This summary provides a selection of the most interesting ASA adjudications in August and highlights the key issues considered in those adjudications. August saw several complaints concerning ads for food products.  There were also a number of interesting examples of instances where the ASA focused on the necessary substantiation for claims made and where the ASA took a strict line as to whether conclusive evidence could be provided in support of claims made by advertisers.  This month saw the ASA also take a strict approach to the denigration of an organisation such as the Food Standards Agency.  Also of interest this month is Heineken’s ad for Bulmers cider which received complaints as to whether it encouraged irresponsible drinking.  The complaint was not upheld.  This shows, particularly by comparison with previous alcohol ads, that there is a fine line to avoid encouraging irresponsible drinking.

It is also of note that the ASA received 504 complaints in relation to an ad for Marmite which showed the Marmite Rescue Team recovering and re-homing neglected jars of the spread, shot in a mock-documentary style and featuring a voiceover by newsreader Michael Buerk.  The complainants claimed that the ad was in poor taste and offensive, some argued that it trivialised the work of animal and child protection agencies, whilst others complained that the ad was unsuitable for children and might cause distress to people who had been victims of abuse.  However, the ASA sensibly decided against launching an investigation into the advertisement.  This is a good example of the fact that even where a very significant number of complaints are received (often on the basis of offensiveness), the ASA will often decide against investigating a complaint.  Please click here to view the full article.