The ASAI’s objective is to ensure that all ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful and, over 40 years of operation, we have dealt with over 36,000 complaints.
The ASAI Code covers all product sectors in any media or platform. Awareness, education and informational ads are all totally acceptable with the Code, but each ad is judged on its own particular merits, taking account of the content and the context.
There has been a lot of commentary on the recent ASAI decision in relation to the P&G advertisement “Tampax and Tea”.
There were four issues raised by complainants and these were
Issue 1 – General Offence: Complaints Upheld
Issue 2 – Demeaning: Complaints Not Upheld
Issue 3 – Sexual Innuendo: Complaints Not Upheld
Issue 4 – Suitability for Children: Complaints Not Upheld
On three of the issues, the ASAI did not consider that a breach of the Code was involved. However, in relation to whether the advertisement had caused widespread offence, the ASAI’s Complaints Committee, who determine the adjudications, considered that it had.
Complaint volumes against an advertisement can be indicative of consumer sentiment. The Complaints Committee, which is made up of a diverse gender and age balanced group representing broad areas of Irish society, include proportionality as a criteria for measuring the level of issues with an advertisement. In this case, when comparing the complaint levels against the normal level of complaints received for any advertisement, the complaint levels were significantly higher to those normally received.
For context on the complaints, since January 2016 to date, ASAI has received 7969 complaints about 5203 advertisements.
• 4589 advertisements were the subject of one complaint
• 607 advertisements were the subject of between 2 and 59 complaints
• 7 advertisements were the subject of 60 complaints or more
The Committee, in considering the advertisement, noted the concerns that had been expressed and the number of complaints that had been received. 80+ complaints, without prompting, provided evidence for the purposes of the Code that the advertisement had caused widespread offence. For further information on the actual ruling, please visit https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-and-beauty-13/
While the advertiser was requested to respond to the 84 complaints received when the investigation began, the ASAI continued to receive a high volume of complaints and in total 150 were received.
It was clear to the ASAI Executive from reading the complaints that there was a diverse range of demographics covering gender, age, family circumstances – 83% of the complaints were from women and 17% were from men.
The Complaints Committee have reached their decision. The Code sets out the process for requesting a review of a decision by the Complaints Committee and the only parties that can request a review of a Committee decision are
• The advertisers
• The original complainants
Full details of the process are here. Both advertisers and complainants are informed about the Review Process when the final decision is communicated to them. A request for a review of a case cannot be made by anyone who was not part of the original case.
All correspondence received by the ASAI after the adjudication was published will be dated and recorded.
Advertising that is found in breach of the Code can be published again if it is amended to bring it into compliance with the Code.
ASAI works closely with advertisers to help them amend their advertising to become compliant with Code and to keep standards at the highest level.