the time the complainant saw the ads, and because the ads did not clearly qualify the comparison, we concluded that [the ads] were misleading.”
You’ll remember the ad in question too, because it featured those irritating students who lived in a giant, spotless house, and helping the one in his thirties to fill out his online dating profile, photos were uploaded instantly – which also drew complaints.
Four people wrote to the ASA, saying the speed of the photo transfer and other online activities shown appeared to be exaggerated. The watchdog noted that consumers would think “Infinity operated at or near to the speeds shown”, which BT weren’t happy about.
The ASA ordered BT not to run the ad again, which is brilliant news, saying: “We told BT to base their claims on the most up-to-date data and to present qualifications clearly in the future.”
Have you seen Marmite’s ‘animal cruelty’ commercial? It received more than 500 complaints because some people thought the whole thing trivialised the work of animal and child welfare agencies.
In the ad, you see a bloke crying on his doorstep, while the faces of some children are pixilated to protect their identity while officers rescue neglected jars of Marmite.
Michael Buerk even makes an appearance in the ad, which saw one viewer shrieking: “Disgraceful advert! The implications are dreadful and shame on Michael Buerk for taking part! Hope you take this off air straight away!!!!” while everyone else mewed that it was all in ‘poor taste’.
Mercifully, the commercial will not be investigated by the advertising watchdog because it doesn’t think that people are so stupid and sensitive, that they’ll cry at what is clearly a spoof.
The Advertising Standards Authority said: ‘Most [viewers] would recognise the ads were a spoof. They did not trivialise issues of abuse or denigrate the work of child and animal protection services.”
Well, you won’t be seeing it anymore, as it has been banned.
In the ad, Willis moans about his broadband speeds and some character replies with: “You could try Sky Broadband, it’s totally unlimited…” adding; “Sky Broadband Unlimited is £7.50 a month, which is less than half BT’s standard price.”
The on-screen text chucks more stats into the mix: “Price for Sky TV customers. Sky Talk and line rental (£14.50 pm) required.”
One eagle-eyed viewer with nothing better to do decided to make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority because this commercial doesn’t make clear the extent of the commitment people have had to make in order to obtain the £7.50 deal, therefore, finding it all misleading.
The ASA upheld the complaint, saying that the small print is obviously much less prominent than a claim made in a voice-over, and was therefore, isn’t an appropriate method of communicating material information relating to the £7.50 price claim.
The ASA said: “In order to ensure they were sufficiently prominent, we considered that the minimum monthly price of both Sky TV and line rental should have been clearly communicated together with the £7.50 price claim. Because it was not, we concluded that the ad did not make sufficiently clear the extent of the commitment consumers had to make in order to obtain the broadband service at the advertised price of £7.50 per month, and was misleading.”
Finally, something to do with the ASA that isn’t just another example of Price-Drop TV misleading customers.
Independent brewery Brew Dog this week featured in the ASA rulings following a single complaint made against them that language they used on their site was offensive. Phrases used included:
BrewDog is a post Punk apocalyptic mother fu*ker of a craft brewery
Say goodbye to the corporate beer whores crazy for power and world domination
…and everyones favourite…
Let the sharp bitter finish rip you straight to the tits. Save up for a Luger, and drill the bastards
WHAT HAVE MY EYES JUST SEEN?! Just appalling. Vile. Repulsive. These guys should just apologise to that affected person and make assurances to the ASA that this type of despicable language will NEVER feature on their site or be associated with their brand in the future. According to the Herald Scotland, BrewDog co-founder James Watt had this to say in response to the ruling:
We actually just took down the statement on our website to make room for the equity for punks stuff. Soon, we will be putting the statement back on our website.
We believe in freedom of speech and artistic expression. We don’t believe in mindless censorship.
As for the ASA – those mother f*ckers don’t have any jurisdiction over us anyway.
This clearly raises many questions about censorship and context. Is it fair a company such as BrewDog can have the ASA dictate what is acceptable following a complaint by just the one individual? Does it make any difference that this individual was visiting a page dedicated to a brewery?
Do let us know and if you want to get involved in the discussion with BrewDog, their Twitter page is alive with thoughts and opinions. #KissMyASA