1,221 complaints were made to The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) in 2015 and 72 advertisements were found to be in breach of ASAI Code
ASAI’s 2015 Annual report shows that 62% of advertisements in breach of ASAI Code related to misleading advertising claims
A total of 1,221 written complaints relating to 924 advertisements were submitted to the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) last year, according to the organisation’s 2015 Annual Report which was released today.
The ASAI, which is the independent self-regulatory body committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications, found that 72 of these advertisements were in breach of the ASAI’s Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications.
The objective of the ASAI Code is to ensure that all commercial marketing communications are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’ and members of the ASAI are required to abide by the Code and not to publish an advertisement or conduct a promotion which contravenes Code rules. The ASAI Code covers commercial marketing communications and sales promotions in all media in Ireland including digital (online banners, websites and social platforms), print, outdoor, radio, TV, leaflets/brochures, and direct marketing.
The Annual Report outlines that 62% percent of the complaints made in 2015 were on the basis that an advertisement was misleading, while 24% of complaints were made on the basis that an advertisement was offensive. There were also a wide range of other issues covered by the ASAI Code that were raised by members of the public, including concerns about alcohol advertising, children, employment and business opportunities, financial services, food and non-alcoholic beverages, health and beauty claims and slimming claims.
Complaints by sector are as follows, with comparative figures for 2014 and 2013:
Sector 2015 2014 2013
Telecommunications 240 182 142
Leisure 150 275 111
Household 101 143 88
Miscellaneous 98 94 72
Health & Beauty 80 93 127
Travel / Holidays 77 90 105
Food & Beverages 72 127 82
Motoring 66 72 86
Financial 55 81 60
Alcohol 34 57 47
Complaints by Media
In 2015, digital media gave rise to the largest block of complaints, with 449 complaints registered. While this is a significant decrease from the 606 complaints made about digital media in 2014, the ASAI notes that as a proportion of all complaints, digital media has been increasing steadily year on year. In 2010, it represented 22 per cent of all complaints, compared to 38 per cent in 2015. Complaints relating to broadcast media (TV and radio combined) totalled 356, while outdoor media attracted 169 complaints.
Complaints by Media are as follows, with comparative figures for 2014 and 2013:
Media 2015 2014 2013
Digital Media 449 606 575
Broadcast 356 450 353
Outdoor 169 126 165
Print 87 124 114
Brochures/Leaflets 45 57 61
Direct Marketing 8 21 20
Cinema 5 8 2
Other 78 79 66
Total: 1197 1471 1356
Broadcast 356 450 353
Radio 118 150 124
Television 238 300 229
The ASAI conducts ongoing monitoring of advertising across all media and since 2007, has examined over 27,000 advertisements, with an overall compliance rate of 98 per cent. The organisation, which is financed by the advertising industry, also offers free confidential and non-binding copy advice on the compliance of proposed advertising.
The 2015 ASAI Annual Report also outlines the fact that a new edition of the ASAI Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications was launched in 2015 and came into effect on 1 March 2016. The updated Code features new sections on E-Cigarettes and Gambling and revised sections on Food (including rules for advertisements addressed to children), Health & Beauty and Environmental claims
Orla Twomey, CEO of the ASAI, speaking at the launch of the 2015 ASAI Annual Report, said:
“The ASAI is committed to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland and our 2015 Annual Report echoes this statement, conveying the shear breath of advertisements adjudicated on by the ASAI’s independent Complaints Committee. A 98% compliance rate shows that advertisers in Ireland are completely on board with the ASAI in our bid to protect consumers and ensure the highest the standards of advertising and marketing communications”
Sean O’Meara, Chairman of the ASAI, says:
“We launched the 7th Edition of the ASAI Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland in 2015 and this generated a significant, and welcomed, rise in the awareness levels of the important work conducted by the ASAI. The ASAI is strong, active and progressive and our internal structures and services are, rightfully, in constant change, always developing our remit to mirror the modern requirements of our stakeholders and the public. Self-regulation is not a standing concept. With the help of, and our involvement with, the European Advertising Standards Alliance and other international Self Regulatory Organisations, we challenge ourselves to operate to the highest international standards of effectiveness and relevance.”
The ASAI accepts complaints from any person or body who considers that a marketing communication may be in breach of the ASAI Code.
Check out www.asai for more details and to also access a copy of the 2015 ASAI Annual Report
To keep up to date on ASAI activity, follow the organisation on Twitter @ THE_ASAI