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Advertiser: Independent Newspapers Ireland Limited, Irish Life
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.31, 3.33, 4.1, 4.4
The advertorial which appeared in the Irish Independent referred to the following:
Making the most of your money with
IRISH LIFE MAPS
Map your future with the help of Irish Life
Dreaming of that sun cruise or thinking about your financial future? Whether you’re saving for short or long term goals, it’s always sensible to have some money on deposit, where you can access it when you need it. However, if all of your money is just sitting on deposit, it may not be working as hard as it could be. That’s where Irish Life could help you. Irish Life MAPS, a range of multi-asset portfolio funds, have been developed to suit your own specific investment needs and are investing aims to achieve higher returns than deposits, deposits are covered by the deposit guarantee scheme…”
The complainant considered the advertising format used to be misleading. He said the fact that the written piece was in fact an ‘advertorial’ was not clearly identified. He said the title of the piece “Commercial Report” was in smaller print away from the main body of the content and he considered that many readers would miss the fact that what they were reading was an ‘advertorial’.
The Executive asked for comments from both the advertiser and media involved.
Irish Life Response.
Irish Life said the feature in the Newspaper had been clearly identified as a commercial report and this was a fact that had been identified by the complainant in his complaint. They said the overall format and content of the feature had been designed to be clearly viewed and read as an Irish Life advertisement.
Irish Life said they had chosen press as the key media for their campaign as they considered their target audience to be newspaper readers. They said their reference to “Commercial Report” had been printed to the front centre, above the headline at the top of the page. This had been done to clearly distinguish that the piece was not editorial but rather commercial content. They said there had also been a strong use of Irish Life corporate colours in the piece and the call to action to readers had been to visit the Irish Life website for more information; this would not be typical of editorial content.
They said that the combination of factors outlined above should have re-enforced the fact that the piece in question was clearly a commercial feature.
Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited Response.
Independent Newspapers said they believed it to be evident that the piece involved was commercial and paid for content. In relation to layout they made the following observations:
• The page was headed clearly with “Commercial Report”, in a font size the same as the body copy of the text.
• Different colours, layout and design styles were used on the page to distinguish it as commercial content.
• The advertisers’ product name “Irish Life Maps” was used within the headline. And the advertiser “Irish Life” was referenced in the sub-header, again clearly referencing the piece as commercial content.
• The colour scheme used matched the colour scheme of the Irish Life advertisement on the same page, and was in significant contrast to any colour scheme used within independent editorial comment throughout the rest of the newspaper.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. The Committee considered that it was more appropriate to deal with this matter by way of a statement.
The Committee noted the size of the text which indicated that the feature was a “Commercial Report” and expressed their concern that it was smaller and significantly less prominent than the other text used in the main headline. The Committee considered that the wording ‘Commercial Report’ had not clearly indicated that the material was advertising.
They considered that the use of wording such as ‘Advertorial’ or ‘Advertising Feature’ would indicate more clearly to consumers that what they were reading was in fact a paid for commercial communication.
The Committee requested the advertisers and publishers to take note of their concerns. They asked that the clearer wording be used in a prominent fashion to indicate to consumers when material was a marketing communication.