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Advertiser: Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard
Medium: Magazine (Press Insert / Supplement)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4c, 3.31, 3.32, 3.33
The magazine which came as an insert in the Irish Independent, referenced the Irish Independent alongside its logo on the top right hand corner of the cover. The following information was provided:
The magazine celebrating the renaissance of Irish whiskey around the world
SPOILT FOR CHOICE
Demystifying whiskey and how to choose the right one for you
A SPIRIT REBORN
The history of Irish whiskey and how it is taking the world by storm
THE ANGEL'S SHARE
The alchemy of maturation explored
The bottom right hand corner of the magazine cover featured the Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard logo and was accompanied by the following text:
“In association with Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard”
Inside the magazine under the heading “Introduction” the opening line of the Editor’s welcome referred to the following:
“Welcome to the second issue of ‘Irish Whiskey’ magazine, which has kindly been supported by Irish Distillers…”
The logo for Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard appeared together with their name.
The complainants, The Great Northern Distillery, said that while the supplement purported to be a feature on the Renaissance of Irish Whiskey, it had only contained information on the whiskey produced by Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, including a piece on pot still whiskey which they considered made up less than 1% of Irish whiskey sales.
The complainants said that while the supplement had referenced the fact that it had been “Produced in Association with Pernod Ricard” there was no reference to the fact that it was an advertorial. They considered that the magazine’s link to the Irish Independent could give rise to ordinary readers believing that the piece in question was a press piece and not a marketing communication.
The advertisers said at all times they held themselves to the highest standards in ensuring they complied with the full range of applicable laws, regulations and voluntary codes for
their advertising and marketing in Ireland and globally. They said they strongly contended that their support of the Irish Whiskey supplement in the Irish Independent complied in all respects with the standards set out in the Code.
The advertisers said they were the producers of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys. They said Jameson was the world’s fastest-growing Irish whiskey having experienced 26 years of consecutive growth and hitting sales of five million cases in 2015. They said their brands were exported to 130+ markets, with over 50 of those experiencing double or triple digit growth. In providing some context to their involvement in the publication in question, they said this was the second year that the Irish Independent had produced the Irish whiskey magazine supplement. The first edition was published in 2015. At that time they said a number of Irish whiskey brand owners had been approached by the Irish Independent to become involved with the publication but they were the only ones interested in supporting the supplement as they believed the story of Irish whiskey was of broad interest to Irish audiences.
The advertisers said that they had clearly indicated that the supplement was an advertorial in the following places:
• The image ‘In Association with Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard (logo)’ appeared prominently on the front cover and again in the lower right hand corner of page 3.
• The editor’s introduction on page 3, in its first sentence, referred to Irish Distillers’ support to the publication in terms that could not be clearer: “Welcome to the second issue of ‘Irish Whiskey’ magazine, which has been kindly supported by Irish Distillers”.
The advertisers said that the complainants had, themselves, also drawn reference to the fact that “the supplement states ‘produced in association with Pernod Ricard’”.
The advertisers agreed that the advertising space had been used for their own brands, as was a fundamental part of their sponsorship agreement with the Irish Independent, but said this was a common accepted practice for commercial supplements of this nature. Notwithstanding this fact, they said they had also featured a wide-range of stakeholders in the Irish whiskey industry which showcased the broad range of companies and individuals involved beyond Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard’s own circle. They had, they said, referenced the following:
• Fionnan O’Connor, author of A Glass Apart
• Miriam Mooney, Irish Whiskey Association
• Alex Conyngham, Slane Castle Irish whiskey
• David Stapleton, Connacht Irish whiskey
• Map of all Irish whiskey distillery projects on the island of Ireland, including Great Northern Distillery and Teeling Whiskey Company
• Ross MacMathuna, Irish Whiskey Association
• Johnny Duggan, An Pucan Bar
In relation to the specific concerns raised by the complainants surrounding the information provided on Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, the advertisers said that while it was correct to say that this style of Irish whiskey represented a small portion of sales, it was clear to the reader that the piece had featured chronologically in referencing the history of this type of whiskey and the content had not been misleading.
In conclusion the advertisers said they considered their publication had complied with the requirements of the Code and had been clear that the material in question was an advertorial.
Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited concurred with what the advertisers said.
The Complaints Committee noted that the phrases “in association with” and “kindly sponsored” appeared at the foot of the magazine’s front cover and in its introduction page. The Complaints Committee considered however that the absence of reference to the advertorial nature of the material throughout the publication was likely to mislead.
They also considered that consumers may have been unaware that the brands which were predominantly featured were products under the advertiser’s group label. Accordingly, the Complaints Committee concluded that the advertising was in breach of sections 3.31, 3.32 and 3.33 of the Code.
The Complaints Committed informed the advertiser that their sponsorship of any publication should be clearly identified.