Print This Post
Product: Health Screening
Advertiser: Bluecrest Health Screening
Medium: Direct Mail
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.10, 3.23, 3.24(a), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
An unaddressed direct mailing from Bluecrest Health Screening included the heading:
“Health Check Invitation”
The words “Health Check Invitation” were visible through the window of the envelope.
Under the heading on the mailing, details of the venue and date were provided. The mailing also stated:
“We all rely on our doctor’s support – especially when we’re ill. But many people realise it’s much better not to get unwell in the first place. Whilst there’s no guarantee of avoiding ill health, there are many things you can do to help stay healthy. I’m pleased to invite you to a Health Screening Clinic we are holding at Hotel Westport on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. I would be most grateful if you could call us on 1800 992 246 to confirm your appointment time. Please note, no appointment will be reserved until you call.
The majority of strokes show no warning signs before striking. Annually, around 10,000 strokes occur in Ireland with 80% affecting individuals over the age of 60. This is because as you age fat can build up in your arteries increasing your risk from cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart attack and angina.”
The mailing comprised of four pages with pages 2 and 3 providing full details of the tests carried out. On page four of the mailing, details of the cost of the service were provided.
A footnote at the end of the mailing included:
“Why have you been invited to a private health check? Bluecrest are holding private health checks in your local area and we are writing to invite you to attend a series of checks relevant for the over 50’s. You are under no obligation to attend.”
The complainant objected to the mailing on the following grounds:
The complainant considered that the mailing was misleading as they initially thought that it was a Government led initiative as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that was aimed at older people.
The complainant considered that the mailing, being aimed at older people, was preying on their fear and vulnerability around their own health during a time of a public health concerns around COVID-19.
The complainant did not consider that it was ethical to encourage people who were classed as vulnerable to go outside during a time when they were being asked to stay indoors.
The advertisers advised that they had had to let a number of staff go as a result of the pandemic but that they would respond in due course.
The ASAI Executive wrote a number of times seeking a response but no response on the substances of the complaint was received.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the issues outlined by the advertiser. While the Committee acknowledged the challenges experienced by the advertisers, they expressed their disappointment and reminded the advertiser that there was an onus on advertisers to ensure that their advertising is in conformity with the Code.
In the absence of a response to the complaint, the Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Sections 3.10, 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
In the absence of a response to the complaint, the Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Sections 3.10 and 3.23 of the Code.
In the absence of a response to the complaint, the Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Sections 3.10 and 3.24(a) of the Code.
The advertising must not reappear in its current form.