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Advertiser: Dublin Business School
Medium: Internet (Third Party Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
The headline of the sponsored article stated the following:
“CAO Decisions: How to Pick The Right Course For You
Still deciding what to do?”
The article described the author’s experiences regarding self-induced pressure to pick the right college and course and described a range of courses that the Dublin Business School had on offer. At the end of the article, text in a box stated
Dublin Business School
DBS is Ireland’s largest independent third level college, offering a wide range of accredited, industry-led courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level along with career enhancing part-time programmes, professional diplomas and government funded Springboard+ options.”
The complainant considered the heading of the article to be misleading and instead of offering advice on choosing CAO options it promoted the Dublin Business School.
The advertisers said that the article in question was clearly labelled as sponsored content both at the top and the bottom of the article and was accompanied by a DBS logo and profile description. They said they felt it was clear that this was a promotional piece, paid for by DBS to promote the college.
Regarding the choice of wording in the article's headline, the advertisers said they were careful to suggest that Dublin Business School may be ‘the right choice for you’, rather than simply ‘the right choice’. They said they were also conscious of their responsibilities within the guidelines set out by CAO for the advertising of higher level courses to school-leavers.
The advertisers acknowledged that, in this instance, some confusion had taken place regarding the objective of the article, and that they would make every effort, in consultation with their advertising agency and partners, to ensure that this was an isolated incident.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the article in question was labelled as sponsored content at the top and the bottom of the article, and was accompanied by the advertisers’ logo.
The Committee noted that the headline of the article gave the impression that it would contain content referencing how to choose a course, rather than a review of courses offered by the advertisers. They considered that the headline had the potential to mislead regarding the content of the sponsored article. In the circumstances they concluded the advertisement was in breach of Code sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10.
The advertisement must not appear in the current form again.