Posts Tagged ‘asa’

pg tips tea bag1 287x300 Pyramid bags are officially better than round ones, says ASA Tea aficionados have argued the toss about different shaped tea bags since the dawn of time (well, ok, that’s not exactly true).

But hotheaded tea drinking chimps everywhere are now going to have to concede that PG Tips pyramid bags DO let out more flavour than Tetley’s round ones.

Tetley were furious when Johnny Vegas and that godforsaken monkey appeared to trash their round teabags in a recent advert. They sit at the kitchen table and do a test to see which teabags are best, with Monkey concluding that:

‘PG Tips uses pyramid bags, so if we test one against a regular tea bag … you’ll see the tea has got more room to move, freeing the great fresh taste for a perfect cuppa.’

Tetley said that although they weren’t mentioned in the ad, it was obvious that as they are purveyors of round teabags, they were being targeted and ‘denigrated’ by a knitted primate.

BUT the Advertising Standards Authority upheld PG Tips claims, and enraged the Tetley teafolk by saying that pyramid bags WERE better, and that their round ones basically suck.

‘Unilever provided test results which showed that the infusion of tea, at 40 seconds and two minutes into brewing, was greater when using a pyramid teabag than when using a round teabag. We therefore concluded that the ad did not exaggerate the capability and performance of the advertised product and was not misleading.’

FIGHT!

TalkTalk mislead customers over cheap claim

July 10th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

TalkTalk 300x225 TalkTalk mislead customers over cheap claimTalkTalk have been ToldOff by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for “misleading” customers with their claims that they offered Britain’s cheapest unlimited broadband.

They don’t.

A few people grassed TalkTalk up to the ASA about their three ad-campaigns were a load of cobblers, especially the claim that they were offering “the UK’s lowest priced, totally unlimited broadband”.

One of the grasses was BT and the ASA ruled in their favour, saying that Talktalk failed to substantiate their claims and that the ISP’s price comparisons also showed inaccuracies, which altogether, meant that TalkTalk had “misled customers”.

The ruling said (and you can read it here): “Most consumers would believe that, at the time the ad appeared, TalkTalk offered the cheapest unlimited broadband package in Britain, in comparison to both their competitors’ standard and promotional prices.

“Because that was not the case, we concluded that the claim was misleading.”

A TalkTalk spokesmachine said in a statement: “We’re committed to making Britain better off and consistently offer our customers Britain’s best prices for TV, broadband, mobile and home phone. As such, TalkTalk homes make significant savings in comparison to our competitors.”

“We note the ASA’s comments about ensuring comparison text is prominent and look forward to continuing to provide Britain’s lowest prices.”

Then, for good measure, supergrass BT got slapped by the ASA too, for a mailout that stated, “SKY TO SWITCH OFF O2 BROADBAND BY APRIL 2014″ on the envelope. They too, were being misleading.

websites  People confused by copycat ‘government’ websites Confusion reigns amongst consumers, who are regularly bamboozled and misled by fake websites posing as official ones – particularly copycat government websites.

Savvy web users might be able to spot a rubbish fake crown logo or a web address called ‘giveusyourdetails.gov.passport.’ But others are regularly being led down the garden path, according to research by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA is so concerned about this that it’s launching a new awareness campaign, which will lead people to official government web pages and away from the dodgy ones.

It’s also considering tougher enforcement of fake sites and advertisers, pledging to work with Google and Bing to weed out the infiltrators.

Although 8 out of 10 people surveyed could spot the official passport application site, some of the other sites posing as government sites are quite convincing. Only half guessed that a site replacing Births, Deaths and Marriage certificates was actually a commercial website.

‘We’re focused on tackling any sites that continue to mislead, in support of other enforcement activity.’ Said Miles Lockwood from the ASA. ‘We’re also working with search engines and government to ensure the public are protected. In the meantime, always start at gov.uk to access a government service.’

Jaguar ads banned for reckless attitude

June 25th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Jaguar Jaguar ads banned for reckless attitudeThe Advertising Standards Authority have banned some promo films for Jaguar because they promoted dangerous driving and the like.

Spoilsports.

The four video ads on Jaguar’s website showed a car razzing through a tunnel and crossing over the single white lines in the middle of a road, before driving across a mountain road at night. That’s not advisable in terms of the Highway Code, but c’mon! It is meant to be fantasy, right?

Another clip showed a car driving at high speed, while voice-overs said: “The adaptive dynamics technology reacts 20 times faster than the human eye. It delivers a smooth drive by continuously analysing speed, steering and body movement of the car 500 times a second, giving every journey an instinctive, stable and agile ride.”

The adverts ended with the Jaguar logo alongside text reading: “Jaguar. How alive are you?” to the sound of an engine being revved to oblivion.

One stupid viewer complained that the ads were irresponsible because they “glorified speed and encouraged dangerous driving”.

Just like Shreddies adverts encourage Nestle to force grandmothers to work in cereal knitting sweatshops when they should be enjoying their retirement.

Jaguar said that their videos were shot on the open highway in Switzerland on closed sections of road on the Susten Pass and the Grimsel Pass. Their caption didn’t make this clear, but really, the fact it was an advert should’ve been clue enough.

The company said the adverts’ were there to emphasise the technical features and abilities of the cars and the clips where we saw cars crossing lanes were there to highlight the lightweight construction for cornering stability and safety. They added that these adverts “at no time demonstrated any dangerous driving”, and there was no indication that speed limits were being broken.

The ASA disagreed, saying that the impression they got was Jaguar were focusing on speed and acceleration, rather than safety because of all the high tempo music and revving engines. They also noted that the cars were driving in a manner that would be “irresponsible and illegal” on a public road in the UK.

The ASA said: “We considered that the cars were being handled in a dangerous manner that might encourage motorists to drive irresponsibly. Because we considered that speed was the main message of the ads and the ads portrayed the cars being driven in a dangerous manner, we concluded the ads were irresponsible and condoned dangerous driving.”

They ruled that Jaguar mustn’t show these ads again and that they shouldn’t “portray speed as the focus of an ad in future… and not to portray driving behaviour that might encourage motorists to drive irresponsibly in future”.

Jesus Christ Almighty.

green houses 300x225 ASA ruling to open floodgates for anti Green Deal claims?There could be more bad news for the Government’s blighted Green Deal scheme. A new ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) could mean that Green Deal operators face having to hand back tens of thousands of pounds to consumers after the Green Deal Finance Company was found to have mis-sold the cash-saving benefits of the scheme in their advertising literature.

The ASA ruled on three separate issues- marketing claims that the Green Deal payment plans are the cheapest on the market, assurances that the so-called Golden Rule would deliver “peace of mind” with financial savings that were equal to or greater than the costs attached to the energy bill and the failure to publish details of hidden charges, including arrangement and assessment fees, as well as exit penalties.

While the ASA ruling itself does not affect Green Deals already done- it merely requires the offending advertisements be removed or revised- consumer lawyers are warning that the ruling could set a precedent for disgruntled consumers to seek redress for Green Deal mis-selling.

Consumer law solicitor Kerry Gwyther, a partner at leading national law firm TLT, explained that while the ASA ruling does not necessarily mean potential Green Deal mis-selling cases are in the bag, it is often a good starting point for claims of misrepresentation.

“The ASA normally use Trading Standards’ levels of determining misleading claims and its rulings do go a long way in helping to present a successful case. While there is no automatic right of action, the ASA ruling very often means the advertising is in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations that can lead to further action being taken,” he explained.

“A consumer is entitled to take proceedings using Common Law and some parts of the Consumer Protection legislation if, as a result of this ruling, they feel they have been misled into signing up for the Green Deal. If a consumer has been induced to enter into an agreement by misleading claims, a court may well find in the consumer’s favour and they may well be able to walk away from the contract without further payments or seek damages for any losses suffered” he added, sagely.

Advertising law specialist Mike Northern agreed , commenting that consumers would now be able to use the ASA ruling in any future court action, suggesting that “a judge would be influenced to find in favour of an application supported by an ASA adjudication like this.”

The complaint was brought by South East-based Crystal Home Improvements, who were very concerned that consumers were being treated unfairly, and not at all concerned that Green Deal alternatives might be cutting into their profits.

A spokesman for the company told ClickGreen: “We are happy with the ASA decision that confirmed our suspicion that the Green Deal was being mis-sold to consumers. This is not the first time we have successfully challenged the Green Deal and we will continue to highlight the many disadvantages of this poorly run scheme.”

However, before getting too excited, it is important to note that the Green Deal Finance Company itself is a business to business organisation, and the ASA noted that leaflet ruled as misleading was probably not viewed by a vast number of people. Any claims of mis-selling would have to be made as a result of being fraudulently enticed by advertising using similar claims to those outlawed in this ruling.

zzzw EE say theyre Britains most reliable broadband   Oh no youre not!EE proclaimed that they were “Britain’s most reliable broadband for staying connected”, and then the Advertising Standards Authority politely informed them that they weren’t, smacking their legs in the process.

The company based their claim on Ofcom broadband tests, which showed that EE achieved the lowest rate of packet loss, jitter and latency. “As those measures were mostly concerned with real-time activities such as VoIP and video calling, EE thought a claim which focused on reliability as it related to those activities was appropriate,” the ASA stated in its adjudication.

However, grassing them up were BT who challenged the claims, saying that EE’s scores in each of those categories were not better than theirs to a “statistically significant degree” and failed to take the wireless router performance into account.

ASA sided with class swot, BT, adding that Ofcom’s report “clearly stated that those differences were not statistically significant when compared to BT” and that EE “had not provided any evidence to demonstrate superior wireless router performance in relation to the maintenance of a connection”.

EE can’t run their adverts in the current form from now on.

However, EE did manage to flick the Vs behind teacher’s back toward after BT complained that EE’s claims to have Britain’s first plug-and-play fibre broadband router were wrong.

The ASA found that EE’s Bright Box beat BT’s Home Hub 5, to which BT screamed “OH GOD IT IS SO UNFAIR!”

BT slapped by ASA for fibre fibs

May 7th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

bt logo BT slapped by ASA for fibre fibsBT have been told off by the Advertising Standards Authority for making promises about their fibre broadband speeds that they can’t actually see through. Potential customers are getting told one thing and receiving something quite different once they’ve signed up.

So what’s the problem? Are they just flat-out lying?

Well, BT have said that their line-checking service isn’t as accurate as it should be, mainly thanks to the broadband wing not being able to get sufficient data from its own infrastructure arm.

The ASA weren’t impressed that one customer got told that they could receive fibre speeds of 33Mbits per second via checkeronline , but that wasn’t possible at all. BT argued that these were “typical” speeds for what 80% of users would receive, but confessed that this particular user would not be able to achieve the quoted speeds “due to a variety of reasons”.

“Because the website included a download claim related to a specific address, which was not available to that consumer, we concluded the ad was misleading,” the ASA said, reminding that BT that it really have to make sure their checker “provided accurate information” as speed was one of the pivotal reasons why people signed up for broadband contracts.

BT said that they would sort it out and that the dog ate their homework and that BT Retail doesn’t really talk to Openreach and the whole thing is a bit of a mess.

“Openreach confirmed that they were a functionally separate organisation to BT’s consumer facing divisions, and that they provided wholesale services to their communications providers and that included information services such as line speed estimates,” the ASA said.

While children might be taken in by those healthy, bouncing blackcurrants, everybody else knows that it’s just purple sugar liquid which has the potential to create a dental apocalypse.

ribena plus big 300x300 Ribena isn’t as good for you as it thinks it is, says ASA

Apart from, it would seem, Ribena itself, whose latest promotion has been banned because they’ve over-exaggerated health claims. The website for Ribena Plus, which has no added sugar (that’s ‘added’ sugar), went a little bit over the top about its vitamin content.

By saying ‘vitamin A… helps keep your vision in tip top condition’ and ‘Vitamin C… it helps immunity’, they flouted EU guidelines and have found themselves in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA has ruled that they failed to convey the meaning of the EU’s health claims to shoppers, because they implied that vitamins optimise the body’s performance rather than just maintaining it.

‘Ribena Plus – maintains normal function!’ – catchy, eh?

This is the second brand formerly made by GlaxoSmithKline that has been in trouble with the ASA for overstating health claims. Lucozade Sport’s ads were banned when it claimed that it ‘hydrates better than water.’

Still, you can’t really blame them. Attempting to translate convoluted EU health guidelines for the average consumer is a copywriting minefield – let alone trying to make it jolly and rhyming and blackcurrant-y…

Wonga ad banned for glossing over 5,853% APR

April 9th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

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.

wonga ladies 300x282 Wonga ad banned for glossing over 5,853% APR

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?

We all know that alcohol creates a very specific kind of self confidence. The kind of self confidence that makes you pull your pants down, draw two ‘W’s on your butt cheeks, and flash your bumhole to people on a motorway bridge.

WKD Blue WKD ads banned on Facebook for promoting fun effects of alcohol

But the ASA has banned WKD’s Facebook ads for linking alcohol with self confidence with their so called ‘Wicked 8-ball predictions’ – which stated ‘You will refuse to do karaoke- at first.’ In their ‘About’ section they also said: ‘Where there’s good times, there’s WKD. We’re all about getting together with the best people and enjoying yourself – especially at the weekend. Like us and get involved.’

The Young Alcohol Council are angry that the company behind the disgusting blue elixir implied that alcohol is capable of altering mood and that the presence of booze was the key to having a good time with your friends. (Which of course, it is – they’re always a bunch of boring bastards when they’re sober).

Beverage Brands UK Ltd., who own WKD, said they hadn’t breached Facebook’s guidelines, but that it would remove certain posts. The ASA acknowleged that no alcohol was shown being consumed, but that their mascot – an idiot in a hat called ‘Head of WKD Weekends’ – implied that a successful weekend could only be achieved with the addition of WKD.

Of course, we all know that’s not true. It can only be achieved with the addition of beer, vodka and a nice crisp white wine. Oh, and drugs.

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.

Bleurgh.

‘Sexy’ e-cig ad makes 1,156 people gag

February 26th, 2014 4 Comments By Lucy Sweet

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?

Angry Beavers ad ban

February 19th, 2014 1 Comment By Lucy Sweet

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.
beaver Angry Beavers ad ban

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…

tax letter Dont get caught by copycat websites  especially when filing your Self Assessment return by 31 JanuaryIf 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.

Lucozade ad banned by ASA

January 8th, 2014 7 Comments By Lucy Sweet

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.

lucozade sport 179x300 Lucozade ad banned by ASA

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’

Catchy, eh?

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.