Posts Tagged ‘asa’
Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips said it will complain to the Advertising Standards Authority if talks break down, but for now, no formal complaint has been made. Sainsbury’s have already made one such complaint over the price comparison campaign.
Philips said: “We are in discussions with Tesco over it. We find it challenging when one third of the basket is not successfully compared. We are not sure that that’s the right message to be out there.”
A few weeks ago, Morrisons customer director Crawford Davidson said: “Tesco’s Price Promise provides a false assurance that it will compensate customers when Morrisons is cheaper, which it mostly is.”
This is a pressing concern for Morrisons as it was revealed a 1.8% fall in first quarter like-for-like sales. Morrisons will also be teaming up with Ocado to bring an online delivery service too, but if Tesco keep misleading customers (allegedly, allegedly), they they’ll get nowhere fast.
It was more fun writing about the horse meat scandal.
You would think that having the threat of a Watchdog investigation and previous ASA adjudications against you would make be a bit more careful with any future marketing or advertising. Not sit-up Ltd t/a Bid TV though. They clearly couldn’t care less.
The ASA this week released their rulings which show that a complaint was made against sit-up Ltd t/a Bid TV because they made some rather strange claims about a camera they were looking to shift. One presenter stated, “Over to Nicola though, for which this is the lowest price ever for a camera. Brilliant.” The second presenter stated, “It certainly is, Sal, and we’re talking Canon. We’re talking one of the best names … What I’m going to do for you here is the lowest price you’ve ever seen … it’s the lowest price ever … so, lowest price ever, four easy instalments …”
The lowest price you’ve ever seen!? Well, that should be dirt cheap then. £125? Oh.
Bid TV said that their claims that this was the lowest price the camera had been sold for was solely relating to just Bid TV. They said it had previously been offered for £1 during a “megadrop” feature on Price Drop TV in January 2013 but that the two channels although both part of sit-up, were separate.
The ASA, in finding against sit-up TV considered that by stating “this is the lowest price ever for a camera … the lowest price you’ve ever seen … it’s the lowest price ever …” did not make it clear that they were only referring to their channel and was therefore a breach of BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation), 3.12 (Exaggeration) and 3.18 (Prices).
Sort it out, sit-up Ltd.
Ever since Warrington-born sausage roll botherer Kerry Katona came on the scene brandishing with her relentlessly chirpy coke habit, she’s been in a shedload of trouble.
Now, her new ad for payday loan company Cash Lady has been banned for being a blatant attempt to encourage daft young lasses to get into debt. (Cash Lady offers a gobsmacking APR of 2000%).
‘We’ve all had money troubles at some point, I know I have.’ drones a pissed-sounding Kerry. ‘You could see your bank and fill in loads of forms, but is there an easier way to get a loan … So if you need extra cash go to http://www.cashlady.co.uk. Fast cash for fast lives.’
Responsible, eh? Well the ASA didn’t think so, and it got pulled after receiving 29 complaints. PDB UK, who trades under the Cash Lady, defended their decision to use Kerry, saying their customers would be able to relate to her. (Yikes!)
Katona, who was declared bankrupt in 2008 after she spent all her money on Aston Martins, marching powder and chicken jalfrezi, is the perfect poster girl for debt, but the ASA upheld complaints that it encouraged others to be as stupid as she is. Changes must be made before the ad can go out again, they said.
Perhaps the new ad should instead show Kerry in disarray, the wind whistling through the hole in her septum, raking through some bins at the back of Iceland for a stray prawn ring and 250 Hoisin duck filo parcels?
Everybody universally loathed the original Go Compare ads, so a new campaign was created to acknowledge the fact it was so hated, featuring the Go Compare man being kicked in the stomach by Stuart Pearce and blown up by Sue Barker in a balaclava. Clever eh? Oh I bet there were some wry meta chuckles in the idea pod that day.
But those smart arsed advertisers have been hoisted with their own petards, because now THOSE adverts have become the most complained about ads of 2012 – with nearly 2000 complaints.
31,298 complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority last year, mostly from people with nothing better to do. Thanks to the big response to the Go Compare ads, complaints about financial services ads skyrocketed by 86%. The Wonga ads, with their cunningly hidden terms and conditions, were also on the ASA list of doom.
People also took exception to Channel 4’s ‘Bigger’, ‘Fatter’ ‘Gypsier’ campaign to promote My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, which was third on the list with 373 complaints.
But nobody is more hated than the Go Compare man. It’s enough to make poor Gio Compario sing a heartbreaking aria from Madame Butterfly as he waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his Vauxhall Nova.
Unsurprisingly, the Advertising Standards Authority have banned an advert for Pussy. Pussy, if you didn’t know, is an energy drink, and the company have run a number of commercials that have played on the word which of course, usually means vagina.
The ASA ruled that one poster which states: “Pussy – The drink’s pure, it’s your mind that’s the problem” won’t be appearing again. The ‘I [heart] Pussy’ ads are fine, clearly.
In total, Pussy has received 156 complaints, which most people whinging about the implied sexual explicitness. Others felt it was derogatory towards women and those with religious beliefs. The rest felt children shouldn’t see the word ‘pussy’ out in public, thereby alerting kids to the slang version of a word they previously thought meant ‘cat’.
The ASA ruled that while the ad did not portray women in a derogatory way or offend religious people, it was sexually explicit and likely to cause widespread offence.
Pussy said it had not intended to offend, and that “the slang meaning of the word was not one that [it] had created, and that any problems were only caused by those who were twisting the meaning of an innocent word”.
Have you heard of Sit-Up TV? They’re the people behind Bid TV and Price Drop TV and they’re being closely watched by clearly irritated watchdogs and the ASA are unhappy about 17 plugs they’ve made.
It seems they’ve been generous with the truth, flogging a gold plated bracelet as solid gold, one of the presenters claiming that bedding came with “free P&P” when in actual fact there was a charge. There’s also some fleeces that were being sold that ‘normally 35 quid a go’, when in actual fact that you could get ‘em for £4.99. There’s also a problem that, in a jewellery sale, there was only one pair of earrings and three opal rings, when dozens of viewers were calling a £1.53 phoneline after the items had been sold.
How about the auction for a perfume which was sold ‘in Macy’s', when it actually didn’t stock it? How about the cleaning fluid that was unsafe to use without gloves?
A spokesman for the channel said: “In the three months since January we have conducted 25,375 live auctions, making the rulings represent approximately 0.05% of overall output.”
What has really worked ASA up is that they had to stay up all night watching Peter Simon having a nervous breakdown.
If the ASA find that you continually do not comply with UK Advertising Code they get in touch to let you know where you are failing and this should give you adequate time to put right those wrongs.
If you continue to make various claims within your advertising and choose to ignore the ASA, you get added to their list of “Non-compliant online advertisers”. That is exactly what has happened to Radisson Blu, the upscale brand of the worldwide Radisson hotel chain.
The ASA found that Radisson Blu were misleading customers looking to book hotel rooms by quoting prices exclusive of VAT on its website. This is in breach of CAP (Committee of Advertising Practices) requirement that VAT exclusive prices can be only be given if every person receiving this price quote is not required to pay VAT or be able to recover it.
CAP say that they have contacted Radisson Blu on numerous occasions yet they still have not amended their website to comply with this requirement. We found it strange that such a high profile company like Radisson Blu would want to remain on a list of businesses having such a sheer disregard for advertising standards so we contacted the ASA to ask what efforts Radisson Blu have made:
A period of grace is granted, in this case 3 months, to advertisers to give them time to amend their advertising.
We then follow-up this communication after the grace period has ended, contacting advertisers who are not complying.
We then give another warning, requesting assurances from an advertiser that they will comply otherwise we will apply sanctions.
If assurances are not received we apply sanctions – Radisson Blu Edwardian were added to our list of non-compliant online advertisers.
I should mention that we are in discussions with Radisson Blu Edwardian and are hopeful that they will begin complying soon. If they do, we will remove them from the wall entry.
So it seems that Radisson Blu are on their way to being allowed off the naughty step but we do find it strange that they have had more than 4 months to amend their systems which, considering all other hotels are complying, seems to be long enough.
Just a quick glance at the other businesses on the ASA list tell you that this isn’t a place that such a reputable business would want to be appearing.
Virgin Media have been forced to drop an ad that claimed they gave ‘unlimited’ broadband after BSkyB and BT secretly teamed up and grassed them up to the ASA. Virgin Media users will know that their service isn’t exactly unlimited, and many will have found their download speeds cut by 50%.
This is bad news for Branson’s internet wing, as their whole marketing campaign is based around being faster than their rivals.
The Advertising Standards Authority received three complaints (the two from BSkyB and BT, and another from a member of the public) who said the advert was misleading consumers, saying that Virgin Media operates a “traffic management” policy that significantly cuts the internet speed of users who download a lot.
Virgin Media argued that a user would have to download 11,000Mb at peak times to have their broadband speed slowed temporarily, which wouldn’t affect 97.7% of their customers. However, ASA pointed out that consumers would invariably want to partake in “bandwidth intensive activities” thanks to Virgin’s marketing.
“In that context we considered that the restriction of reducing users’ download speeds by 50% was not moderate and that any reference to it was likely to contradict, rather than clarify, the claims that the service was ‘unlimited’,” the ASA said. “We therefore concluded that the claim ‘unlimited’ was misleading”.
The ASA banned the advertisement and told Virgin Media that they can no longer claim to be ‘unlimited’ or crow about ‘no caps’, unless they change the way they do things.
A spokeswoman for Virgin Media have come out swinging, saying: “Our customers receive unlimited, superfast broadband and, even if they’re one of the tiny minority traffic managed for a short period of time, Virgin Media customers can download more than other ‘unlimited’ services, including BT Infinity.”
“Unlike BT or Sky, all Virgin Media customers can download as much as they like, safe in the knowledge we’ll never charge them more.”
The ASA is going to town on those who sell theatre tickets with “misleading hidden costs”, after ruling against four theatre websites. If they could have a pop at pointless costs attached to gig tickets as well, that’d be great.
The Old Vic, Ambassador Theatre Group, the AKA Group’s site for A Chorus of Disapproval and Charing Cross Theatre all gave misleading ticket prices, said the watchdog, noting that up to £3 extra in costs were being slapped on, and it wasn’t exactly clear why.
ASA’s chief executive Guy Parker said: “We are clamping down on misleading hidden costs. The rulings about advertised prices for theatre tickets make clear that sellers must include all compulsory fees and charges in quoted ticket prices and be more up-front about booking fees.”
“These pricing practices are simply not fair. They draw us in on a false promise. Our rulings send a clear signal to advertisers: sort out your pricing so we all get a fair deal.”
A statement from the Ambassador Theatre Group said: “The ASA advised us that informing customers at the beginning of the booking process that a fee or charge may apply and to then confirm the amount of that fee later in the booking process needed revision.”
“We have embarked on a series of improvements to the information on our website to ensure that ticket prices and any fees charged for purchasing online are clearly available to customers at the beginning of the booking process as well.”
They then flounced off quoting Shakespeare before talking to themselves in the mirror, blind drunk on gin and turps, before taking it out on a lackey and trying to make improper passes at them. Probably.
ASA roundup: Turning dogs into unicorns, Keira Knightley too sexy too early and feeding pets Christmas pudding…February 13th, 2013 • 4 Comments
We genuinely look forward to Wednesdays here at BitterWallet as it is the day which we get to take a look at what the British public have been complaining about for the past few weeks. Whilst some retailers are certainly deserving of a ticking off, we cant help but think some people might just have a little too much time on their hands.
Some of the highlights from the recent Rulings publication from the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority)…
Boots ran a television advert which showed a child using a hair dryer on a dog whilst whispering “Let’s make you into a unicorn”. 21 viewers took issue with this advert and believed that it might encourage children to make their dogs look beautiful with a blow dry whilst not actually turning them into a unicorn. Boots argued that this advert was not in any way looking to encourage people to use a hair dryer on a dog and if it wanted to, the dog could just have walked away. The ASA agreed and the complaints were not upheld.
One complainant had said that she used a hair dryer on a dog as a child and was bitten…
The next company that found itself in the firing line was Chanel Ltd. As ever, a high profile celebrity graced one of their alluring adverts, and this time it was the turn of Keira Knightley. Just one person found the advert, during a break in Ice Age 2, was overtly sexual with Keira Knightley wrapped in a bed sheet and crawling towards the photographer before asking him to lock the door.
How that poor family can watch Ice Age 2 ever again is beyond me. Disgusting scenes. The complaint was actually upheld and must now only be screened at a time of the day more appropriate to its sexual nature.
Lastly, Morrisons were the subject of 234 complaints following one of their festive adverts. In this advert a young boy passed a Christmas pudding to his dog for him to eat. The point of the advert was for Morrisons to promote their other dessert range by showing that Christmas pudding isnt to the liking of the whole family and that they therefore have many other options.
Complainants (including vets) said that the contents of a Christmas pudding could be lethal to a dog and should not be fed to them. The ASA decided to not uphold these complaints as the dog did not eat the Christmas pudding and therefore it should be clear that dogs tend not to like Christmas pudding. It was a lighthearted advert and animal owners should already know that feeding their dogs certain foods will not be ideal. They therefore felt there was not need to take any action against this advert.
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.
There’s a number of adverts that are pretty sexist toward men, but for the most part, blokes can’t be bothered getting sufficiently worked up about it to do anything about it. Take for example, the obvious objectification of men in the Diet Coke commercials. Women cooing at a bloke trying to get on with his job. He should take ‘em to a tribunal, but he won’t.
There was also the Asda Christmas ad which basically said that blokes don’t do anything at Christmas because ‘mum’ does it all. And oddly, this riled enough people to warrant over 600 complaints to the ASA, who in turn, cleared the campaign of being sexist.
Watch the ad below, or remember that one where someone who used to be in Hollyoaks darts around the festive period soundtracked by a deeply irritating punk version ‘Silent Night’.
Asda weren’t having it that they were being sexist, saying that women really do everything a Christmas. “Extensive consumer research and feedback indicated that the majority of their customers identified with the ad’s representation of Christmas,” they said. “Eight out of ten mothers [of 1,896 surveyed] … believed the ad reflected common experience, rather than outdated stereotypes.”
You’ll note that they asked nearly 2,000 mothers there, which may have skewed the results. Either way, ASA said that the spot was “not likely to be seen as condoning or encouraging harmful discriminatory behaviour, or reinforcing negative stereotypes of men or women in general, and, for those reasons, considered it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”
Because if men are guilty of laziness with anything, it is complaining about things that make us look stupid.
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.”
Those cruel sods at Boots are licking their wounds today after an advert for an “organic” baby shampoo got banned after a watchdog found that, basically, it wasn’t organic at all.
Middle class parents will be rejoicing that someone has called bullshit on these awful swine who have been making mumsy and papa put nasty chemicals on the little heads of the Abigails and Herberts of Britain.
The really shocking news is that fewer than 5% of the ingredients in the product were natural!
Boots promoted their Little Me Organics, Oh So Gentle Hair and Body Wash, as being borderline kind of a baby’s head and said on their website that the bonce goo contained “pear, mallow and organic aloe vera”, adding that the product’s natural ingredients were perfect to “clean and moisturise your baby’s delicate hair and sensitive skin”.
The Advertising Standards Authority investigated a complaint and it transpired that the advert was misleading, with Boots pointing out that, when it comes to cosmetics, there’s actually no legal definition over what product can be called organic.
Boots added that a “reasonable” consumer would know that only some ingredients would be organic, admitting that of the overall content they totalled “less than 5%”.
However, the ASA said that a number of independent certification groups all defined a product as organic only if it had a “high percentage” of natural ingredients. ”The ad must not appear again in its current form,” said the ASA. “We told Boots not to promote the product in future marketing communications unless they included a prominent statement disclaiming the implied ‘organic’ claim.”
We can all now breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Thundering herbert, eminently punchable, obscenely wealthy and, of course, Tory chairman Grant Shapps, is to be investigated by the ASA over a ‘get rich quick’ business he set up while he was posing as a web guru called Michael Green.
The Advertising Standards Authority is looking into the allegation that the public was misled with the presentation of “Michael Green” as a genuine businessman with a personal fortune of $28m (£17m). HowToCorp.com is the name of the company co-founded by Shapps with some character called ‘Sebastian Fox’.
“The complainant has challenged whether the website is misleading because it implies Sebastian Fox and Michael Green are successful businessmen whereas they believe neither are real people, and whether the testimonials are genuine,” a spokesman for the ASA said.
Shapps has refuting the idea he has deceived anyone while pointing out that he did go by the name Michael Green in a bid to keep his business and political careers separate. And then there’s the small matter of the photograph showing Shapps in Vegas at a meeting with a badge that says ‘Michael Green’ on it.
In his business, Shapps Green said that he could help people earn ”$20,000 in 20 days guaranteed or your money back”, but of course, he won’t give out this foolproof information out for free to the general public so we can nix this recession overnight, will he?
This comes on the back of Google blacklisted a network of websites run by Shapps for breaches of copyright (or, in plain English, ‘borrowing’ content from other sites wholesale and creaming off Google ad revenue from them… ALLEGEDLY).
All this news, just in time for Shapps starring role at the imminent Tory Party conference. How lovely.