A text message sent by the advertiser to the complainant’s client list:
“This is (advertiser used their name) and I will be operating a pick up/drop off service in Loughrea for the foreseeable future. I will be working independently and should you not be able to get (complainant’s name) at Loughrea Taxi, feel free to contact me. As I operate on a limo licence, I cannot just pick you up. You can ring or text me and book this way.”
The complainant said that the advertiser did not have permission to use his name and his business name in his advertisement.
The advertisers said that the advertisement was a text to a number of people known to them and that the wording of the text was factual, correct and not misleading. They also said that they did not consider that the text was a marketing communication and that no mention had been made to any person’s house or other possessions.
The Executive advised the advertisers of the definition of a marketing communication in the ASAI Code, Section 1.1 (b) -
A marketing communication includes, but is not limited to, advertising, as well as other techniques such as promotions, sponsorships and direct marketing, and should be interpreted broadly to mean any form of communication produced directly by, or on behalf of, advertisers intended primarily to promote products, to influence the behaviour of and/or to inform those to whom it is addressed.
The Executive also advised the advertiser of the extent of the Code’s remit, specifically Section 2.2 (c) –
Marketing communications in brochures, leaflets, circulars, mailings, fax transmissions, emails and text transmissions.
In the light of the above two sections of the Code, the Executive advised the advertisers that the SMS message sent by them was an advertisement under the Code and therefore requested their comment on the issues raised by the complainant.
No further response was received.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Complaints Committee expressed concern, however, at the advertisers’ failure to respond to the request for further comment from the Executive. They reminded them that there is an onus on advertisers to ensure that their advertising is in conformity with the Code.
While taking account of the response from the advertisers the Committee concluded that the advertisement was in breach of Code Section 3.27 of the Code.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form again. The Committee advised the advertisers to ensure that they have permission in advance, before referring to a named person in their advertising.